Tag Archives: love

A young writer

I recently got a rejection e-mail from a magazine.  It was a very nice rejection letter.  It didn’t sting all that bad because I recently had my first ACCEPTANCE email from a magazine.  I first saw it on my cell phone while crossing a street.  A huge smile came over my face and I said, “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God.”  Then I got hit by a car.

Not really.  But back to the rejection email.  The following sentences struck me: “We are impressed with the fresh, appealing voice of these poems, especially since you’re such a young writer! We wish you lots of luck with your work, and hope to hear from you in the future.”

First, it’s incredibly nice of them to write such personalized sentences.  That rarely happens.  And I really do appreciate them taking the time to say what they did.  But…

I’m disappointed in the huge role that age plays in their message.  I’m disappointed in their implication that age and good writing go hand in hand.  You know?  That’s a bummer.  Sure, it stands to reason that the longer you’ve been alive the more time you’ve had to practice and hone your craft.   And if I read between the lines then they’re probably implying that although fresh and appealing, the poems can stand to be honed.  Which is perfectly acceptable.

But I can’t help feeling like it was a folly on my part to have given this magazine clues about my relatively young age.  The truth is, I’ll never know how much my age factored in to their decision.  Again, maybe it wasn’t a real factor at all.  Maybe it was only an afterthought.  A thought after they’d already decided to pass on the work.

Anyway, that’s all that’s on my mind.  In conclusion, poetry is great.  I especially like when it’s not boring and it’s not maddeningly abstract.  Here are a couple lines from a poet I’ve been reading lately named Marge Piercy.  It’s a rare thing, and such a cool thing, when a poem can make you stop and think.  Rarer and cooler, still, when a poem makes you think about something in a new, more illuminated light.

I cast myself on you, closing

my eyes as I leap and then opening them wide

as I land.  Love is plunging into darkness toward

something that may exist.

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Four weddings and a quote about a funeral

It’s been an epic Labor Day weekend. Wedding Four of the summer was attended, thus concluding the Summer of Four Weddings.

From all this exposure to vows and receptions and DJs, I’ve concluded that I have no idea what kind of wedding I myself would have were I to have one. Unlike Jennifer Lopez in 2001’s The Wedding Planner, I didn’t spend my every waking moment as a child planning how I would get hitched to Matthew McConaughey. (I think it involved a Breyer horse ridden to a chapel and then a tiny woman being carried over the threshold of a doll house.)

In the lead up to Wedding Four, by accident or perhaps by no accident at all, I happened to be reading Dan Savage’s book about gay marriage and the overall institution of marriage, The Commitment. I initially picked it up because I was looking for inspiration to continue with my own book-writing, and I’ve always appreciated the no-nonsense style of Savage’s advice column. The subject matter of Savage’s book, as summed up in the subtitle, was a draw, too: “Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family.”

I didn’t know it for a while, but I’m a romantic. I eschewed serious romantic relationships for a long time, instead getting a sad vicarious fix from romantic comedies like, yeah, The Wedding Planner. I’ve since taken a long, hard look at myself and my fears and exactly what was prompting my plan to turn into a lonely reclusive cat woman and thankfully, I no longer have much use for Matthew McConaughey. (Note: I still plan to be a semi-reclusive cat woman, I’ve just nixed the lonely part.)

Back to Dan Savage. A signature viewpoint of his that he brings up in his column, podcast, and in this book, is that a relationship doesn’t need to necessary last for years and years for it to be deemed a success. Therefore, even if a marriage ends in painful divorce, it shouldn’t automatically be categorized as a failure. Likewise, he says it’s too bad that marriages are only deemed a success when “death do us part.”

Toward the end of one chapter, Savage shares a short excerpt from Ovid’s Metamorphoses about a couple who helps traveling-in-disguise gods Jupiter and Mercury. The couple is hospitable and in return they receive a favor. They redeem it by asking that neither of them outlive the other: “Since we have spent our happy years together, / May one hour take us both away.”

Savage writes, “That’s how I want to go–with Terry, not before him, neither of us outliving the other. Death is a perverse measure of success, as I said, and I don’t believe that someone has to die in order for a relationship to be considered a success. But I live in hope that when our time comes, after many more happy years together, we’re both taken to Maloney’s [Funeral Home] on the same day, at the same hour.”

You know that’s some serious romance because not only did Ovid write about it, but so did Nicholas effin’ Sparks in his book turned movie The Notebook. (Spoiler Alert:) James Garner and Gena Rowlands dead and HOLDING HANDS in a nursing home bed together–that scene alone provided months of vicarious romantic satisfaction.

Hmm. What’s my point. Weddings. Love. Family. If I’ve learned one thing this summer, it’s that I’m pro those things. Maybe not holding one of my own, but I’m at least pro attending weddings. And I’m pro family. They’re good fodder for books. And love! I’m so pro love that I leave you with a compilation of all four of the first dance songs I’ve experienced this summer in chronological wedding order:

A video that mistakes Fred Astaire for Frank Sinatra at one point:

Lyrics that truly encapsulate love: “Cause every time I see your bubbly face, / I get the tingles in a silly place”:

A video tribute to Carrie Underwood that features a country song, but not one of her own:

And finally, a wonderfully bizarre mix of random images paired with movie stills and posters from Titanic and Moulin Rouge:

I <3 Barbara Bush and Artificial Flavoring

Today I woke up and I baked cupcakes. The motivation came from wanting to give one to someone I love. But before I did that I was reading status updates on Facebook off of my phone, and someone paid tribute to this forever beautiful and gracious lady:

Barb Bush!!

“At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, or a parent.”

What a broad.

So back to the cupcakes. I prepared a box mix of marble fudge. And it instructs you to pour the fudge mix on afterwards, so it ended up creating some cool designs (because I didn’t try too hard to achieve a marble effect). They’re like the Rorschach Ink Blot Test! What do you see:

P.S. Speaking of box mixes with which to make not nutritious cupcakes, I HIGHLY recommend checking out the first two episodes of “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.”  He’s completely British and brilliant.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day…

I'm so glad my lover is as vain and superficial as I am!

What Elton John lacks in hair…

It took me a really long time to realize that Elton John was gay.  It wasn’t at all like realizing that Santa Claus doesn’t exist, but I want to make that comparison anyway.  I guess because I love Elton John.  Not in a childlike, deer-eyed way, but in a mature, jaded way. 

Elton’s been on my mind lately.  Mostly because I just realized that he wears a toupee.  I don’t know why I’m so far behind on my Elton realizations…  But also I’ve been listening to him.  Reminiscing about him.  When I was younger, if I was driving with my parents, I would get uncomfortable when “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues” came on the radio, because it goes like,

And I guess that’s why
They call it the blues
Time on my hands
Could be time spent with you
Laughing like children
Living like lovers
Rolling like thunder under the covers
And I guess that’s why
They call it the blues

Whoa!  How can you not enjoy that as a chorus?  Children, lovers, blues.  Those are my favorite things right there.  Except for children.

john-and-taupin

Bernie Taupin there is to thank for those lyrics.  What a stud, right?  He pulls off that hair and sort-of turtleneck exceedingly well.  It’s nuts.

In conclusion, Elton John’s hilarious.  Lady Gaga should wear some of his outfits from the early 80s.  Particularly his glasses.  And also, I suppose, some of his wigs from right now.

One last thing.  This “I Want Love” song has always done it for me.  It’s dark.  Yet hopeful.  And Robert Downey, Jr. is in this video, which just may have started my love affair with him.  This video would also make an interesting thesis.  One could write all about love, sex, and attractive men who are empty inside like a marble-floored mansion.  But they’ve still got those chandeliers waiting to be lit in the foyer of their heart and the ballroom of their loins:

Sex, Love, and Oatmeal

This one time, I worked at a law firm. All I did was photocopy and file Elvis Presley music copyright documents. For hours. It’s pretty mind-numbing. And then all of a sudden you see Johnny Cash’s signature and you’re like, “That’s cool.” And then you go back to fixing the paper jam.

I was listening to Etta James’ “I Just Wanna Make Love to You” on YouTube when I found this awkward Elvis fan video:

My favorite part is at 1:25 when there are TWO replays of him catching a pair of panties. We humans are a horny bunch.

Speaking of horny bunches, I was catching up with a friend online who I met years ago in a college dorm room. I don’t really know why we talk to each other, except that a few drinks in I told him that I read his blog. And we’ve just talked ever since. See? Keep a blog, make friends.

We were talking about sex, love, and happiness, and how sometimes, or often, those three things go hand in hand…or, you know….other things in other things. I have absolutely nothing profound, funny, or interesting to say about love, but my friend did:

Somewhere deep down in my dark twisted soul, I’m a romantic. Underneath all the science, atheist books, and gigabytes of porn, I can appreciate love for what it is.

I really like it. I could be wrong, but I feel like those are two sentences that most people could change a few of the adjectives and nouns to make it sum up their general feeling, too. For insance, Elvis Presley’s might read something like:

Somewhere deep down in my pelvic thrust of a soul, I’m a romantic. Underneath that weird lip thing I do, the rhinestone-laden leather jumpsuits I wear, and the terribly depressing way I will die on my bathroom floor, I can appreciate love for what it is.

And now, for no reason in particular, I will speculate on how the man on the boxes of Quaker Oatmeal would adapt those two sentences. Wikipedia says, “It is popularly believed that the man on the box is Province of Pennsylvania founder, namesake and Quaker William Penn. The company states that ‘The Quaker man is not an actual person,’ but is instead a generic representation of a ‘man dressed in Quaker garb.'” Mysterious. I’m not sure I buy it.

Somewhere deep down in my pedophiliac leer, I’m a romantic. Underneath the illegal paraphernalia I store within my billows of white locks and underneath my traditional black cap, I can appreciate love for what it is.

He creeps me out.

Watch Me Tonight?

I’m glad the movie musical is making a comeback, but let’s get back to its roots.  I’m not talking Mamma Mia.  There will be no singing Pierce Brosnan in the film I’m referring to.  Forget Hairspray.  You will not be seeing Ricki Lake dancing or John Travolta in a dress.  Step away from all that 21st Century silliness, and into Golden Age Hollywood. 

Okay, Love Me Tonight from 1932 is still pretty silly, but in a completely heartwarming, timeless, black & white film kind of way.  It comes from director Rouben Mamoulian who went on to direct the first Broadway runs of Oklahoma!, Porgy and Bess, and Carousel.  In Love Me Tonight, with French hottie Maurice Chevalier and blonde beauty Jeanette MacDonald, Mamoulian sets out to satirize the beloved movie musical.  The writers didn’t even bother coming up with different first names for Maurice and Jeanette.  And apparently no one told Jeanette that the whole bit was a spoof because you can just tell she’s taking the whole thing quite seriously. 

Maurice plays a Parisian tailor and Jeanette a princess.  The film is a fairy tale of sorts, making it easy to get swept away.  Maurice ends up at Jeanette’s castle after getting ripped off by her cousin.  And that’s when the whole mistaken identity thing begins.  Suddenly all the important people take Maurice the tailor for Maurice the baron.  So he sings and dances and they all fall in love with him, including prissy princess Jeanette.  A pretty run of the mill fairy tale, but it’s the songs by Rodgers and Hart that really wow, along with the performances by supporting actors Myrna Loy (her first “non-exotic” role) and comedian Charles Ruggles.  Be sure to watch out for Ruggles talking about his “flute” and dancing with 1 pound dumbbells.     

Reasons to watch: Mamoulian was one of the most innovative directors of his time.  You know how musicals integrate songs into the storyline so you don’t just have a random performance that’s really an excuse for men to stare at some pretty lady sing?  Yeah, that was Mamoulian.  He also said, hey, we should make the camera move and we should use more than one microphone.  Which are obviously terrible ideas.

Warnings: You will likely have the songs “Mimi” and “Isn’t It Romantic” stuck in your head for days, if not weeks.  Also, this film gets pretty risqué for the Hays Code era (see Will Hays left).  Not sure how Maurice taking a tape measure to Jeanette’s boobies got past the censors, but I’m not complaining!  They also end up in bed together via split screen action. 

Who to watch with: Well, I watched Love Me Tonight alone, but that’s just because I’m a terribly lonely woman who can’t find anyone to love and would rather spend the evening on the couch with her cats.  But in your case, watch it with a sense of humor and a lover.  Watch it with a deep appreciation for French men and silly situations.  If you can find a French man watch it with him.  If you do not know any French men, you can always put an ad out on Craigslist. 

Who not to watch with: Frat boys or anyone who takes themselves too seriously.  Or, on second thought, do watch it with them.  If any movie can free them from their “I’m too cool for movie musicals” delusions it’s Love Me Tonight.