Last weekend, Mr. Brain and I went to see The King Lear Project, a “new” world premiere of King Lear presented in its original pronunciation. I managed to make it through reading the first three acts of the play before making it to the performance, vowing to go into it with some basic understanding of its plot just in case the language made it more difficult to follow. As it turns out, the original pronunciation wasn’t so strange sounding. Mostly I felt like I was listening to an Irish production, with a little more oomph than you might want conversationally; I noticed genuine spit sprays coming from actors’ mouths and was happy to be safely nested a few rows back.
The other day I was engaged in something like water cooler chatter with co-workers (minus the water cooler). We were gathered around a basket of goodies someone had sent my boss as a thank you, and included in said basket was a bag of lemon drops. One of my fellow scavengers commented that she had to have them because they reminded her of her grandmother, who always carried an infinite supply of them in her purse. There was a brief round robin exchange of everything we could mentally pluck out of our grandmother’s purses (Tums and hand wipes for me), before we moved onto something more meaty: weird ass food that always made its way to family gathering spreads. You know what I’m talking about, that dish that no one likes, but for some reason has became mandatory, and let’s be honest, we’d be disappointed on some level if it ceased to make an appearance. I think these dishes are actually designed to be terrible to create a shared sense of loathing and heightened camaraderie.
“Shelley Hack jumps out of a Rolls-Royce and strides confidently down the streets of New York City in a kicky pantsuit, embodying all the freedom and confidence of the women’s movement with none of the baggy clothes or scowling.”
– We Were Feminists Once (Andi Zeisler)
I recently started reading Andi Ziesler’s We Were Feminists Once, and by “started reading” I mean I’ve almost finished the first chapter. But I encountered the quote above, and haven’t been able to move beyond the word “kicky”. I think I might want a kicky pantsuit! For clarification, the quote is describing an iconic ad for Charlie, a perfume by Revlon, and the first perfume to become a “blockbuster”. This ad is largely attributed to its commercial success. (Shelley Hack is the ad’s model.)
As I mentioned last week, I’ve been reading Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky. Well, actually I finished it this past weekend – huzzah! The book was a fairly dense history of salt production and the political implications of it as a controlled government commodity, spanning ancient China to modern day America, but what I loved about it was that sprinkled into this history were some really, really interesting facts. It was part history, part science, part geology. In deeming it “dense” I don’t mean to suggest that it reads like a sterile textbook, quite the opposite! I’m as surprised as anyone that I was enraptured by a 400 page book on salt, which should say something about the book and its writer. Thanks, Mark!
Anyway, I thought it would be fun to share some of the fun, fascinating notes I jotted down as I was reading. So, here it goes…
It’s Friday! In light of jeans, amazing spring weather, and the anticipation of the weekend (or just happy hour), I thought I’d share a few interesting articles I read this week. Hopefully I’ll be circling back to these in the near future to ponder them in more depth, but until then enjoy some intelligent and thought-provoking conversation with your morning coffee, afternoon tea, evening cocktail.
Writing, in a nutshell, is hard. Heck, even the nutshell is hard. Understanding what it means to you, as the writer, is not a something set in stone; the process is ever-evolving, ever-shifting, ever-surprising, and, can I just add, terrifying. You write a blog post, you hit publish, and then you wake up the next morning to the realization that everything you just thought and wrote was total horseshit. Case in point, Monday’s post about Victorian era women and my own thoughts about weddings, rings, and the whole nine yards? I’ve been stuck in a loop of could’ve/should’ve. Did I really mean what I said? Did I think that through thoroughly before I sent it out into the ether? What if, heaven forbid, someone were to actually read it?
This morning, I was treated to the above image on Twitter, which sparked equal amounts of laughter, curiosity, and social criticism. Edith-Anne, you are now officially my patron saint.
I started pondering courtship, historically, as in this showcase of marriageable skill, and my own experiences and confusions about courtship, romantic love, and marriage. This has proven to be quite a lot of heavy lifting for me on this rainy, cold Monday morning, though I suppose this is ideal weather for sitting and pondering.
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So, here we go, a beginning of sorts, but in many ways a middle, an aside, a continuation. Perhaps this project will fully, and finally, kick off with this post today, but it has been trying to find its legs for quite some time now.
To be clear, this “project” is simply me writing about my life, my thoughts, my observations, my frustrations, my triumphs, and perhaps an occasional tribute to my breakfast (possibly also snacks). Life, even in its most mundane details (snacks), is worth thinking about, and for me? Thinking is writing.