Friday, November 22, 2013

Jonathan Lethem rabbit

What's most incredible about Jonathan Lethem's rabbit is that it's so clean and precise, much like his novels. Bypassing details of the face, the author focused more on a structured outline including the basic necessities such as ears, feet and whiskers. The tail seems like an afterthought, although the rabbit's facing forward, half-drawn as if to punctuate the situation with a question mark. 

For an author known for his straight-forward narrative, it's also no surprise that Lethem qualifies the drawing with an explanation: Here's a rabbit. Just in case someone shows up wondering if the rabbit was a part of the signature or some sort of random graffiti drive-by, which makes sense since Fortress of Solitude features graffiti tagging in the early coming-of-age bits. 

I've never studied the science of loops and dashes in signatures, but I'm sure the crossed-loop t and the slashed zigzag mean something, along with the body of water underneath, which the rabbit seems to be jumping into feet first. I like the fact that the rabbit's a little bit on the portly side, which makes it seem jolly like a laughing Buddha, versus obese from too many candy corns. 

Perhaps it's a mother rabbit descending from the painful place from which Lethem's fictional mothers are banished--leaving sons motherless (in Brooklyn)--fist out like a vigilante to punch issues of belonging away once and for all. Playful yet precise is the overall verdict here. But nothing too crazy. Confidence is clear. Topped off with a pert daub of artistic spirit.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

a dream about feces and aliens

So I'll admit it, I just tweeted something about the meaning of feces in dreams and lost a few followers. As a professional book critic I guess there's pressure to tweet about book related topics to my 430 (now twenty-something and falling followers) but dreams are important to me. For those willing to go there--they're brutally honest, eerily surreal channels of communication for those who: a) spend a lot of energy controlling emotions b) are in denial about desires which are forbidden or far-fetched c) won't give into fears in an effort to be strong, or d) all of the above. The list extends endlessly--to each their own. The hundreds of books in even more languages dealing with repressed desires, and how they relate to dreams, say so. Like if your body all of the sudden began stinking somewhere, on your feet or teeth, those of us who will listen will see these as signals telling us: maybe it's time for a tune-up. More about my strange dream related to feces:

I'm in my old bedroom from when I was a 13-17, the closets are mirrored sliding doors, inside sits a cage holding two pet mice, another cage is in the middle of the room. All of the sudden my husband's standing there asking me about the efficiency of owning mice as pets. Then his writing partner/our friend, Nick, comes into the room, looks at the cage in the closet, pulls a handful of hay from it, then picks up and dumps a cardboard boxful of feces on the floor; it's a lot, about ten pounds, and it looks like human feces. I complain about him dumping feces all over my floor; wonder how I'm going to clean it up; complain about the smell. Then Nick says, "Pets are a big responsibility, if you can't clean up after them every single day then you have no business owning them." 

Jump to me in a deserted grass-spotted lot lighting a kindled fire in what looks like a bird feeder--to alert aliens who part illuminated clouds and descend from the night sky and land in the lot to carry their brother away: a mouse I've neglected that's dehydrated and on the brink of death. When they land, they are traditional gray aliens and telepathically tell me that this mouse has no connection to them. They seem nonplussed but are calm and end up leaving me to deal with the dying mouse alone. I place its sick body on the ground, it limps away and disappears. That's when I faze back into my sleepy body in bed. 

A brief and crazy dream, maybe, but every detail plays as if this was actually a part of last night's waking events. I couldn't help myself. I looked up "feces dreams" to see what they mean. My guess was it might have something to do with depression, or any sort of degenerative state, but I was surprised to learn feces dreams are actually positive in the way they portend a financial windfall, meaning typically: to come into unexpected fortune that involves a large amount of money. The dream itself is supposed to offer insights into why you are having money problems. And "once you take these factors into consideration, you may have a better chance of uncovering hidden information that will help you make a decision that truly serves your best financial future in the best way possible." (source)

This makes sense since I recently found out we can't afford the house we're trying to buy, but on top of that my husband's family, and Nick, who chastised me in the dream, have all been offering advice that buying this house is a poor decision. They think we're getting in over our heads, due to the tenacious nature of success in the LA writing industry, and other factors, of course, domestic AND long-distance. According to my dream, Nick showed distain regarding my careless desire to nurture beyond my means. Call it a nesting instinct on my part, I'd like to think I'm being financially savvy to not want to throw money away on long-term rental properties. Whatever it is, hubbie and I obviously bit off more than we can chew and the decision's already causing a great deal of stress. The overall lesson: listen to the advice of those close to you who have established intelligence that's as pragmatic as it is caring. Our impulsive longings are hardly obvious--otherwise why would we dream about shit and aliens?

Friday, November 1, 2013

assault, battery, batgirl

OnlyHalloweenParty-58 by LivePrudeGirls
OnlyHalloweenParty-58, a photo by LivePrudeGirls on Flickr.
Bye Bye Halloween. See you next year.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Nicholson Baker rabbit

What can I say, getting the Baker rabbit was a big deal for me. I was nervous he'd say no. My first assignment at the L Magazine (back in 2011) was to write a review for House of Holes. It was my make-or-break debut. I cut my critic's teeth on that book, laughing to myself as I typed The Cock Ness Monster between quotes. To be thorough, I read most of Baker's earlier works, especially the sexy ones: Vox, Fermata--I was lining my jive, so to speak. Getting familiar with his tricks. It's one thing to talk about a book you just read; it's another thing entirely to be able to compare it to its first and second cousins with confidence. 

Room Temperature followed the sexier books--with its rocking chair reflections showing a softer side of fatherhood, and of course I couldn't ignore The Mezzanine--a modern bible of the literary world. The Anthologist closed out the stack, more straight-forward than its tangential predecessors. It's no secret that Traveling Sprinkler is a sequel to The Anthologist, meaning it's mostly for die hard fans already familiar with Baker's previous stuff; fans who might've bummed out by all the sex camp(y) tomfoolery in House Of Holes. But good for Baker; he seems to write what he wants to write. His genuine lack of pretense is what gives credence to his charm.  

Nicholson Baker drew the shy rabbit above on a slow count to five after a (common) admittance that he couldn't draw. "That's an interesting challenge," he said, looking thoughtful, his beautiful white beard ablaze. When we were done, I walked away high on my prize, keeping my sweaty fingers off the jacket on the way to my car. It's one thing to get a rabbit just to see what it'll look like. It's another to shake your hero's hand and see that he's just as nice as you imagined he'd be.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Santa Monica pier

The family took a small road trip to the Santa Monica pier today, lunching on bacon cheeseburgers and chili dogs by the oceanside with pigeons and seagulls running the same hustle for dropped fries.
At some point while Felix was making his rounds on a quarter machine elephant, a man was yelling desperately for his granddaughter pushing a stroller maxed out with arcade tickets.
A small girl sitting on a lion opposite Felix watched quietly as he called a name. When the man saw the small girl on the lion, he said, "There you are," then let out a "whoo!" The girl sat emotionless as if to say, "of course, I found another place to sit, since you took my seat."

Whatever that guy gets with what he said was "a thousand tickets!" I hope it not a beach-themed ashtray or a giant hot pink panda bear. I hope it's a Super Nintendo. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

purple eyeshadow

I just performed 30 walking lunges across my living room floor and around a few pieces of furniture. I wonder if that counts for anything. I'll do 30 more in a moment. Hopefully no one can see me.

Our real estate agent told me he thought I was a dancer because the way I moved my body when I walked. One part of me was offended, another amused, and just a tiny bit flattered. I said, "Don't tell my husband that!" He said, "Not THAT kind of dancer." I said, "What a ballerina?"
I used to hate men for talking to my mom this way when I was in middle school and she was single. She was always flattered by these remarks. She'd talk about it for days and then go out on a weekend night wearing purple eyeshadow.

I was reading a lot of books all at once (Martin Amis: The Rachel Papers, Dead Babies; Jonathan Lethem: Fortress of Solitude; Sasha Grey's debut; Nutting's Tampa...) and then completely lost interest in books altogether. I'll get back into it.
My latest obsession is watching foodie documentaries on the iPad while attempting to ride ten miles on my exercise bike in 50 minutes. A Matter of Taste: Serving up Paul Liebrandt was a good one. El Bulli: Cooking in Progress was good. It's safe to say I'll never watch anything about a booming cupcake business or the French Organic Revolution.
I watched Bachelorette, too, which has nothing to do with food docs and more to do with being a weird spin on Bridesmaids. What a strange choice for Kirsten Dunst, in particular, following her success as the star of Melancholia, to star in such an absurd bundle of shlock.

Also, I'll be in New York this weekend via AA overnight delivery (with Ambien in tow) to decompress with old and best friends following a very special wedding between two boys I've adored for years. Due to scheduling constraints, I couldn't make it to the actual friday afternoon wedding, but I'm doing the best I can being a mommy of a two-year-old and the wife of a person with perpetual deadlines.
Speaking of which, my two-year-old is demanding brown rice.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

a few with some, one with others

How I agreed to be photographed in the first place defies all personal logic, but there I was in this guy's apartment half-clothed with an exposed breast making slack-jawed expressions while he clicked away. He was coming onto me, but I expected that and thought: no way creepo: this only works on the hookers.

The most interesting thing about this situation was the perspective involved with me seeing myself from eyes outside my own head, as if astrally projected into a hovering view two feet beside the camera. The only time I was in my actual body was when the photographer was beside me; that way I could look into his eyes when he spoke.

"Did an ex-boyfriend slice you up?" was the first thing he said to me. This made me self-conscious about the scars on my face. It's rare that anyone's ever mentioned them; for all I know they're not incredibly obvious in real life. "I was in a car accident," I replied. "Oh, he said, that's a shame," and photography session ceased.

I was instantly attracted to him.

When I began coming onto him he said, "You have the same lips as an ex-girlfriend of mine." Then "I want you to know something: I have nine children; they all have different mothers."

"Nine with one child apiece, or..." "No, a few with some, one with others." "Oh," I said.

"Would you like something to eat?" he said, walking toward the fridge, "Watch out for expired food, some things are ancient in here." I poured sugary flakes into an oversized bowl, checked the milk, and poured it. I was famished and finished the cereal in two bites.

By the second bowl, a soft fade brought me into the sounds of my husband rummaging in the kitchen for snack...before sunrise. "Please try to be quiet" I said, before falling back asleep.

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