Gah! How is it that an entire week has gone by since my last post? Where have I been? Bad blogger!
The short and boring answer is that I’ve spent the week working and playing catchup from a wonderful weekend.
But at least the long weekend really was glorious: I made it to the Elationists after all. The awesome Annie Bacon hosted her annual All-Participatory Talent Show and it succeeded as it does every year in reminding me that people really are incredibly creative, clever, precious, and funny.1 Then I got to check out “Bottled Up,” a Cardboard Institute of Technology art exhibit curated by my favorite Joel Dean Rockit, another event that made me glad to know so many creative folk. *satisfied sigh*
Internet friends, I highly recommend throwing your own all-participatory talent shows. You’ll be amazed at all of the crazy and oh-wow that your friends pull out of their hats, have up their sleeves.
Talent shows– much like four-square, Harry Potter, and naps– are not just for the kiddies.
Here in the Bay Area we’re back to grey and gloom weather-wise but I was also able to soak up some sun this weekend. I was, of course, SPF covered2 but my own contentment craves sunshine and being out of doors. I’m not sure I could survive real winters anymore and all you non-Californians are about to be super jealous at this. I went on two different hikes through Golden Gate Park Sunday and Monday and did some writing in Shakespeare’s Garden. Everything is already in bloom. The weather was 70 and sunny. Yes, in February. No, I’m never moving.
Went for Vientamese on my way home Monday and saw the most stylish girl. I didn’t want to disturb her while she was eating but she looked a Gustav Klimt model and I’ve recreated her perfect outfit for your viewing pleasure.
1. Me? I did what I do every year at this event, which is write and read original haikus on a given topic. See, what happens is Annie gives me a topic when I walk in the fete and then I write as many haikus on the topic as I can until my name is called. People seem to like it every year so I keep it up. And I truly do love writing haikus. Which is why that’s my MO on Twitter. Check it out in the sidebar and follow me if you dig.
2. Protect your skin friends.
I will say this, however: After the immediate grief I felt upon hearing the news, I had a wave of extreme excitement, because I hoped/knew that we’d finally get more stories to read, and then I worried whether extreme excitement isn’t perhaps an inappropriate emotion in the wake of someone’s death.
But maybe that reaction is matched to the kind of writer he was and to the kind of stories he wrote: those of grief and meaningful losses, shot through with uncomfortable, anticipatory thrills.
One of my favorite Salinger stories has always been “For Esmé — with Love and Squalor” and Esmé always seemed like such a smart, free-thinking, free-wheeling, stand-up dame. The narrator calls her forehead “exquisite,” her eyes “blasé,” and her voice “the sweetest-sounding, the surest, and it automatically led the way.” He fancies her a “truth-lover” and “small-talk detester.”
Anyone can tell the first time reading that she grew up to be Katherine Hepburn in every movie ever with Spencer Tracy; that woman with the witty, intelligent, intriguing things to say and the “enviable poise”; one of those mad femmes who wear their awkward or odd features, wet hair or quick-bit nails, as well as their well-tailored wardrobe. She is privileged but tragic, like the female Batman.
And anyway, she’s just one of my favorite literary heroines of all time, a definite contender guest for that hypothetical, ideal dinner party. You just know she’d bring a fabulous bottle.
And only the day before that old man’s passing, my old friend Emily1 had left this message on Quick, said the bird’s facebook wall: “I love the unabashed love of sumptuous fur!”
So I was thinking about Emily and then I was thinking fondly of Esmé, and thinking then that maybe the two were similar in certain ways. They aren’t quite perfect matches but they’re both strong of mind and of will, and both say what they think to charming but slightly shocking effect.
Emily is a talented writer and thanks to her I’ve got some good stories in my own arsenal. For example: When we were still in high school, Emily (and our friend Nadia) came along with my family and me to LA and Palm Springs for spring break. At an open mic at some coffee house dive in the desert, Emily sang the Cars’ “Just What I Needed,” told everyone there that she was the love child of Gene Simmons, and shot out her tongue like a banner to prove it.
That same trip, she charmed the big black bouncer at the Viper Room in LA, over 6 feet tall and 300 lbs. if he was an inch and an ounce, and swathed in head-to-toe purple. He ended up writing us a note2 to give to the bouncer at the Whiskey-a-go-go and bouncer #2 let us in to the sold-out show for free.
Another story is that in college I visited her parents’ home in Oxford, Miss and we snuck onto Faulker’s property, even though it was closed for renovations, and smoked cigarettes on his porch.3 I imagined that literary hero doing the same in the same spot and almost died.
Anyway, this post is for Emily, and Esmé, and Salinger: It is Esme’s grown-up wardrobe. Full of fur and better than you. With love.4
1. Let me be clear that Emily is NOT old. She’s young. Like us. I’ve just known her a really long time.
2. The note read, simply, “Gino, Let my friends in. -Ed.” I think Emily still has the note. Ihave physical possession of the poem that was written for Emily, Nadia, and myself at the party we were invited to after the Gene Simmons Incident. True stories, all of these.
3. Sorry Mom.
4. “Are you at all acquainted with squalor?”