I wonder how on earth we keep track of any of it

Bristling as well as warm breezes circulate among those people, and one may find oneself in a crosswind without knowing why. It must be connected to the density of memories in the room. Each person drags his past into a chair with him and then he sits down next to another person who has her past along with her as well—mothers and fathers and aunts and uncles and friends and enemies and hometowns and roads and mailboxes and streets and diners and skyscrapers and bus stops are all there in the events that have stayed with him or her because the thing that happened caused pain or joy or fear or shame, and as I look back on the dinner party, I understand that the memories seated in the chairs along with the guests included dead people like Irma and Lindy and Ted Jr., yes, real ghosts borne into the present by each mind at the table—and when you multiply the pasts and memories and ghosts of everyone in the room, you understand they aren’t quiet or contained because they inevitably reappear in the conversation in one form or another, and then they begin to mingle and stir up the rest of the company, one blending into the other, and it’s not only the words of the conversation that count but the tone of voice each person uses when he or she talks, and then think of all the looking back and forth that goes on at a dinner table and the gesturing and all the visible information as well—faces that flush momentarily and tiny beads of sweat that form on upper lips and wrinkles that arrive on a face only in a smile, or the various pairs of eyes that appear cool and indifferent and other pairs that are alive with interest, or the same pair of eyes that seem far away one instant and focused the next, and every person is reading and rereading and interpreting all the big and small signals that are whirling about and that can’t be kept separate from the memories at all, and I wonder how on earth we keep track of any of it.

~ Siri Hustvedt, Memories of the Future (Simon & Schuster, March 19, 2019)


Notes: Portrait of Siri Hustvedt by Werner Pawlok

Smell the earth

Starting a novel is opening a door on a misty landscape;

you can still see very little but you can smell the earth

and feel the wind blowing.

~ Iris Murdoch, from her debut novel: Under the Net


Notes: Quote via punlovsinPhoto by Arend Ruizendaal with Reading.

 

Happy Birthday Holly!

Happy 60th Birthday Holly Hunter! (Born, March 20, 1958)

“I don’t want anyone to ever wonder who I am,” she says. “I’m not interested in fooling people.”

“Acting is a tremendously insecurity-making profession. I always feel insecure and I always feel confident. They’re slammed up against each other and it’s a constant balancing act.”


Source: Vulture – Holly Hunter Is Keeping It Real

Uma

Uma Thurman knows that there are no retakes in theater, no postproduction fixes, no chances to dub in a line. When she strides onstage for “The Parisian Woman,” a play by Beau Willimon, the “House of Cards” creator, that opens Nov. 30 at the Hudson Theater, no flattering lenses or editing trickery will help her.

“Of course it’s exposing,” she said over dinner recently, “but no exposure, no challenge. You can’t test yourself in safety.” […]

“It wasn’t very difficult to cast her,” said Stephen Frears, the director of “Dangerous Liaisons,” speaking by telephone. “She was so striking, so beautiful and so fresh.”

She was also, as Mr. Frears said, “very formidable.” That’s a hallmark of her career and also maybe a clue to why that career has been so eclectic. Ms. Thurman isn’t a delicate actress or a melting one or the kind who comes right to the front of a movie screen and invites you in. There’s a remove in a lot of her best work (“Henry & June,” “Kill Bill”), a sense that she has emotions and ideas that are hers alone.

She has refused to be typecast as a siren or a femme fatale and has struggled to find roles that attract her. It isn’t that she won’t play wives and girlfriends — she will, she has. But these are women as likely to steal a scene as to yield to it.

Quentin Tarantino, who directed her as a gangster’s wife in “Pulp Fiction” and wrote the “Kill Bill” movies for her, compared Ms. Thurman to golden-age luminaries like Greta Garbo and Bette Davis. “There’s this year’s blonde and there’s last year’s blonde. Interchangeable. But to me, Uma has a quality that could rank with a Marlene Dietrich,” he said in a phone interview. He also called her, with affection, “a big, tall willow.” […]

Playing Chloe, she said, was taxing her more than any part in a decade. It was forcing her to use all of her actorly muscles “in a more total and protracted way.”

Is Chloe a siren? Maybe. A femme fatale? Depends who you ask. Happily, she is more than that, too.

As dinner wound down, with plates of vegetables and tiny bowls of tofu littering the table, Ms. Thurman considered the question of what a woman like Chloe really wants. “I think I’m still exploring that,” she said. Finally, she gave what she called “a most banal and bad answer.”

“I think she’s wanting and demanding to be fully alive,” Ms. Thurman said.

~ Alexis Soloski, excerpts from “Uma Thurman, Ready to Be Tested.” Hollywood’s “contempt and dismissiveness” toward women have led her to Broadway. In “The Parisian Woman,” she’ll be onstage for every minute of every scene. (NY Times, Nov 8, 2017)

Tuesday Morning Wake-Up Call

“People get up, they go to work, they have their lives, but you never see the headlines say, ‘Six billion people got along rather well today.’ You’ll have the headline about the 30 people who shot each other.”

~ John Malkovich


John Gavin Malkovich, 59, was born in Christopher, Illinois.  His paternal grandparents were Croatian. He is an American actor, producer, director, and fashion designer. Over the last 30 years of his career, Malkovich has appeared in more than 70 motion pictures. For his roles in Places in the Heart and In the Line of Fire, he received Academy Award nominations. He has also appeared in critically acclaimed films such as Empire of the SunThe Killing FieldsDangerous LiaisonsOf Mice and MenBeing John Malkovich, and RED, and has produced numerous films, including Juno and The Perks of Being a Wallflower.


Image Source: m.antena.ro portrait of John Malkovich

Morning Call

Today, if you’re confronting an issue for the ten thousandth time, or feeling that your life is going nowhere, or panicking over how little you’ve achieved, stop and breathe. You’re not falling behind on some linear race through time. You’re walking the labyrinth of life. Yes, you’re meant to move forward, but almost never in a straight line.

Martha Beck, from The Labyrinth of Life


Notes:

Saturday Morning

eric-rose-portrait-freckles

Fragile as ash
a memory stirs
and the past comes back. […]

a single breath
can make it
crackle and burn.

~ Gary Catalano, “Breath,” Slow Tennis: Poems 1980-83

 


Notes: Poem – Memory’s Landscape. Catalano was an Australian poet and art critic. Photo: Eric Rose.

To the First Lady, With Love

michelle-obama

Set your politics aside.

This was a stunningly beautiful tribute to Michelle Obama by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the author of the novel Americanah, who writes a “Thank-you Note”  To the First Lady, With Love.  Here’s a few excerpts:

She had rhythm, a flow and swerve, hands slicing air, body weight moving from foot to foot, a beautiful rhythm. In anything else but a black American body, it would have been contrived. The three-quarter sleeves of her teal dress announced its appropriateness, as did her matching brooch. But the cut of the dress scorned any “future first lady” stuffiness; it hung easy on her, as effortless as her animation. […]

She first appeared in the public consciousness, all common sense and mordant humor, at ease in her skin. She had the air of a woman who could balance a checkbook, and who knew a good deal when she saw it, and who would tell off whomever needed telling off. She was tall and sure and stylish. She was reluctant to be first lady, and did not hide her reluctance beneath platitudes. She seemed not so much unique as true. She sharpened her husband’s then-hazy form, made him solid, more than just a dream. […]

The story of her life as she told it was wholesomely American, drenched in nostalgia: a father who worked shifts and a mother who stayed home, an almost mythic account of self-reliance, of moderation, of working-class contentment. But she is also a descendant of slaves, those full human beings considered human fractions by the American state. […]

[Read more…]

Bruce

bruce-springsteen-october-2016-cover

About an hour before every concert, Bruce Springsteen draws up a set list of 31 songs, written in big, scrawly letters in marker ink and soon thereafter distributed to his musicians and crew in typed-up, printed-out form. But this list is really just a loose framework. Over the course of an evening, Springsteen might shake up the order, drop a song, call a few audibles to his seasoned, ready-for-anything E Street Band, or take a request or two from fans holding handwritten signs in the pit near the front of the stage. Or he might do all of the above and then some—as he did on the first of the two nights that I saw him perform in Gothenburg, Sweden, this summer.

That night, at the last minute, Springsteen jettisoned his plan to open with a full-band version of “Prove It All Night,” from his 1978 album, Darkness on the Edge of Town, and instead began the show solo at the piano with “The Promise,” a fan-beloved Darkness outtake. Eight songs in, he again went off-list, playing a stretched-out, gospelized version of “Spirit in the Night,” from his first album, 1973’s Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J., which he followed with “Save My Love,” a sign request. Onward he went with tweaks and spontaneous additions, to the point where, by the time the show was over, it was past midnight and Springsteen, a man approaching his 67th birthday, had played for nearly four hours—his second-longest concert ever.

“Yikes!” said Springsteen with mock alarm when I relayed this fact to him the next day, at his hotel in the Swedish port city. “I’m always in search of something, in search of losing myself to the music. I think we hit a spot last night where I was trying some songs we hadn’t played in a while, where maybe you’re struggling more. And then suddenly”—he snapped his fingers—“you catch it, and then, once you do, you may not want to stop.”

“You have to create the show anew, and find it anew, on a nightly basis,” Springsteen said. “And sometimes,” he concluded, laughing, “it takes me longer than I thought it would.”

~ David Camp, The Book of Bruce Springsteen


Notes:

  • Don’t miss full cover story at Vanity Fair.
  • Pre-Order Springsteen’s new book (delivered 9/27/16) at Amazon.

the air finding every leaf and feather over forest and water

__by_apalkin-d79rztk-light-portrait-woman

Next time what I’d do is look at
the earth before saying anything. I’d stop
just before going into a house
and be an emperor for a minute
and listen better to the wind
or to the air being still.

When anyone talked to me, whether
blame or praise or just passing time,
I’d watch the face, how the mouth
has to work, and see any strain, any
sign of what lifted the voice.

And for all, I’d know more – the earth
bracing itself and soaring, the air
finding every leaf and feather over
forest and water, and for every person
the body glowing inside the clothes
like a light.

– Mary Oliver, Next Time


Notes: Poem  – Thank you Whiskey River. Photo – Apal’kin (Ukraine) at Paul Apal’kin Photography.

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