I only just watched all of the Girls episodes over the past couple of weeks. I’ve been trying to piece together how I feel about this show. It’s fascinating to me how many of my friends harbor so much vitriol for it. Much of this stems from messages they’ve heard that they are supposed to “identify” with the show. Personally, I laugh at the characters. I find much of what they do ridiculous and silly and misinformed. I don’t know that I “identify” with all of their experiences and outlooks. But I do identify with a certain something.
Moreover, I do admire Lena Dunham’s entitlement. So much of my post-college experience has been shaped by this resounding message that I know nothing, have no experience, should sit in a corner and type notes for people - college degree and all. I think there’s something to be said for those who, privileged or not, stick to the belief they have something to say.
“And then one student said that happiness is what happens when you go to bed on the hottest night of the summer, a night so hot you can’t even wear a tee-shirt and you sleep on top of the sheets instead of under them, although try to sleep is probably more accurate. And then at some point late, late, late at night, say just a bit before dawn, the heat finally breaks and the night turns into cool and when you briefly wake up, you notice that you’re almost chilly, and in your groggy, half-consciousness, you reach over and pull the sheet around you and just that flimsy sheet makes it warm enough and you drift back off into a deep sleep. And it’s that reaching, that gesture, that reflex we have to pull what’s warm - whether it’s something or someone - toward us, that feeling we get when we do that, that feeling of being sad in the world and ready for sleep, that’s happiness.”—
Paul Schmidtberger - Design Flaws of the Human Condition (via glitterferns)
Slowly learning I need to spend less time worrying about where I’m not and more energy appreciating where I am. Finding that for the past three years I’ve been so concerned with how what I’m doing measures up that I’ve forgotten why I was doing what I’ve been doing in the first place. To illustrate with the most recent example: just found myself jealous of others who are in grad school and thought, “Hello. You’re IN grad school. AND you have a ‘real’ job.” You’re getting there.
This whole post sounds cliche, so bear with me for one more. I need to start appreciating what I have, both in terms of work and life. For the truth is I know so little, how can I judge what is or isn’t “important”?
Focus on now. Do the task at hand. THEN think about the next steps.
Wait … how did that happen? It’s almost October? I suppose the fact that I can now sleep comfortably in my un-air-conditioned apartment should have signaled that, but DC Septembers are deceptive. It felt like it was still summer up until this week; we were at the Atlantic City beach just last weekend.
But. We have one more weekend before October. And two of my very favorite things are having extravaganzas here in DC.
The National Book Festival comes to town on Saturday and Sunday on the National Mall, celebrating the “Books that Shaped America.” As always, the list of talented authors is too long to even pick a favorite, but I think I’m excited by Jeffrey Eugenides, Sandra Cisneros, Geraldine Brooks, Robert Caro, Marc Brown (Arthur!), Lois Lowry, Avi … well but I really can’t pick favorites at all.
And then, THEN, there is Curbside Cook-Off’s Trucktoberfest on Saturday from 11- 7 pm at the swanky new Union Market up by Gallaudet. I actually visited the Market Open House two weekends ago. O ver 40 food trucks, live music, beer … what more do you need? We all now how I feel about food trucks. See you there, perhaps.
Today there are two people I am wishing to be like.
Well, three, I suppose, if we count Tina Fey.
These women are brilliant, smart writers who know how to speak in their own voice and aren’t ashamed to be themselves. Under the guise of not taking themselves seriously, they’ve managed to become taken quite seriously indeed.
What I particularly admire about this blog, and what I think really demonstrates the mark of a true writer, is that Kaling starts with one, trivial item (say, a Louboutin heel), and riffs on it to sometimes end up talking about several entirely different, often deeper things and reveal a couple tidbits about herself.
So. We all love Mindy Kaling. We wish that we, too, could have found massive success and respect just by being ourselves. (And of course by working nonstop).
Mindy’s musings for some reason got me musing about my love for Sarah Vowell. Sarah of course writes about much different subjects, covering history and politics and all sorts of wonky nerdy things. Some may argue that she is thus more substantive. Perhaps. But she, too, writes in her very own voice, and isn’t afraid to weave in all sorts of pop culture references self-deprecating remarks. And somehow, I think it only serves to make her political and historical insights all the more compelling.
So yes. Inspiration. Aspiration. Wishful adulation. Keep doing what you do, ladies.
The summer has just been … summery … and busy. Job-switching while trying to find time to laze … doesn’t leave much time for blogging.
I suppose there is more to say about DC, and Jersey, and New Hampshire, and food I’ve eaten and stores I’ve discovered. But right now I just have to share something from someone who is not affiliated with DC in the least: Miss Kelly, The Glamourai.
The way her fashion blog has just exploded into an artistic, inspirational, practical, accessible website and brand is just inspiring.
I mean …
“I love New York on summer afternoons when everyone’s away. There’s something very sensuous about it ~ overripe, as if all sorts of funny fruits were going to fall into your hands.”
- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
“Daisy and Jordan lay upon an enormous couch, like silver idols weighing down their own white dresses against the singing breeze of the fans.”
“I’ve thought in the past that I may be in love with Virginia Woolf. I’m not sure. I’m not sure if that stands. And that’s not true when I’m reading “The Waves”, I should say, too. But it’s true of all of her other books. But, you know, these are intimate, personal connections, and books give that to us. Letters give that to us. And I don’t think that it’s a new thing.”—Bad Book Review Sparks Fictional Friendship (via npr)
It’s called a parasocial relationship! #communicationsmajor
“I would say, ‘Tell me about what happens at the end of the world,’ and she would describe her vision of that, which was these crazy things with people’s hands falling off and their clothes burning up and the light in the sky turning on and off really fast, like all these visions that she has. And I remember — this is just one example — but I remember asking her, ‘If all these things were your fault, what would you do?’ And she said, ‘I would just try to fix it. I would do whatever I can to fix what I broke.’ And then I said, ‘What would you do to fix it?’ And she said, ‘Well, I would always brush my teeth. I would listen to my parents.’”—‘Beasts’ Finds Its Heart In A 6-Year-Old Heroine (via npr)
“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.”—
“our dear casio f-91w nerdy plastic watch, born in pullman washington on a monday afternoon when a silly, frustrated girl fell head over heels in love with all the nerdiest engineering nerds on the planet sharing office space with her at the power company where she worked (first as executive secretary of research and development, or rather, “mom of the nerds,” and later as the editor of instruction manuals and designer of product packaging, or rather, “nerd ideas and bad attempts at writing translater”(sic)), and, to honor those nerds, whose watches all went off on the hour every hour in one glorious, ringing “beep-beep!” through the office, ordered one of her very own, to love and to cherish, and yes, to lightly poke fun of the nerds with.”—
"editor of instruction manuals and designer of product packaging, or rather, "nerd ideas and bad attempts at writing translater"(sic))" — Almost how one might describe my job, or that of those I work with, at times.
“Happiness schmappiness.I think the pursuit of it, and our focus on it, is narcissistic. I don’t think that should be the goal in life. I think the goal in life is to have a good life — rich, fulfilled, filled with love — and have a sense that you are doing something to make the world a better place — and then happiness is a byproduct of a life well lived.”—Psychologist Dan Gottlieb. (via nprfreshair)