31 May 2013

0 may: a revue

'i love a wedding meatball.'

'you just hang onto that shred and water it like the beautiful flower sprout that it is!'

'i am taking this as an opportunity to order So Much Pizza.'

'so is he basically fart-sounding a french horn to the tune of jurassic park???'

'i do, however, find myself a little less patient with the brady's constant sunniness this time around.'

'i think i could've really succeeded in baseball if we used whiffle bats.'

'like, it was BREAKING NEWS on CNN.'

'i just saw that it was your father's birthday on mother's day! who knew? (i'm guessing you did).'

'i mean, you know this is going to be a good story if that's where it starts.'

'people say THAT and i can't get amazoning to happen?'

'usually i don’t do caffeine while i am a cauldron, but today, i am making an exception.'

'we are equally shifty.'

'totally owning my dutchness today. we are a boring people with interesting royals.'

'shake dat AY-USS!'

'i will now take this entire week to make sure my husband remembers that mother’s day is this sunday. i love that man and want him to succeed. '

'is tres de mayo really a thing?'
'ha, no. it is apparently what sleepy dutch christians do when cinco de mayo falls on a sunday.'

28 May 2013

1 things that make me feel old

1. today, at the age of 31 and 363 days, i walked up the 225 steps of montmartre at a moderately brisk pace and nearly suffered cardiac arrest. this is either a challenge to train for the 193 steps at covent garden station or an omen that i should attempt stairways of no more than 30 steps. either way, it has given me ENORMOUS regard for the people who do the 1,632 steps of the hancock building.  bravo, people, BRAVO.

2. when debo, my aunt, and i came in 2009, very bad trip 1 was here. now, we are on very bad trip 3. we also still do not understand why it can't just be called the hangover if it's going to be in english anyway.

0 really, i just wanna go to deyrolle

27 May 2013

0 the reward system

last year, whilst celebrating my birthday in paris with debo/delivering the jackie ice cream paper, i vowed that, for the foreseeable future, i would spend all of my birthdays in paris.

this is why it's important to only make really good promises to yourself. so that, in holding yourself to your promises, your present self can look back and be like, damn, 2012oline, well played. 

so, today i scramble to finish a beastly assignment.

tomorrow, paris is my reward.

i can think of absolutely nothing i want more now than to have two days of wandering, gateaux, and cubans, accompanied only by the cambridge satchel and a battered copy of gone with the wind.

1 unsuccessful attempts at self portraiture at tower bridge

24 May 2013

1 happy friday

he makes an amazingly attractive 19th century woman, non?

23 May 2013

1 a rather scary recently dawning reality committed to words

i am listening to whitney houston's 'one moment in time' trying to remember how it felt to be 11-year-old oline pantomime figure skating in socked feet and my mother's neglige around the bonus room of our diana court house in atlanta to the version of 'one moment in time' that came on a complimentary cassette that my mother got when she bought her 1992 ford escort.

who did that girl pretend to be? i'm pretty sure it was some 90's incarnation of scarlett o'hara on ice. i know it wasn't tonya harding.

and yet she was there. and it is she who is coming to get me.

everything, it seems, is going to come back to 1994. this is the point of historical intersection of everything i do. jackie. tonya. 1994. dr quinn has yet to reveal herself, and yet, at this point, she doesn't seem so radical a possibility for a written life.

with jackie, i didn't know that this was, what i wanted to do. telling life stories. it just happened. i had a magazine collection. croftie said it was cool. i needed to write something to get an M.A. and jackie was super easy. and so i wrote her. and so i kept writing her, because she turned out to be rather hard.

jackie and i made a three year deal in september 2010 and she recent renewed it. so, sly minx, she has bargained her way into owning 19 years of my life.

tonya, well, she ain't gonna get that much.

because, sweet jesus, i cannot give her that.

and, yet, there she is.

unrelentingly, she's there. and she keeps being there. no matter that i'm putting her off. no matter that i'm meant to be thinking of jackie all of the time at this point.

i've never wanted to write about anyone but jackie. until february of 2011, when the life of a random spy caught my attention and panned into nothing. since then, i've been on alert. poised. waiting. attuned. for whatever it is in a life that makes a life worth writing about. for whatever would come after jackie. the fact that tonya harding has stuck is probably an indicator that jackie and i are just about ready to part ways.

slowly, i'm realizing the next three years will be like an agonizingly long breakup. r.patz and k.stew. i know who i want to be with and yet- for emotional and scholastic reasons- cannot yet let go.

since this article on the hairpin, i have wondered. since last november, in the midst of all the packing, all the moving, i have known.

(still, just writing that, i kind of doubt it. because it seems so preposterous. the life and times of tonya harding? bitch, please.)

on the way to joe and burvil's last thanksgiving, in the exits between tupelo and mantachie, i told debo and gary. i put it into words. i said, 'i think i may be meant to write about tonya harding.'

i told them this. AND DEBO AND GARY NODDED.

(that is a key historical moment. dear people of the future, if ever you wind up on this blog because i won the pulitzer for writing the life and times of tonya harding, record this moment, wherein gary and debo nodded between between exit 87 veterans boulevard and exit 94 mantachi/mooreville.)

that is what makes things real. when debo and gary get on board.

the thing about tonya harding is that she is everything. jackie is most of the things. idealistic america. feminism. marriage. travel. adventure. but tonya is everything else. violence. rape. gunshots. mental illness. isolation. oregon. it is possible to take the seemingly preposterous view that they are two sides of the same coin.

i've absolutely no idea how that can be written beyond the sense that it needs to be a combo of in cold blood and anna karenina. tonya harding: the life, as a russian novel.

mind you, all of this may never be. it may come to nothing. it might amount to shit. still...

tonya harding is coming to get me. i feel it in my bones.

i wrote once that writing is a dark hallway down which we blindly strut. what i failed to mention is that in that in that hallway, stories come and get us. they hunt us down and assail us in the dark.

22 May 2013

5 caroline x 2

last night, c.smartt and i post-celebrated her birthday and pre-celebrated mine with CARBS GALORE.

(this may be the first time i've ever had british humor as that is cracking.me.up because there is a stationery store here called cards galore. CARBS GALORE... CARDS GALORE... get it??!? haha. hehe. hilair.)

anyway. the post/pre-birthday panned out like this...

enormo pasta bowls.


a bottle of wine.

the petite patisserie tray from marks & spencers.

and a roof-top view.

loverly, as eliza doolittle would say.

21 May 2013

20 May 2013

0 PS90210: "we got problems"

You guys, our time at west beverly is almost over! are you sad? are you worried? because, y’know, brandon’s going to california university and brenda’s going to minnesota and ahhhhndrea is going to yale and nobody else seems to know what they’re doing… WHAT WILL BECOME OF US NEXT YEAR???
well, you’ll just have to wait and see. for now, we’re all trying to get out of west bev alive… today’s episode, entitled ‘a night to remember’ (and oh boy is it ever), leaves the ability of all our people to get out of west bev somewhat up in the air. as for problems, we’ve got political indifference, wardrobe guidelines, datelessness, sexual plans, sexual offers, brandon walsh DANCING, and puking in the bathroom at prom. hold on to your halter tops, people, and lets jump in.  Continue reading 

0 dame helen FTW

17 May 2013

gary eaton is my archivist.

this means he is exempt from the emails debo receives. emails of the 'can you please read these 19 pages in the next hour and a half??!?' variety. they come across the transom and he hands them over to her.

what it also means is that, when i was in memphis in march, he and i spent an hour chronologizing 279 tabloid magazines and reconciling the mags on the shelf with (a) the files i'd spent all of september/october/november/december scanning and (b) the spreadsheet of every magazine i own.

she is my proofreader. he is my archivist.

i assume you're thinking gary totally won. an hour as compared to three years of increasingly longer proofreading assignments.

but it's a mixed blessing, both being in my employ (i pay in stories, not money) and being my archivist. my father may blithely ignore the 'omg, is this sentence with twelve commas working or does it just stress you out??!?!?' emails, but he is beholden to emails of another kind.

'father bear, can you scan the entire issue of TIME magazine from 31st may 1994???'

'father bear, in the enormo white binder of press clippings, which should be in one of the blue bins in the attic towards the back, there should be a clipping from american vogue that looks sort of like this clipping from japanese vogue that i found online. if it's not in the white binder in the blue bin it's in the yellow folder in the green bin. can you PLEASE find that clipping and let me know the date on it?'

'father bear, can you pull carl sferazza anthony's as we remember her and find a quote from peter beard's oral history wherein jackie said "oh no, i couldn't do that" which should be on or around page 262?!?!?!?'

amazingly, gary eaton has pulled each of these off. the entire issue of TIME magazine was scanned. the clipping was found (though, in my 19-year-old innocence, i had preserved the article but cut off the date). and the quote was thoroughly searched for, though not found. 

however, my father did report back to me something else he had discovered after reading the later half of carl sferazza anthony's as we remember her

nearly 19 years to the day that jackie's story first entered my life, 19 summers after the summer that i confessed to him that i would like to collect jackie kennedy LIFE magazines, from memphis my father looked at me in london and, in a moment that i know- even as it is happening- will undoubtedly become a part of the future way i tell my story of writing jackie's, said of the woman i've spent the last ten years writing about: 'you know, bearoline, she was kind of neat.'

2 lindear bday

15 May 2013

4 dear america

i miss your apples.

0 choose your own...

i've a big chunk of assignment due friday, which means i'm a bit bereft of words for here. mostly, the last 8 or so days have been mired in provocations about motivation (unpindownable!) and choice (unlimited!) and how we make the choices we make in life (messily!) and how our self-assessment influences the way we choose (if you see yourself as a virginal maiden, you make virginal maiden choices! if you see yourself as an adventurer, you make adventurer choices!) and how our stories are shaped by the choices available to us and how that shape influences the way our lives can be written.

1. how ridiculous does all of that sound? somehow it completely escaped me that, in doing a doctor of philosophy degree, i would be philosophizing so much. that i would challenge scholars i do not know to critical duels and spend whole days trying to pin down definitions for virginia woolf's use of the word 'pretend'. slowly, it is dawning that this is what i do now. dear people contemplating a doctor of philosophy degree, you will do this. beware! (more fearsome, perhaps, is the fact that, though it may make you feel as though your brain is coming unstitched, you will enjoy it.)

2. this past week of examining the principle of choice has instilled in me an absolute loathing of choice. seriously. last night, it was a battle to decide what i wanted for dinner. and the choice ultimately had nothing to do with me and everything to do with my lack of tupperware. that is a choice made easy.

the problem with writing a 'choose your own adventure' narrative- a problem that seems so obvious now and which had somehow slipped by me before- is that it is very not easy. you have to become a master of choice. and not, like, one choice, but ALL OF THE CHOICES.

because this is, in the end, one of the differences between life and death. if someone is alive, then choices remain. possibilities exist. and new stories spiral off those. we see death as the end of possibility (though i would argue it is not). biography takes the same view. so in writing the life of a person, that person's life becomes inevitable. the choices they made appear the only possible decisions and the buffet of options from which they chose that choice totally fall away.

this may ultimately be another one of my waterloos. this desire to produce a story of a life that includes what henry james called 'the swarm of possibilities.' the word 'swarm' alone seems to indicate a book it would be arduous to read. the only swarm i can think of is one comprised of mosquitos and that sounds like a horrendous thing to confine between two covers. difficult for the biographer to control and unjust to the reader, who opens it only to be assaulted.

i've absolutely no ending or conclusion here, so do with that what you will.