Oct 20
I’m interviewing Rupert Thomson about his latest novel, Secrecy, at Book Court tonight at 7. Some quotes from the book about confidences, secrets, and lies:
"I hadn’t done what they said I’d done, but there’s a kind of truth in a well-told lie, and that truth can cling to you like the taste of raw garlic or the smell of smoke. People are always ready to believe the worst."
"I always chose the lie that was most suited to the circumstances, the one that would be believed."
"I had no idea why he had chosen me as an audience. I rather wished he hadn’t. The wrong kind of knowledge could be dangerous. People were always being persecuted for what they knew."
"That was the deeply paradoxical nature of a confidence: it might draw you in close, but it also contained the seeds of banishment, exile, and even, possibly, annihilation."
I first interviewed Thomson, one of my favorite writers, eight years ago, by email, and once after that at mcnallyjackson. I’m excited to talk with him again.

I’m interviewing Rupert Thomson about his latest novel, Secrecy, at Book Court tonight at 7. Some quotes from the book about confidences, secrets, and lies:

  • "I hadn’t done what they said I’d done, but there’s a kind of truth in a well-told lie, and that truth can cling to you like the taste of raw garlic or the smell of smoke. People are always ready to believe the worst."
  • "I always chose the lie that was most suited to the circumstances, the one that would be believed."
  • "I had no idea why he had chosen me as an audience. I rather wished he hadn’t. The wrong kind of knowledge could be dangerous. People were always being persecuted for what they knew."
  • "That was the deeply paradoxical nature of a confidence: it might draw you in close, but it also contained the seeds of banishment, exile, and even, possibly, annihilation."

I first interviewed Thomson, one of my favorite writers, eight years ago, by email, and once after that at mcnallyjackson. I’m excited to talk with him again.

Oct 19

http://nerdshares.tumblr.com/post/100471442135/i-know-that-people-look-at-me-and-wonder-why-i

nerdshares:

"I know that people look at me and wonder why I have not succumbed to the progress of technology. Why have I not frozen or filled in the lines of my forehead. Why I have not clipped the bits of surplus skin on my eyelids. I am not sure, but probably because I am afraid of freezing time, of not recognizing myself in the mirror, the image I have been so friendly with. Losing the complicity with myself is something I would not like to happen, the wink in the bathroom mirror as I pass it in the middle of the night, the straight-on look that I recognize. My image is who I am and even if I don’t always love it, I am intrigued by it and I find the changes interesting.”

-Diane von Furstenberg, The Woman I Wanted to Be.

Katherine Anne Porter on style

I’ve been called a stylist until I really could tear my hair out. And I simply don’t believe in style. The style is you. Oh, you can cultivate a style, I suppose, if you like. But I should say it remains a cultivated style. It remains artificial and imposed, and I don’t think it deceives anyone. Everybody knows it’s a mask, and sooner or later you must show yourself—or at least, you show yourself as someone who could not afford to show himself, and so created something to hide behind. Style is the man. Aristotle said it first, as far as I know, and everybody has said it since, because it is one of those unarguable truths. You do not create a style. You work, and develop yourself; your style is an emanation from your own being.

—Katherine Anne Porter, The Art of Fiction no. 29, Paris Review

This interview is so good. Her essay on Colette is also a favorite. She denounces the “tone of particular indulgence, reserved for gifted women who make no pretentions and know how to keep their place in the arts,” and says Colette “is the greatest living French writer of fiction and… was while Gide and Proust still lived.” 

thebegats:

Welp, I finally got my hands on some of the columns written by Maude Newton Simmons, my mysterious self-given namesake whose writing ambitions were a complete surprise to me when I learned of them a few years ago, and my fears came true.
I can’t bring myself to post screenshots of the truly offensive things she wrote, though I’m sure I’ll get into it all in my book. Let’s just say it’s definitely a lesson in being careful which long-dead barely-known relations you fetishize.
Because Maude/Maud* was almost the Emily or Molly or Haley or Sophie or Jennifer or Betty of its day, I have another great aunt Maude, too. I would like to think I slightly resemble her, if only because she looks amazing in a sexy lacy black dress that I would totally wear. She’s standing next to my great-grandfather, Zone, the guy with the umbrella, aka the self-declared Texan communist. 
I don’t know much about Maude Johnston Baldwin except that according to the census she worked as a seamstress in a dress factory and according to my mom she and her mom and the rest of her siblings “dipped snuff.” (“I remember each Johnston carried a can around to spit in and after a meal we all would sit in the living room and each one would spit from time to time and argue and fight,” says Mom. “Zone’s family was a striving, hell-raising bunch!! I hated being there.”)
* I prefer the unornamented form of the name.

Genealogy = Pandora’s box.

thebegats:

Welp, I finally got my hands on some of the columns written by Maude Newton Simmons, my mysterious self-given namesake whose writing ambitions were a complete surprise to me when I learned of them a few years ago, and my fears came true.

I can’t bring myself to post screenshots of the truly offensive things she wrote, though I’m sure I’ll get into it all in my book. Let’s just say it’s definitely a lesson in being careful which long-dead barely-known relations you fetishize.

Because Maude/Maud* was almost the Emily or Molly or Haley or Sophie or Jennifer or Betty of its day, I have another great aunt Maude, too. I would like to think I slightly resemble her, if only because she looks amazing in a sexy lacy black dress that I would totally wear. She’s standing next to my great-grandfather, Zone, the guy with the umbrella, aka the self-declared Texan communist

I don’t know much about Maude Johnston Baldwin except that according to the census she worked as a seamstress in a dress factory and according to my mom she and her mom and the rest of her siblings “dipped snuff.” (“I remember each Johnston carried a can around to spit in and after a meal we all would sit in the living room and each one would spit from time to time and argue and fight,” says Mom. “Zone’s family was a striving, hell-raising bunch!! I hated being there.”)

* I prefer the unornamented form of the name.

Genealogy = Pandora’s box.

Oct 15

What: Join Rupert Thomson in conversation with Maud Newton for a talk, Q&A, and signing of his new novel, Secrecy.
When: October 20, 2014 at 7pm 
Where: BookCourt | 163 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Who: Rupert Thomson and maudnewton
More Info: Here

Oct 10
thebegats:

“Orphan Black is beginning to pervade the mall scene,” moon-trips observes. 

Clone Club t-shirt!

thebegats:

Orphan Black is beginning to pervade the mall scene,” moon-trips observes. 

Clone Club t-shirt!

http://www.tinglealley.com/post/99646852281/right-now-i-feel-half-grieving-witch-half-koko

tinglealley:

Right now I feel half grieving witch, half Koko the week after All Ball died.

Once, after something hard had happened, my friend Danielle said, “I bawled so hard my eyes were like little rat assholes,” and it’s one of the consolations of crying too much to think of that line whenever I look in the mirror…

Oct 08
ghostphotographs:

Together For Soup

ghostphotographs:

Together For Soup


Kati Horna (1912 - 2000)Leonora Carrington, 1960

cc: tinglealley, author of “How to Be Old: Two Women, Their Husbands, Their Cats, Their Alchemy,” featuring Leonora Carrington and her friend, Remedios Varo.

Kati Horna (1912 - 2000)
Leonora Carrington, 1960

cc: tinglealley, author of “How to Be Old: Two Women, Their Husbands, Their Cats, Their Alchemy,” featuring Leonora Carrington and her friend, Remedios Varo.

Source: tytusjaneta

Oct 07

Source: foxandfloral

http://www.tinglealley.com/post/99410704126/the-other-day-my-friend-angela-was-lecturing-her

tinglealley:

The other day my friend Angela was lecturing her daughter, who is five or so, on something. Her daughter started whirling her arms in a sort of disco roll and then abracadabra-ed her fingers straight out in front of her.

My friend continued talking, her daughter did the disco-roll, finger-thing again.

Friend: “Are you… trying to put a spell on me?”

Daughter: “Yes.”

Angela taught me the roll-finger thing over the weekend, and it is indeed the best, most satisfying thing to do when you’re finding something tedious. Five, six rolls then FINGERS OUT.

Abra-abra-abra-abra-abra-CADABRA! So great.

On the advice of moon-trips, last year I made the outgoing email noise on my phone into a “spell” sound that would go perfectly with this. 

Oct 06

thebegats:

On Saturday I sat down with my friend alexanderchee, who recently finished up his second novel, and he shared with me the most breathtaking family history records I’ve ever seen in person outside of a museum. 

Published in a collection of nine bound and slipcased volumes, his family’s JokBo — genealogy records — are written in HanJa, which Alex says is the Korean name for Chinese characters. A friend of his who knows Chinese says that the characters in these books are an old-fashioned, almost archaic form of the language.

Alex’s family on his dad’s side, the Korean side, are Yangban, members of the traditional ruling class. His records date to the Joseon Dynasty, which began in 1392. Not everyone’s JokBo are this elaborate and beautiful, but Alex explained that in general knowledge of ancestry is so important in Korea that “if you don’t know who your family is, you enter a space of disgrace.” This is especially difficult and painful for Korean adoptees who return to the land of their birth hoping to make a connection with the place they came from, he says. The emphasis placed on ancestry is because of ancestor worship. “Each ancestor becomes a little bit of a house god when they die.”

In the photos above are portraits of three of Alex’s ancestors, three stark and stunning “feng shui grave maps” (I hope I haven’t turned any of them upside-down and in so doing displeased the ancestors), and a couple of photos of the books themselves. The pictures in the books are a small part of the whole; mostly they’re devoted to detailed family genealogies: birth dates, marriage dates, dates of death, and career accomplishments. A woman who marries “dies to her old family,” and her record becomes part of her husband’s record and starts over again in his book.

I learned so much more, but I’ll stop there for now. Thank you for sharing your family history with me, Alex! 

Oct 05
One of the many sexual conquests left in Byron’s wake was Claire Clairmont, though it would be more accurate to say that she’d made a conquest of him. Part of a crowded household that included her mother, Mary Jane, her stepsisters, Fanny and Mary—the daughters of pioneering feminist author Mary Wollstonecraft, who died eleven days after giving birth to Mary—and Mary Jane’s husband, the radical philosopher William Godwin, Claire had come of age in an atmosphere of intense intellectual competitiveness. ‘In our family,’ she said, ‘if you cannot write an epic poem or novel that by its originality knocks all other novels on the head, you are a despicable creature, not worth acknowledging.’
At this time of year I always think of the Shelleys and Byron and their awesome-creepy confab on Lake Geneva. So I was just rereading emmagarman on “The Man Who Invented Vampires and the Creepiest Literary Gathering Ever,” and then I came upon this part about the writerly competitiveness of the Godwin-Wollstonecraft-Clairmont household and had to share.
Oct 02
thebegats:

From my Family Tree interview with Laila Lalami, at thetinhouse: 

Maud Newton: In a Lives piece for the New York Times Magazine, you write that your mom was left in a French orphanage in Fez in 1941, and that, over the years, you had many theories and stories about how she might have ended up there. Your thirst for the truth eventually led you to take a genetic test, but in the end, science couldn’t give you the kind of answers you were seeking. “Only stories could,” you said. Do you think the mystery of your mother’s origins is part of the reason you’re a writer?
Laila Lalami: I think it certainly played a part. When I was growing up, I could never shake the feeling that there was something different about my family. All my friends had maternal aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, whereas my extended family consisted solely of relatives on my father’s side. We also did certain things differently at home, like sing French lullabies instead of Arabic ones, or eat pain perdu with mint tea—habits my mother brought with her from the French orphanage. Being different meant that I became more sensitive to detail, more attuned to all the ways in which a person belongs to or is held apart from a group.


For me, the desire to write came from my love of books and my need to tell stories. But I think there’s a connection between feeling like you’re different and wanting to tell a story. When you write you can, at least temporarily, tame that feeling of difference.

thebegats:

From my Family Tree interview with Laila Lalami, at thetinhouse

Maud Newton: In a Lives piece for the New York Times Magazine, you write that your mom was left in a French orphanage in Fez in 1941, and that, over the years, you had many theories and stories about how she might have ended up there. Your thirst for the truth eventually led you to take a genetic test, but in the end, science couldn’t give you the kind of answers you were seeking. “Only stories could,” you said. Do you think the mystery of your mother’s origins is part of the reason you’re a writer?

Laila Lalami: I think it certainly played a part. When I was growing up, I could never shake the feeling that there was something different about my family. All my friends had maternal aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, whereas my extended family consisted solely of relatives on my father’s side. We also did certain things differently at home, like sing French lullabies instead of Arabic ones, or eat pain perdu with mint tea—habits my mother brought with her from the French orphanage. Being different meant that I became more sensitive to detail, more attuned to all the ways in which a person belongs to or is held apart from a group.

For me, the desire to write came from my love of books and my need to tell stories. But I think there’s a connection between feeling like you’re different and wanting to tell a story. When you write you can, at least temporarily, tame that feeling of difference.
Oct 01
emilystjohnmandel:

I didn’t specifically set out to write a hopeful book. It’s more that I think the mayhem and chaos that I assume would follow a societal collapse would probably not last forever everywhere on earth.

Station Eleven, y’all!

emilystjohnmandel:

I didn’t specifically set out to write a hopeful book. It’s more that I think the mayhem and chaos that I assume would follow a societal collapse would probably not last forever everywhere on earth.

Station Eleveny’all!

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