Archives for January 2010

on Salinger

Salinger_wideweb__470x331,0  One of the literary greats died this week.  I first read J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye as a freshman at Louisiana Tech, not as a requirement, but because I saw that it was on a list of most influential books of the century and figured I needed to read it.  And so, I went to the school bookstore, bought the little red paperback and brought it back to my dorm room, wrote my name inside the cover, and placed it atop my nightstand (pink milk crates stuffed with books and cds).  I didn't know what the novel was about.  In those days I read many novels for the sole purpose of becoming a better writer myself.  Reading was an important task, not just a leisure activity.

The following Saturday I would read Catcher.  It would take me into the better part of the afternoon, which was fine because I didn't have much going on that weekend.  My roommates were gone, I put cds on the 5-disc changer and set to reading, immersed in the world of Holden Caulfield.  I'd never read Salinger, but found him immediately familiar.  It was the first time while reading that I had noticed the influences of the writers who had influenced me.  To my 19 year-old mind, this was a real discovery.   

My writing philosophy is no different from anyone else — there is nothing new under the sun.  There are new ways to tell a story, of course, there are new stories, but basically there is nothing really new-new.  Shakespeare laid the groundwork for any romantic comedy you've ever read or seen on screen.  You want drama?  I give you Shakespeare, Dickens, and Papa Hemingway (is there anything more heartbreaking than "Hills Like White Elephants"?  Oh my God.  Note to self: blog about that short story).  You want some mothereffing cerebral Southern-style Greek tragedy?  I give you my boy William Faulkner.  My point is, it's all been done and it's been done well.  

And Salinger was one of the originals.  

Salinger's style was similar to my own style of fiction then, which was greatly influenced by Bret Easton Ellis' Less Than Zero and Jay McInerney's Bright Lights, Big City, as well as Sylvia Plath's Bell Jar.  It was the oddest thing to read a classic that seemed almost as fresh as my favorites written in the previous decade as well as reminding me of stuff I had written.  Talk about bizarre.  

She was blocking up the whole goddam traffic in the aisle. You could tell she liked to block up a lot of traffic. This waiter was waiting for her to move out of the way, but she didn’t even notice him. It was funny. You could tell the waiter didn’t like her much, you could tell even the Navy guy didn’t like her much, even though he was dating her. And I didn’t like her much. Nobody did. You had to feel sort of sorry for her, in a way.

Salinger's narration was nothing less than brilliant, "you had to feel sort of sorry for her, in a way," — he wasn't just giving you the story, he was telling you how to feel about it.  Don't think that isn't important.  This was new.  I had been exposed to it with Less Than Zero, but Salinger did it first.  He was original. 

It was also the culture of youth that made The Catcher in the Rye stand out, as was LTZ and the other novels I mentioned. What makes writing about youth culture particularly different is the place it brings the reader. What I mean is this: we've all experienced our youth, we remember parts of it fondly, some parts more fondly then others, some parts were sheer torture.  What makes that genre different from other genres is that I will never be an Elizabethan aristocrat or an ex-patriot writer in the Parisian '20s or a bullfighter's girlfriend in Spain.  But I was an insecure teenager once.  I struggled with self-doubt.  I spent a lot of time in my head trying to figure out just who I was, just like some of the characters in the novels I know so well.  We have Salinger to thank for that literary genre.  I'm thankful for that, and for the influence he had on me and the writers in the generation before me.  

Thank you, Mr. Salinger for your words.

I’m in a mood, so here’s your early Sunday rewind

I'm in a mood and I've been listening to the smiths all day, which is usually good music for working in Photoshop, but I can't get anything accomplished today due to my foul mood.  I'm also working on another post for later, but for now — here are a few videos I don't believe I've put on the blog before.  Y'all know I love my Morrissey.  

"Shoplifters of the World Unite" is a great song.  I picked this video because the smiths original vids where you actually see Johnny Marr playing guitar are few and far between and I do love the guitar in this song, although the audio is not the best.  As always, Morrissey's lyrics are fantastic: "learn to love me and assemble the ways, now, today, tomorrow, and always."

Next up is "I Started Something I Couldn't Finish."  Love this one, but you know — typical me, typical me, typical me.

Lastly, is "How Soon is Now?"  This is a live version, just Morrissey, just fabulous.  Once again, his lyrics are lovely: "I am the son and the heir/of a shyness that is criminally vulgar/I am the son and heir of nothing in particular/You shut your mouth/how can you say/I go about things the wrong way/I am human and I need to be loved just like everybody else does."

Can we talk about how much I love a man in a velvet blazer?  Don't judge me.  I'm not having it.  

you say Tchefuncte, I say Tchefuncta

It's been a hectic week and I'm sorry for the lack of/disconnected posts.  ScrapFest is a month away, so I have lots of design work to do for the event, as well as working with our workshop instructors on classes.   Just for fun, I thought I'd show y'all the poster I whipped up for Fun on the Tchefuncte.  In case you don't live in south Louisiana, "Tchefuncte" is a Native American word, meaning "confuse the hell out of the amateur graphic designer."   There is much debate on the spelling — the river is with and E.  The school is with an A.  It's used interchangeably and if you ask me, it's ridiculous and aggravating.  

If you live around Madisonville/Mandeville/Covington you'll be seeing this in shops and around town soon.   I kinda like it and it's not even pink and green.  


live-blogging the state of the union address

8:05 – I like how Wolf Blitzer refers to the president as being in a holding area, like he's a bull at the rodeo or something. I should be live blogging this.

8:09 – hell, they're still clapping.

8:11 – this is gonna get old.

8:12 – Pelosi introduced Obama.  It would have been cool to have Will Smith play Obama tonight.  

8:13 – Something about Omaha beach.  We must answer history's call.  Pelosi has a runny nose.  This could get ugly, folks.  

8:14 – Biden reminds me of Sam the Eagle from The Muppets.  Just thought I'd let y'all know.  

8:15 – Biden keeps nodding and he just licked his lips.  Ew.  They coulda set up a big bobble head behind Obama and that would have the same effect.

8:16 – Obama has never been more hopeful about America's future than he is tonight.  Well, that's great.  The economy is the most important task ahead, he says.  Well, duh.  Do we really need a state of the union address?  He says bailing out the banks was about as popular as a root canal.  

8:19 – To recover the rest of the bank bail-out $$ he's proposing a fee on the big banks.  AND the crowd goes wild!  Everyone's standing and clapping.  

8:20 – Obama says he's cut taxes.  More standing and clapping.  Okay, standing and clapping on one side of the room.  Jokes that he thought he thought the Republicans would applaud at that one.  2 million working now that would otherwise now be unemployed had Obama not taken the steps he did with the Recovery Act, The Stimulus Bill.  

8:23 – Oh boy, here's the part where The Prez starts with the Real People anecdotes.  

8:24 – Jobs must be the #1 focus in 2010.  Obama wants a new jobs bill, he says.  Everyone stands.  Well, yeah — who doesn't want jobs?  DUH?  

8:25 – This shit is common sense.  Can I get a speechwriting job?  Please.  Pretty please?

8:26 – P.S.  I won't say "shit" in my speeches. 

8:27 – The Prez is talking about small bidnesses.  I have a small bidness.  It's really small.  Like 2 people small.

8:28 – Tampa's getting a high speed rail system.  Tampa?  For real?

8:29 – Time to slash the tax breaks for those companies who ship jobs overseas.  

8:30 – Why is Biden frowning?

8:31 – Obama will not accept second place for the USA.  I think he's talking about the upcoming Olympics, but I could be wrong, I'm not sure — I got sucked in by Pelosi's gaze.

8:33 – He's talking about the banks again.  I really think he needs to address Pelosi's posture.  I'm not a doctor, but I think she needs some Boniva or something.  

8:34 – Clean energy is good.  Clean energy jobs are good.  Obama wants safe nuclear power plants.  Tough decisions on offshore oil and gas development, clean coal, and passing a climate bill.  

8:36 – There is grumble in the gallery about climate change.  "America must be that nation…" standing, applause.  Export more goods.  DUH.  How could that be bad?  Seriously?  Now he's talking about strengthening trade agreements.  Invest in skills and education of our people.  Duh again.  

8:40 – Now I'm completely distracted by Biden's tie.  He moved it and it's crooked.  Oh, thank the Lord, he fixed it.  Whew!

8:41 – Increase Pell Grants and tax credits on student loans.  All debt should be forgiven after 20 years on student loans.  

8:45 – Thanking Michelle for tackling childhood obesity.  Way to go, Lady O! 

8:47 – Healthcare!  

8:48 – If anyone has a better idea for healthcare, let him know.  Hmm.  I think I may know a couple of people.

8:49 – We are in a massive fiscal hole.  That doesn't sound good. Someone call FEMA.

8:50 – Sorry, I got distracted again.  How long is this thing anyway?  

8:52 – Obama wants to freeze gov't spending staring next year for three years.  If he has to use his veto power (VETO POWER, Y'ALL!) he will.

8:54 – He wants a bi-partisan fiscal commission.  Shouldn't we have one of those anyway?  I'm just sayin'.

8:55 – How weird is this?  I just got a call from the survey people asking if I trust Barack Obama to protect my gun rights.  I said "I'm sorry, I'm busy watching the president telling me what he's going to do with my money right now" and hung up.

8:56 – We face a deficit of trust.  DAYUM.

8:58 – It's time to require lobbyists to man-up!  For real.  Oh, look it's the Supreme Court!  I always like seeing the Justices.  

8:59 – I like that the Justices do not clap for anything.  They don't have time for that foolishness.

9:00 – He's tal
king party politics.  Says it sows distrust.  How true.

9:02 – It's Steve Forbes!  

9:04 – I think all the talking points are over and it's wrap-up time.  Troops will begin to come home.  Reward good governments.  Joined by allies.  It's Al Franken!

9:08 – Michelle will join with Biden to support military families, they're building a 21st century VA.   Arms control treaty.  No terrorists.  Blah blah blah.  North Korea faces further sanctions and stuff.

9:10 – more Real People anecdotes.  America must stand on the side of freedom.

9:13 – Sounds like he's repealing "don't ask, don't tell."  The military fold didn't clap, but then again – they haven't clapped all night.  I don't think that it's not that they don't like the gays.  I'm sure they like Abba night just as much as anyone.  Jazz hands!

9:14 – Chicks should get paid just as much as dudes.  Hellz yeah!  Show me the money!

9:18 – The only reason we are here is because people weren't afraid to do what was hard, what was uncertain.  

9:19 – I loathe Real People anecdotes.  

9:20 – Thank you, God bless you and God bless the United States of America.  

Kerry's Epilogue:  I realize this isn't a serious blog and I write mostly in jest, but for a moment I'd like to be a little serious.  I've been watching the State of the Union Address since I was 15 or 16 years old and I can't remember hearing less information in an address since ever.  I say that as a card carrying Democrat.  Now, I'm not going into my political beliefs here, because that's not what my blog is about, but I do not understand having the speech if the president has nothing to say.  There were talking points. but surely not enough to take up more than 70 minutes of airtime.  We all know the economy is bad, we all know Americans need jobs, we all know the environment is important – but come on, Americans want to hear more than this.  Americans put faith in you to do your job and they need to hear more about what you're doing.  You owe them that.  Hope is not enough.  

Kerry has now stepped down from her soapbox and is going back to chat with friends on Facebook (or to my dad: "Bookface or whatever you call it").

this is never a good sign


I'm pretty sure he's just happy.  Jazz hands!

from: oddly specific.   

sunday rewind: birthday edition, no not mine

There are minutes left in Sunday, so here's a fast post.  Tomorrow is my oldest child's 9th birthday, so this is the birthday '80s Sunday Rewind.  So, here's the upbeat Altered Images "Happy Birthday."  Happy birthday, Molly Kathleen!

But just in case you want to wish someone an unhappy birthday (you know, if they're evil and they lie), here's a song to love — "Unhappy Birthday" by the smiths.  Enjoy!

I hate you, underwire

This happened last night. I do not understand why bras hate me so.
I hate you, underwire

favorite new tool

I broke out the new Tim Holtz (or new to me) distressor tool and roughed up this photo of the boy for the Mr. Mustache layout. Fun tool. Fun mustaches.

favorite new tool

favorite new tool

actual scrapbooking (from the beach)

So, some of my scrapbook posse and I are at Gigi’s crop in Orange Beach and as usual I’ve had the best luck ever. I came with very few pictures, but figured I would upload the ones I wanted to work with and pick the up here. Last night I uploaded to CVS and picked them up today, but all the 5x7s were messed up. They asked me to upload them again. I finally had my photos around 8pm.

Here’s a layout I did of Katie on Christmas morning. Yes, I pink and green for Christmas. With cupcake wrappers.

actual scrapbooking (from the beach)

up all night

A little Counting Crows because…

I'm just staring at the ceiling staring back at me, just waiting for the daylight to come crawling in on me.

I have not been sleeping well.  This would be an understatement.

A few of us are heading to Orange Beach in the morning to scrapbook at a resort for a few days.  A beach.  In winter.  Because we're damn geniuses.  

It's been a painful/stressful/chaotic week and I'm in dire need of a break.  I'm hoping for fun, throwed rolls (it's a Lambert's tradition), shopping at the Foley outlets, actual scrapbooking, laughing with friends, pajama night, omelets, sleeping in, not getting lost, and some sweet time away from people who call me mom.