Thursday, September 29, 2011
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Do you think when writers finish a book that they worry about what readers will take away from the stories? I read a few author blogs online and it seems likely that all they care about after finishing a book is not having to work on the book any more, but when a few months pass, the reviews on Amazon that say “You’re reading it all wrong!1!” may belong to the author. I’m always left pondering the weirdest stuff when I finish a biography – some throwaway line can keep me captivated for days. I’m probably supposed to be thinking about the author’s conversion from man into woman, and the political and social ramifications thereof, but days later I’m still pondering whether he/she is right about the difference in price between men and women’s haircuts mean that women are just suckers.
In Notes from the Underwire: Adventures from My Awkward and Lovely Life, former child star, Quinn Cummings (from Family and The Goodbye Girl) writes about her life after acting. As fine an actress as she was, I’m kind of glad she doesn’t do it anymore, because active actors don’t get to be as honest about the industry as Quinn is here and they don’t usually have the time to have a family life, much less examine it so closely. Quinn Cummings talks about her daughter a lot, which only makes sense in a book of essays about her life. She mentions at one point that, as they live in a very small house, they are hyper-aware of each other’s faults and tics. Her husband has a habit of singing one line of a song over and over, they all follow her into the bathroom, she has her own quirks. And then she gets to her daughter and say’s something like, “Alice has annoying habits, too, but since they mostly came from us, and are thusly our fault, we love them as much as we love her.” I’m totally paraphrasing, but that’s the gist. What an elegant way around the fact that her child is going to read this book one day and know that she was a normal kid with normal horrible crazy-making habits, and that she was loved both in spite of and because of them.
I read a LOT of mommy blogs, as one does when one is childless and not altogether sorry about that state. I don’t know what the bloggers think their intention is, but I am usually not left with the takeaway that having children is so delightful. Of course, it may be the mommybloggers that I choose to read, but it’s miles more fun to hear (from way afar) about the children that hit and bite and burn things. They rarely are able to create such a loving connection on the page and I’m always left thinking that this blogger’s child is an angel and that one is the devil on earth. Despite the constant mommyblogger refrain, simply putting words on paper (or screen) doesn’t make you a Real Writer, capable of depicting fully-rounded characters. Quinn Cummings is a Real Writer, and a really funny one, too.
Saturday, September 17, 2011
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
It’s a sweet little book, culled from her blog and filled in with anecdotes about her hippie childhood, but she must have been defiantly uncurious about childbirth before her first child. She mentions being shocked about several parts of childbirth & rearing that I would have thought were pretty common knowledge, like the fact that some women poop during delivery. I don’t know why her friends didn’t fill her in on that tidbit, because my friends have always listed it as one of the top talking points when discussing labor.
And I know I’m probably not going to ever have to make this call, but I’m not thinking that I want a football team worth of people in a delivery room with me. Soleil did, of course, including family and old friends and her birthing coaches Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher. Demi Moore apparently gives a great leg massage during labor. I’m thinking I’ll use Ricki Lake for my doula and Demi for my labor coach and George Clooney can be my focus object. And Soleil talked about music for the labor, how you would want tribal music for the hard labor and soft music for the resting times, but it seems like it would be hard to switch them on and off during contractions, so I think I’ll need Jane’s Addiction and James Taylor in the room with me playing live as the mood dictates. I’m sure the doctor can fit in there somewhere. My (hypothetical) husband can watch the game in the lobby – From that distance; I won’t be able to bite him (Hi, Gina. (((Waving)))).
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Monday, September 5, 2011
The early days and first few casts are explored in deep and loving detail, but as the years go by, the cast profiles get shorter and the interviews are mostly about Lorne Michaels. There’s a real sense of invention and experimentation in the early years, and that only makes sense, but as the show grinds on, it because a series of stories about how Lorne rescued whosie-whatsit from stand-up clubs and became their father-/god-figure. The best exceptions to this are the people who absolutely didn’t fit in at SNL, like Janeane Garolfalo and Norm MacDonald. They get to talk a long time about the faults of the show and network and that’s just good reading.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Lowe tells a story about Chris Farley that breaks my heart a little. He and David Spade were at a steakhouse during the filming of Tommy Boy. He said Farley ordered two porterhouse steaks and put an entire pat of butter on each bite of both steaks. When one of them freaked out about the butter, Lowe said Farley giggled and said in his little kid voice, “It needs a hat.” That tiny portrait made me understand Chris Farley more than anything I’ve read. This man hated himself. I thought the drugs were the reason he was so messed up, but they were apparently just one more weapon he used in his battle against himself. I mean, there’s self-destruction and then there’s lighting dynamite and stuffing it down your pants.
There’s some juicy stuff about The West Wing, for the Wing-nuts among us. Mostly contract and back-scene stories, but I’d love to get a great behind the scenes book about that series. They all thought they would last 8 episodes and then it became a juggernaut. What would that do to a cast of relative unknowns (except for Martin Sheen and Lowe) and their egos? Somebody without a stake needs to write that book for me, stat.
The other book I want to read is about Darryl Hannah. Lowe talks about the night he met her and she had on a fairy suit with wings (at 19) and didn’t sleep with him because she was saving herself for Jackson Browne, whom she hadn’t yet met. Some other biography, probably one of JFK, Jr., talks about her carrying around a teddy bear at a dinner party. In her twenties. I think she might be an interested subject or the whole book might be two lines. Darryl Hannah is beautiful and rich. And a whack-job.
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