Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Okay. I am not a Country Girl, a Downhome Gal ... certainly not a Backwoods Barbie. My mother never made a coat out of scraps for me to wear with pride while the other children laughed. I just work hard and play hard and enjoy filling my time with friends and fun.
After a long few weeks recently passed, I was really worn out! I was tired both mentally and physically and on Monday, when we went to see Dolly Parton at the Patriot Center, well ... it was just like getting a big ol’ soft hug! (Easy Aaron!)
We walked in and heard that sugary sweet familiar voice rising from a blur of sequins, and it seriously put a smile on my face that lasted 2 full hours!
Dolly doesn’t even need to sing. I like some of her songs, and definitely respect her as a brilliant song writer, but I could just listen to her tell stories all night long. She’s really very, very funny! I had to chuckle when she apologized at the end of the show if she offended anyone! Ha! Dolly? Who on earth could ever be offended by Dolly Parton?!?!
I enjoyed watching the crowd almost as much as I enjoyed watching Dolly, especially the woman in front and to the right of us who pried herself free from the gnarled old tree branch that was holding her oh so tightly to stand up and - with tears streaming down her face - lift her hands to ... Dolly? Katie Beadnell and I used to write letters and pray to Cher at night with a special shrine we built out of her brother's glow-in-the-dark gargoyle models, so I suppose it’s possible to have a religious experience with Dolly Parton. Me, I just enjoyed spending an evening with an old friend who makes me laugh and warms my heart....
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Monday, April 21, 2008
The Great Gatsby was my little respite between two blood-and-guts crime novels. I was embarrassed that so many people cite Gatsby as one of their favorite books of all time when I had never even read it, and only vaguely remember seeing the film as a child. I did feel a connection to Nick Carraway in that I long to be a part of the high profile party scene while being equally uncomfortable with the lack of morality involved. And I absolutely loved his character sketches and great sarcasm! While I still don’t understand how certain tales become American Classics, I enjoyed reading The Great Gatsby as a fun little story full of humor and intrigue, twists and irony.... ... ...how fleeting popularity can be.
Pull up a wicker sofa on the sun porch, mix yourself a mint julep ~ enjoy a wonderful rainy-day read!!!
Admittedly, I find a strange fascination in the mob and crime scenarios often glorified on the silver screen. I am no different than millions of other rubber-neckers in that respect. I loved Donnie Brasco and Good Fellas. I have seen Reservoir Dogs no less than a hundred times, I’m sure, and I’ve sat through all of Scarface more than thrice (once in Spanish)! Who knows why we enjoy this? It must tap into some secret desire we have for a life filled with a little adrenaline, a little danger. I remember riding in a car in Germany, many years ago, flying over a hill at top speed when the driver looked at me with a maniacal grin and asked, “Do you like living on the edge?”
Well, I don’t know about all of that, however ....
Although it was rather poorly written (as if it would have received a B+ in a high school Comp class), I actually enjoyed reading For the Sins of My Father by Albert DeMeo. Maybe it was because it was true and had pictures!! It gave testament to the human side of a mob family and the mob family. We were able to see the compassion of the father and the humorous aspects of a boy hanging out with real men. Ultimately, though, it just made me sad. I feel like the author did exactly what he accuses others of doing: he glorified the mob connections and quickly swept the post traumatic stress disorder, depression, and a life falling apart under the rug. To me, that would have made a better story. And in the end - and I don’t feel at all badly for revealing this - the dog saves his life!
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
"I hate when people ask what a book is about. People who read for plot, people who suck out the story like the cream filling in an Oreo, should stick to comic strips and soap operas. What's it about? Every book worth a damn is about emotions and love and death and pain. It's about words. It's about a man dealing with his life. Okay?" That is my favorite bit from The Tender Bar, A Memoir by J.R. Moehringer.
So what is the book about? I knew you'd ask. Is it actually about a bar? Is it about a boy's struggle to find some male-ness in his fatherless world? Is it about an aspiring writer? Is it about triumph or tragedy? Is it about friendship and strength? Heroes and losers? Pain and pleasure? Is it about wasted opportunities or grabbing the golden ring? Is it about growing up or growing away? Is it comic or crushing? Happy or harrowing? Fortunate or fatal?
Yes, yes, yes! It is all these things! It is about making a family where one doesn't exist and it is about loving people in spite of their flaws and failures. It's about unlikely heroes and quiet successes. It is male bonding and tender intermissions.
It's about words. It's about a man dealing with his life.