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Friday, 28 August 2009

Weekly Wisdom from Mr. Trollope

The word that is written is a thing capable of permanent life, and lives frequently to the confusion of its parent. A man should make his confessions always by word of mouth if it be possible.

Fancy Day


My summer of BBC dramatic adaptations continues--if only I could find their production of Dial M for Murder. Lacking that, I've recently watched Under the Greenwood Tree from the Thomas Hardy novel, featuring the most delightfully named heroine, Fancy Day. Enough said. Another very pleasing discovery is The Young Visitors, based on a 1890 novella written by nine year old Margaret Mary Julia Ashford. Pen name, Daisy Ashford. The Young Visitors might just be one of the most charming, bittersweet, magical little worlds ever. It called to mind stories like Ionesco's unconventional tales for children, the eerie Story Number 1 and Story Number 2 which, like Visitors, has a visual language with an irreverent reverence for the world around them that seems such a perfect match for the (sometimes haunting) wonders of childhood. Biscuit was an excellent child author--her Tripe Collonia will no doubt be included in future collections of her work. I'm only sad that my only childhood contribution to the literary world (besides an award winning Haiku in honor of Moonlight the cat) is a half finished manuscript entitled 15 and Scared about a (15 year old) ballerina who goes off on her own to study at SAB. Its singular lack of imagination, wit, and subtlety I have yet to produce again.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Weekly Wisdom from Mr. Trollope

There is nothing perhaps so generally consoling to a man as a well-established grievance; a feeling of having been injured, on which his mind can brood from hour to hour, allowing him to plead his own cause in his own court, within his own heart, and always to plead it successfully.

The Long-Suffering Only Child


My father persistently and frequently litters my mailbox and inbox with an assortment of letters and forwarded information, often interesting and entertaining or offensive and irritating. When they are of the latter variety they usually pertain to some idea he has of my (supposed) faults, shortcomings, or deficiencies. Most recently, I received a photocopied chapter from what appears to be a book about parenting. Chapter 13: Improving Emotional Control.

"In elementary school, children whose ability to manage their emotions is weak frequently encounter social problems; they may have trouble sharing toys, losing at games or sports, or not getting their way during make-believe games with friends. Kids who have good emotional control are the ones you'll notice can make compromises, accept winning and losing at games with equanimity, and may act as peacemakers in altercations with peers."
Suckers.


Biscuit, Aunt Stella, and I recently made the trip up to the 32nd floor to visit my Grandfather. The last time I saw Herbert I happened to have had my hair straightened for some P.A. and it seemed the shock of my hair having returned to its natural and wild state was a little more than Grandpa could take:

Herbert: Did you ride the subway like that?

Margaret: What do you mean Grandpa?

Herbert: It was straightened out last time--did you get on the subway like that?

Margaret: This is how it's always grown out of my head Gpa. What's wrong with it?

Herbert: It's very (long pause and then with obvious disdain) noticeable.


And then I practiced emotional control.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Weekly Wisdom from Mr. Trollope

The word that is written is a thing capable of permanent life, and lives frequently to the confusion of its parent. A man should make his confessions always by word of mouth if it be possible.

Protologism


Humilified. Chillsome. These are my two favorites.


Neologism: A neologism (pronounced /niˈɒlədʒɪzəm/); from Greek νές (neo 'new' + logos 'word') is a newly coined word that may be in the process of entering common use, but has not yet been accepted into mainstream language. Neologisms are often directly attributable to a specific person, publication, period, or event. According to Oxford English Dictionary the term neologism was first used in print in 1772. In psychiatry, the term neologism is used to describe the use of words that only have meaning to the person who uses them, independent of their common meaning. This is considered normal in children, but a symptom of thought disorder (indicative of a psychotic mental illness, such as schizophrenia) in adults.


Ah, well. Yes.


In other words:


Had a discussion this week with CD about the use of the word "down" to describe the event of his child sleeping. "Madeline went down," "I put Madeline down," etc.


Saw a man who looked like the lead singer from Coldplay while standing in line at a theatre in Times Square with JG and said "hey, is that Chris Play from Coldmartin ?"


Threw a fit when people appearing on HGTV shows about home-buying described a certain type of room as a "bump out" one too many times.




Monday, 3 August 2009

Weekly Wisdom from Mr. Trollope

'Chignon' was a word which she had never been heard to pronounce. She would talk of 'those bandboxes which the sluts wear behind their noddles;' for Miss Stanbury allowed herself the use of much strong language.

Progression


Much was made about the last minute addition of Joe Biden to the "Beer Summit;" two black men, two white men, and an even better photo op is born. But what would have made it even better and far more indicative of inclusiveness and understanding? Who's missing from this "national conversation?" That's right, it's the person who got this ball rolling, and who in fact is the one much more egregiously wronged than any other: and it's a she. As far as I know, Frank Rich is the only member of the press to comment on this, and fittingly calls the decision (more likely lack of thought) "stupid behavior." I think of Obama as being such an especially thoughtful person and empowering father of daughters--how could he miss this? How could it not have occured to me immediately, and seemingly to so few people in the media? It's an interesting example of a woman maligned by the hushed weapon of gender induced obscurity. Especially at a time when I find myself working on the role of a woman from 1952; her position as a wife (thus, woman) whose fidelity just ain't good enough makes her the victim of attempted homicide; and a woman from the turn of the century who has to dress up as man to find out whether her lover is betraying her; and yet another from the 1600s whose vanity and pride in her ability to attract men are inevitably her downfall. 1952. . .1898. . .1600. . .2009?