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Monthly Archives: June 2015

Expanding The Crowdsourcing

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So. I’m still trying to compile a reading list.

Including the suggestions from the last post, here’s what I’ve got –

  • Triton by Sam Delaney
  • The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
  • The Four Voyages by Christopher Columbus
  • Upside Down by Eduardo Galeano
  • Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead
  • Time’s Arrow by Martin Amis
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • Moonlight on Linoleum by Terry Hewig
  • Black Swan Green by David Mitchell
  • The Quiet American by Graham Greene
  • A Lady’s Life In The Rocky Mountains by Isabella Bird

So yeah.  It’s a weird mix.  But that’s good – some of these, like Sag Harbor and Quiet American, are books I’ve had and wanted to read for a while and just needed a kick in the pants to do it.  And a couple – The Book Thief and Moonlight on Linoleum – are gifts from friends or family that I’ve been a bit guilty about not having gotten to yet.

But that’s still only eleven books; not the twenty I’d been shooting for.  So I had another idea – we’re living in the age of Twitter, when you can send messages to pretty much anyone in the world.  Including People Of Note.

So I’m about to go on Twitter and hit up a whole bunch of notable people – singers, actors, politicians, what have you – and ask them.  Partly to expand my search pool – but also partly because I am dying of curiosity to see what will happen.

Stay tuned.

(Update,)

Two recommendations already:

  • Caught by Lisa Moore
  • Sweetland by Michael Crummey

Tell ya who they’re from later.

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I Waited A Couple Days:

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Charlotte, North Carolina, God-Damn.

Macon, Georgia, God-Damn.

Warrenville, South Carolina, God-Damn.

 

A Happy Birthday

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There’s an actor and director named David I worked with a lot when I was a stage manager.   I’ve seen him (and stage-managed him) playing everything from a 1950’s theatrical producer to a colonial-era Governor to Claudio in a production of Hamlet to a reformed White-supremacist.  We always took kind of a shine to each other; David was that perfect mix of dedicated, diligent and professional, seasoned with just enough lively and impish to liven things up.   He took great delight in calling me “Kimmy” every so often, to tease me; and I let him get away with it because it was the kind of teasing born of affection and long familiarity.

I think I met Barry sometime during the cast party for our first show.  He and Barry had been together for a long while before then already, and he and Barry were still together, living in the apartment Barry was able to get through his stint as a dresser on Broadway.  David thanked Barry in all of his bios, Barry came to all of David’s shows.  I started using them as an example whenever I was in a conversation about marriage equality, because if any two people were a committed and loving couple, they were.

Sometime in the early 2000’s, David and Barry decided to register for civil partnership.  David shared with some of us (during a break in whatever rehearsal we were in) the conversation they had to decide that – one of them had been in the shower and the other said “hey, by the way, should we do this”, with the same blase attitude that you’d ask your spouse whether they thought you should both join a gym or something.  The other said sure, and then suddenly they both gasped – “Wait, was that just a proposal?  Holy cow!”  …Well, legally it wasn’t quite a proposal yet.  But it was good enough for David, and he started referring to Barry as “my husband” immediately.

I’d already started phasing away from theater in 2011, so I didn’t get David’s immediate reaction to New York State legalizing marriage equality then.  But David posted a video on his web site – the cast members of Barry’s show coordinated what they called a “flash mob wedding” one night after the show, securing a justice of the peace to come by and buying up some flowers and then gathering on the stage with David and Barry to have them marry right there.  Someone posted the video on Youtube for friends to see.  David spoke before the service, talking about each of the different steps he and Barry had had to go through to get the state to legalize their commitment; however, when he was younger, he said, if you’d asked him what he wanted out of a relationship, he said that all he’d wanted was to find someone that you could stay with so that years later, you could turn to them over the breakfast table and ask “remember when….?” And that person would remember.  “And what you’re doing for us now is probably one of the best ‘remember-when’s’ we’ll be talking about,” he said.

This morning I woke up to a reminder on Facebook that it was David’s birthday.  I was late to work; I made a note to wish him a happy birthday when I had some down time today.  And then two hours later – the Supreme Court ruled that David and Barry’s marriage was now legal throughout the entire country.

I don’t think I can top that.  Happy Birthday, David.

God-Damn

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Charlotte, North Carolina, God-damn.

Make My Menu Month Check-In

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I realize I haven’t said much about this.  But that’s largely because whatever I’d have to say about how I’ve been eating would be really, really boring.  I’ve been clobbered by a) the bad news from Charleston making me feel like talking about food is just so stupid; b) the heat making me just plain not want to cook; and c) the heat also giving me trouble sleeping so I wouldn’t be able to talk all that coherently about food even if I wanted to and actually did.

can say that I’ve been keeping up my end of the bargain.  Breakfasts have been either more of the rhubarb-oat bar things, or granola with a healthy topping of berries – I made another batch of the oat bars, this time adding some strawberry to the mix, after getting a half gallon of strawberries thrust upon me from the CSA – after getting a quart of strawberries just one week prior.  And I also got a quart of raspberries.  So they’ve both been making for lovely breakfasts, and I’ve been throwing them in my lunchbox for desserts.

And the lunches I’ve been keeping on top of by just stocking the fridge with various salads and stuffing them in the lunch box in the morning; this week I’m working through a couple of Italian-inspired salads, both of which were literally thrown together; one was just a can of canellini beans and tuna, and the other was cherry tomatoes and mozzarella balls.  Dump into a bowl, drizzle in some olive oil, maybe add some snipped oregano from the windowsill.  Done.  Stuff into lunchbox with the berries and some carrot sticks.

My dinners, though…okay, here’s the thing.  I live on the 4th floor of a Brooklyn brownstone, and there is only air conditioning in one room and it has been exceptionally muggy all week, so by the time I get home it feels like a Bikram yoga studio that hasn’t been cleaned in three weeks and the last thing I want to do is cook; on the way home I contemplate doing something like a cheese souffle, but then I walk in the door and all my cooking resolve sweats out of me and I end up eating a handful of raw snap peas and a piece of bread and calling it a day.  I did rally for a couple of simple pasta dishes involving Swiss chard, largely because they take only minutes to cook, but otherwise I’ve been grazing.

So this has been turning out to be a bit of a bust; sorry.  I’ll still keep going this month, but then maybe I’ll try again for content’s sake in some other more temperate month like October.

My Father’s Daughter

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There’s a picture going around social media today, with a quote from Malala Yousafzai’s father:

People ask me what is special about my mentorship that has made Malala so bold and courageous. I tell them, ‘don’t ask me what I did.  Ask me what I did not do. I did not clip her wings, and that’s all’.

But about a year ago, something I said about my own father made a minor splash over on the site Metafilter.com.  Someone started the discussion with a question – he was the new father of a baby girl, and a lot of online tempests over how women are treated had him thinking.  He wanted to know what books about feminism he should read to prepare him for raising a daughter.

And here’s what I said:

You don’t have to have a degree in women’s studies or a nuanced understanding of gender politics to raise independent-minded daughters. My father certainly didn’t – he went to trade school instead of college and that kind of theoretical book-study was really not what he was into.

What my father did do, though, was encourage thinking in general. And he let me see that that was something in me that he valued. I’ve talked before about how Dad liked playing devil’s advocate in discussions just for the sake of getting a discussion going – I was actually one of his favorite sparring partners, in fact. I remember when I was in high school and we somehow got going on a conversation on the death penalty one night at dinner, and at one point he said something that just really got me fired up to the point that I forcefully put down the fork I was holding and said one of those “now, HOLD UP a minute” kinds of comments that lets you know that someone’s about to launch into an impassioned statement – and I was surprised to see Dad burst out with a grin like a kid on Christmas and hear him mutter, “oh, I love this.” And that’s when it hit me that Dad was excited to hear what I thought, and valued that I got impassioned about ideas.

My father valued my brain, and let me see that he valued it. He put value on me as a person rather than as a girl, and let me know that. And that’s a big part of what made me a feminist. Reading about gender theory and such can help you wrap your own brain around things, but your daughters may respond much more to having an example of a person who treats them as a whole person.

It wasn’t until sometime after I wrote that that I realized just how valuable that had been for me. Because of him, I have never had to struggle with the self-perception that I had to hide that I was smart because “guys don’t like girls who are smarter than they are”.  I have always, from the moment I as born, had a real-life example of a man who valued my brain, and so I have always known that if a man had a problem with my having opinions, it was his problem, not mine.  One of the biggest foundations for my becoming a writer was the belief that I actually had something to say in the first place, and one of the biggest foundations for that was having a core belief that I had a brain and that people wanted to hear me.

Last year, I actually mentioned all this to Dad on Father’s Day and I thanked him.  And he sounded a bit embarrassed.  “Kimmy, it was a treat,” he said (he’s one of the very few people I let call me “Kimmy”).  “It wasn’t anything I was trying to do. I just liked finding out how you think.”

“But that’s rare, Dad.”

“Well…okay.”

It was rare. It is rare.  And I’m still grateful.

Love ya, Dad.  Happy Father’s Day.

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD

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Richmond, Virginia, God-Damn.