Reading Watching Listening

Reading…

Injun by Jordan Abel. Technically for the thesis. I don’t know that this is my favourite of Abel’s works. It’s fascinating, but in a lot of ways I feel like he did the same things only better in Un/Inhabited.

 

Watching…

All the season premiers! Seriously one of the best times of year for me. Two favourites: The Good Place (Kooky and a little absurd, Kristen Bell is absolutely in her element in this one) and This Is Us (Because since Parenthood ended, I haven’t had something that is guaranteed to make me cry every week, and this one definitely fills that void. Plus Milo Ventimiglia and Justin Hartley.)

 

Listening…

The cover of “Jolene” that Pentatonix recently released with freaking Dolly Parton. I love love love this song in pretty much all iterations, but this one takes the cake in a lot of ways.

Reading Watching Listening

Reading…

I’m actually still slowly making my way through Meghan Daum’s The Unspeakable. Her essay on being someone who loves animals perhaps a little too much really hit home for me. Can we talk about the fact that I tear up at lost cat posters? Or maybe not. It might make me cry.

 

Watching…

Re-watching New Girl. I needed a sitcom-y palette cleanser. I’ve been tired this week. I loved the early seasons just as much upon re-watching them. I’ve just reached the point where I stopped watching last time because I was starting to feel kind of “meh” about the whole series, so we’ll see how things go from here on out.

 

Listening…

THE NEW JULY TALK ALBUM. Listen to it. Love it. Seriously.

Reading Watching Listening

Reading…

The Unspeakable and Other Subjects of Discussion by Meghan Daum. When I discover a writer I genuinely like, I have a tendency to dig deep into their body of work. My interest in Daum started with a piece in Harper’s Bazaar about choosing not to have kids. Then it was the collection of essays on the same topic, edited by Daum. Next I finally picked up her personal essays. In what is perhaps an illogical or contrary approach, I started wit the most recent collection first. The writing is fantastic. It is easy to see why Daum is lauded as a master of the personal essay. Her unflinching, at times mildly horrifying, honesty in this collection has won me over. It makes me uncomfortable, sometimes, to recognize myself in the essays. But that’s kind of the point. These are things no one wants to talk about, but things we all deal with.

 

Watching…

Law and Order: SVU. I did it. I jumped down the rabbit hole. My well-documented obsession with the Chicago shows, also created by Dick Wolf, means that I have watched a handful of crossover episodes prior to this, but I hadn’t really felt an interest in watching the show beyond this despite consistently being told it was good. And then I did. And I get it. It’s damn good. To be fair, I started with what was on Netflix. I jumped in at season 13. But I love it. Maybe the back catalog is next?

 

Listening…

The Cat Empire. I started listening to them on the advice of a friend. So now I pass this advice on to you. Listen.

Read This

If you know me at all, you know I am a self-professed musical theatre junkie. I even occasionally flirt with the idea of ditching grad school and running away to join Broadway. An impractical life plan if there ever was one, but one that has appealed to me in some way or another for as long as I can remember. As a result, I think about the practicalities of life in musical theatre more than most, and I am particularly interested in the role of age in stage productions. How old is too old to play a role? Could I, creeping up to 30, convincingly play the teenage Natalie in Next to Normal? At what age is an actress, for this does seem to be, as it is in Hollywood, a larger concern for women than for men, relegated to “mother” roles?

Since I think about this so much, I was thrilled to come across Melissa Errico’s article in the New York Times Theater section, “I’m 46. Is That Too Old to Play the Ingénue?” The piece is witty, well-written, and thought-provoking. I so wish I could go and see Errico’s new take on Sharon. As always, the first bit follows and the “keep reading” link will take you to the rest on the original site.

The ingénue police are at my door.

Is this Melissa Errico? The actress? Do you understand that Sharon in “Finian’s Rainbow” should be around 27 years old? Would you please come with us? 

Then I wake up.

Sleeping actors are known to forget their lines, or what play they are in, or where their pants have gone. When I was offered the chance to perk up my curly curls and scrub up my Irish brogue to portray the fairylike Sharon McLonergan in a coming Off Broadway revival of the musical “Finian’s Rainbow,” this version of the actor’s dream crept into my subconscious and made plain thoughts I was already thinking: At age 46, when does an ingénue hang up her ponytail? When is it time to stop dancing with leprechauns?

 

[…KEEP READING…]

Reading Watching Listening

Reading…

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. It has been many many years since I first read this novel. It keeps popping up in my online readings and real life discussions, though, so I thought perhaps it was time to break it back out. In my opinion, it has one of the all-time greatest opening sentences: “It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York.”

 

Watching…

Chicago Med. I caved. I’m watching it. I don’t know if I am as invested as I am in Fire and PD, but give me a couple more episodes and I may just be there.

 

Listening…

“Jolene” by Dolly Parton. And also the cover by The Little Willies. Because this song will forever be great, and this is hands down my favourite cover.

Read This

Required Reading. Sometimes, for no reason at all, a poem will loudly announce its arrival in my brain. Often this poem is “The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock.” I have loved this poem since my first encounter with it in high school, so I never much mind its arrival in the midst of my daily life. It is also one of those poems that I associate with a particular person, so being reminded of a dear friend is a nice bonus whenever I think about this poem. It’s a long one, so grab a cup of tea and settle in. I promise it’s worth it.

The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock
T.S. Eliot
 
                    S’io credessi che mia risposta fosse
                    a persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
                    questa fiamma staria senza più scosse.
                    Ma per ciò che giammai di questo fondo
                    non tornò vivo alcun, s’i’odo il vero,
                    senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo.
 
Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question…
Oh, do not ask, ‘What is it?’
Let us go and make our visit.
 
In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.
 
The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow some that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes,
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house , and fell asleep.
 
And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.
 
In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.
 
And indeed there will be time
To wonder, ‘Do I dare?’ and, ‘Do I dare?’
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair –
(They will say: ‘How his hair is growing thin!’)
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin –
(They will say: ‘But how his arms and legs are thin!’)
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.
 
For I have known them all already, known them all –
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
          So how should I presume?
 
And I have known the eyes already, known them all –
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
          And how should I presume?
 
And I have known the arms already, known them all –
Arms that are bracelet and white and bare
(But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!)
Is it perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wraps about a shawl.
          And should I then presume?
          And how should I begin?
 
                    –    –    –    –    –
 
Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows?…
 
I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
 
                    –    –    –    –    –
 
And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep … tired … or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet – and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.
 
And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: ‘I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all’ –
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
          Should say: ‘That is not what I meant at all.
          That is not it, at all.’
 
And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor –
And this, and so much more? –
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pilot or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
          ‘That is not it at all,
          That is not what I meant at all.’
 
                    –    –    –    –    –
 
No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell the progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous –
Almost, at times, the Fool.
 
I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
 
Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
 
I do not think that they will sing to me.
 
I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.
 
We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.
 
 
(Eliot, T.S. “The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock.” Collected Poems: 1909-1962. London: Faber and Faber, 2002. 3-9.)

Quoted

Most cynics are really crushed romantics: they’ve been hurt, they’re sensitive, and their cynicism is a shell that’s protecting this tiny, dear part of them that’s still alive.

— Jeff Bridges

Reading Watching Listening

Reading…

An endless selection of at best moderately enjoyable texts for school and work. So nothing I think anyone else needs to check out.

 

Watching…

The Americans. Guys, this show is good. Compelling acting and interesting plot lines.

 

Listening…

Basically the entire Barra MacNeils catalog. But especially The Question which massively informed my musical tastes growing up. I have particular love for “The Ballad of Lucy Jordan” and “She the Ocean”.

The Ballad of Lucy Jordan (how quintessentially mid-90s is this video?)

She the Ocean