discuss amongst yourselves

1

My friend Joanna is having a not-so-great time at the movies. She and her husband walked out of the Indiana Jones flick about forty-five minutes into it*. When I talked to her a few days later she was headed off to see the Sex and the City movie, after which I got this email:

In Sex & The City there was no SEX: just relationships! No STYLE: just fashion!

so I don’t think she was overly impressed with that one either.

* As sheer coincidence would have it, E and I were standing in the lobby with a couple of other people, having just come out of The Strangers. Joanna and I have similar tastes and a shared fascination with each other’s wardrobes (it is an ongoing lament between us that we have such different shoe sizes). She saw me across the crowded lobby but from the angle couldn’t be sure it was actually me until she recognized an item from my closet. “I knew you by your Missoni,” she told me. I replied quite truthfully that no one has ever said that to me before.

2

From Brian McDonald’s Last Call at Elaine’s: A Journey From One Side of the Bar to the Other, a memoir about his years spent, among other things, bartending at the famous literary haunt in New York, where he formed a strong friendship with the formidable Elaine herself:

The first lesson I learned about writing a book is that you spend an awful lot of time alone, and an awful lot of time in your own head. I remember a reporter interviewing Elaine for a piece on her restaurant. My boss was asked her secret about getting along with writers. She wagged a finger about her forehead and said, “You have to know that they’re all up here.” As the book-writing process swallowed me, I realized exactly what Elaine had meant. It’s not only your writing voice, the narrator of your story, or the characters you’re writing about who rent space in your thoughts….[but also] the inner critic and a whole Greek chorus that echoes each negative evaluation. The cross talk of narrator and character, combined with the who do you think you are, Hemingway? voice, causes quite a traffic jam in the cerebral cortex. Add some rpms of ego, broadside that with a truckload of further low self-esteem, throw in a couple of cocktails, and it’s no wonder Elaine uses the international frontal lobotomy sign when she gives her interpretation of a writer’s mind-set.

I suspect some of you can relate.

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