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July, 2012

  1. The Sad-Sads: On Melancholia

    July 31, 2012 by Carley

    It’s a nice day.  I’m writing from the middle of a week-long vacation in San Francisco/Berkeley/Oakland with Matt.  Malka is staying with my mom and step-dad.  It’s so great to visit with friends like Mari L’Esperance, Alex Baker, David Buuck, and Bill Webb.  I’m writing from David’s sun-drenched kitchen with his two dogs, Buster and Polly Jean, nearby.  Later, David says we’ll eat homemade plum compote and ice cream, and I’m honored to be interviewed by Estelle Hallick, co-creator of the lovely and smart blog, I’d Rather Be Reading.  It’s live today and you can enter to win a free copy of The Stalker Chronicles.

    So, I try not to have mom guilt, because I think it’s mostly culturally inscribed, but Malka is having a hard time without us and missing us a lot and I’m missing her, and so there’s that…

    Guilt, I suspect, is a close-cousin to melancholy and I’ve been thinking a lot lately about women and melancholia.  I was lucky enough to see the final 13P production of Sarah Ruhl’s amazing new musical comedy, “Melancholy Play.”  I loved it!!!!!  I don’t know what to say about it yet because it’s complicated and beautiful and weird.  At the center, is the protagonist Tilly, who works at a bank and suffers from a beautiful, alluring melancholia that makes everyone (men and women alike) fall for her, want to be with her, make love to her, etc…but then she gets happy and becomes unbearable and uninteresting.  In the second half of the play she says things like, “I’m so happy I’m just gonna burst” and carries balloons around and rides around on a bicycle.  There’s a wonderful therapist character, Lorenzo, who speaks in a a hilarious psuedo-Italian accent, another character, Frances, who may or may not turn into an almond, and it’s all sung!!!  At its core this play makes me think about what’s possible when we’re sad, and why we make so little room these days for melancholy.  Also, what do we do with our sadness?  When do we acknowledge the little holes in our lives or our difficult feelings?  How can melancholy become a kind of game?  How is it seductive and alluring, a kind of deep-centering force?  Dunno.  But I think the musical has some answers.  Here’s one of Tilly’s arias... (more…)

  2. Okay Insomnia, You Win

    July 2, 2012 by Dan

    Is it insomnia when your daughter wakes you up at 2:30 am to pee and you can’t go back to sleep because you find yourself obsessing about pressing matters like: the very likely possibility that you will paint the walls of your new apartment in startlingly ugly colors because you are drawn to these colors in life and in clothing and you don’t understand that they will look bad on walls, the pathetic nature of your Twitter feed, whether or not there will be any more judicial threats to the future of affordable health care in America (Roberts, you surprised me!), and the fact that you haven’t blogged in a while.

    Sounds like insomnia, doesn’t it?  So I guess it’s also an excuse to write a short blog post.  Sorry to those of you I emailed at 4 am.

    What have I been up to?

    Well, I went on a short upstate New York book tour (see photos) to Buffalo Street Books in Ithaca, New York, Off the Beaten Path in Jamestown, New York and the James Prendergast Library, also in Jamestown.  I went with my wonderful friend Madeleine George, playwright and author of the YAs Looks and The Difference Between You and Me.  Matt and Malka came too.  Our car broke down a lot (twice in one week actually and as I type this it’s newly broken down).   I got to see a lot of old friends and that was my favorite part.  My childhood friend Doris Malarkey came to see me at the library and had plenty of smart things to say about stalking and Facebook.  The backs of our houses faced each other and we used to signal to each other using our porch lights.  Two long blinks meant, I made it home through my fear of the yard at night!!  One short blink meant, Do you want to come over?  I learned how babies are made at Doris’ house and her family let me eat anything I wanted.  She also had the biggest board game collection of anyone I knew.  My first love’s parents came to the library too, Jeffrey and Michele Victor!!  I think I screamed a little when they walked in from the shock of seeing them.  They used to rattle the door of their son’s bedroom while we were making out in there, you know, just to make it more fun.  My grandma, Marilyn Spear, came to see me at Off the Beaten Path.  My mom went to everything (thanks Mom!).  My step-mom came.  I met a dear man named Gary who told me about some of the books he’d like to write, but can’t because his wife thinks they are stupid.  Go Gary!  I saw my friend Sandra Chu from graduate school and met her little daughter Pace, who is now four.  Pace spent the reading quietly coloring.  Impressive.  An excited man in Ithaca asked me, “What would stalking look like in 1950?”  Of course, I made some shit up.  I saw Bill Martin, Catherine Taylor, and Stephen Cope.  I talked so much about Prometheus to Catherine’s son, Emrys, that I think he decided not to see it.  Spoiler alert:  You will not recover from the robot machine stomach surgery scene.  I’m sorry, but you won’t.  This is extra true if you have a uterus.  My mom’s friends Freda, Judy, and Sylvia came to say hello.  Finally, and best of all, actual teenage readers came to hear me read from the book (there was even a teenage boy at the library event).  Yay!!!  Fun!!!