Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Decade's Worth of Random Thoughts

Two days ago, I opened up the little black moleskine I keep in my purse to make a note, and realized I had only one page left. I bought this moleskine just before I left for my junior year abroad . . . almost exactly ten years ago. And it's one of the things, along with my wallet, keys, and a pen, that I always make sure I have with me before leaving the house.

Reaching the end made me stop to think about everything that has happened in life since I first cracked it open: the year studying in England, my first broken heart, graduating from college, moving to NYC to start my career, family dramas, world dramas, friends made and lost, apartment hunting and moving, books read, re-read, loved, recommended, or abandoned, discoveries of all kinds, friends and family members' weddings & babies. Basically, the period of life in which I grew up. It's neat to compare what's written here with the journals I've kept during the last ten years, too. There's a lot of telling in the journals, but the random snippets from the moleskine are just as revealing and memory-triggering. It's full of notes from talks I've gone to, brainstorming for talks I've given, lines from articles or books I like, funny things friends have said, t-shirt ideas, lines of poetry (most of which never became anything more than that), illustrators I like, authors I want to read, shopping lists, and other random thoughts and observations.

Here are just a few:

words I like: chthonic, tiptoe, lamppost, unfurled

the curl of pianist's back

open by chance or appointment

Umberto Eco: "'who dunnit?' is a theological question"

things i don’t have keys to

Ira Glass: "notice the people who won’t go away"

grocery list: milk, butter, eggs, whipping cream, raspberries, dark chocolate

shopping list: shelves, hammock stand, pillows

Friend: “I don’t like worms, but leeches concern me.”

At final Harry Potter book street party at Scholastic:
Woman 1: "So what’s going on here besides the book releasing?"
Woman 2: "Oh, the book releasing. That explains the capes."

How do you share ebooks? If one sibling finishes book and starts another, how do you pass the finished one to other kid?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Why we do what we do

I read Neil Gaiman's Newbery acceptance speech (in the latest Horn Book) over lunch today, and, as Newbery acceptances always do, it made me a little teary. In a good, "wow I'm so overcome with happiness that books mean so much to people and we get to give medals to writers" way.

And this bit from the very end hits poignantly on the sentiment that makes me feel sure that, however much publishing and books may change with the advances of technology, they'll always be needed.

"We who make stories know that we tell lies for a living. But they are good lies that say true things, and we owe it to our readers to build them as best we can. Because somewhere out there is someone who needs that story. Someone who will grow up with a different landscape, who without that story will be a different person. And who with that story may have hope, or wisdom, or kindness, or comfort.
And that is why we write."

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Summer Soundtrack '09

It seems that making mixes is summery thing for me. Here's this year's. Some new bands I've been listening to over the past few months, but also some favorite gems, which I feel are important in any mix.

1. "Be OK" / Ingrid Michaelson
2. "Wake Up" / Arcade Fire
I haven't been able to get it out of my head since the Where the Wild Things Are trailer!
3. "Since U Been Gone" / Ted Leo's cover
4. "Keep Yourself Warm" / Frightened Rabbit
5. "The Ancient Commonsense of Things" / Bishop Allen
6. "Icarus" / Jason Webley
Jason Webley's show earlier this year was one of the best concerts I've been to in years.
7. "Island Garden Song" / The Mountain Goats
8. "Ceremony" / New Order
9. "Billie Jean" / Michael Jackson
I just can't get it out of my head!!!!
10. "Jai Ho" / A. R. Rahman
11. "Wish It Well" / Dead Heart Bloom
12. "Look at Miss Ohio" / Gillian Welch
13. "The Crane Wife 3" / The Decembrists
14. "King of Carrot Flowers Part 1" / Neutral Milk Hotel
15. "King of Carrot Flowers Part 2" / Neutral Milk Hotel
16. "Poses" / Rufus Wainwright
17. "Old Old Fashioned" / Frightened Rabbit
18. "Black Star" / Gillian Welch's cover
19. "Days with You" / Jason Webley with Sxip Shirey
20. "15 Step" / Radiohead
21. "Martha" / Tom Waits
What? It's a good song!