an excerpt from

The DNA of Storytelling: Making the Case for Messy Family Books

Tracey Lange on the Complicated, Raw Emotional Chaos of Familial Histories

By Tracey Lange

“Many years ago my husband Fred, primarily a financial news and nonfiction reader, was heading off on a work trip and decided to take along one of my favorite novels of all time, I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb. He knew how important the book was to me and decided to finally see what all my hype was about, despite the daunting 897 pages. As soon as his plane landed at his destination I called to ask what he thought of it so far. In a slightly irritated tone, he explained he couldn’t answer that yet because he had to put the book down mid-flight. Otherwise he feared he’d start crying in front of the other passengers, which he preferred not to do. He also asked, with sheer wonder in his voice, why I would seek out—never mind recommend—a book that was so full of heartache.

It’s a fair question. What drives some of us to read books that put us through an emotional wringer? Sure, storytelling is part of our DNA; humans have found educational and entertainment value in stories since cave drawings. But Fred has always questioned why I choose to read and write this kind of story, the kind that causes the reader significant anguish on a character’s behalf. And he’s not alone; many people refrain from such books because the psychological toll is just too high. Yet novels and memoirs about messy, complicated families have only become more popular over time.

I believe this is because stories are about conflict, and our families are often the source of some of the greatest conflict in our lives. What motivates some of us to dive into these often agonizing books is likely the same thing that prompts others to steer clear: they lead us to explore the good, the bad, and the ugly in ourselves and our relationships. And this is painful at times. But, I would argue to Fred, by examining ourselves and our family dynamics we not only avoid repeating painful history, but with greater understanding comes forgiveness, and the opportunity for redemption….”

excerpt from: The DNA of Storytelling: Making the Case for Messy Family Books
Tracey Lange on the Complicated, Raw Emotional Chaos of Familial Histories

By Tracey Lange

August 4, 2021

excerpt:

“…The Fitzgeralds madly swapped letters that carefully articulated all the particular strains of their charmed lives. And in these letters, they contemplated their tonics: for Zelda, it was beauty and perfume; for Scott, writing and gin (but never at the same time: “My work is done on coffee, coffee, and more coffee, never on alcohol,” he wrote in a letter in 1930).

With Scott in California, Zelda nudged him toward the border for bottles of Babani or Rosine: “either is cheap in Mexico.” When he sent her a bottle of contraband Salut, she proclaimed it “such amazingly adequate, and so sensorily gratifying a perfume that I wanted more of it.”

Zelda once told a newspaper that “having things, objects make a woman happy. The right kind of perfume, the smart pair of shoes. They are great comforts to the feminine soul.”

But in her fiction, perfume is less comfort and soul than it is a signal of social climbing. In her novel, Save Me the Waltz, her characters sit in a porch swing and attempt to delineate the fragrances of the garden … honeysuckle, star jasmine, cut hay… “‘It’s my perfume,’ said Alabama impatiently, ‘and it cost six dollars an ounce.’” In her short story, “Poor Working Girl,” the title character considers “all the refinement to be bought with seventy-five dollars: twenty-five dollar dresses and the ten-dollar perfume.” In another, “The Original Follies Girl,” a character “reeked of a lemony perfume and Bacardi cocktails.”…

excerpt from : A Brief Survey of Famous Authors and Their Favorite Cocktails (and Colognes!)
Timothy Schaffert Considers the Fitzgeralds, Truman Capote, Josephine Baker, and More
VIA DOUBLEDAY BOOKS
By Timothy Schaffert

August 3, 2021

the addictive podcast for the weekend

Shon speaks with a 73 year-old who travelled across America living with the Amish, the Baha’i and Church of Scientology in a quest to better understand their gender identity.

traveling through time and cultures…

gender, the brain, neuroscience…fascinating.

the beauty of the ancient world

love this. what a voyage!

see it here on pinterest. Looks like it could possibly be by James Christensen, but it wasn’t cited.

humanity. celebrate it.

its what we are. all of us.

a lamp made from the ruins

Art Prints

ruins are everywhere.

they are the past. this is their future.

the present is tomorrow’s ruins.

A lamp made from ancient fragments of fresco painting, baked clay and stone pigments.

moments of the past preserved through time

suzy valtsioti

withering petals in a surreal garden

Sell Art Online

Two petals began to wither in the surreal garden. One began to disintegrate while the other began to burn.

One turned back to dust, the other turned to ashes. This was the first step towards life. What looks like destruction and demise is actually rebirth and regeneration.

the continuum

A surreal flower in a surreal garden can only wither surreally.