A tribute to baby’s first lessons in queer theory

November 20, 2013 Comments Off on A tribute to baby’s first lessons in queer theory

Charlotte Zolotow died yesterday at age 98. (Honestly, I am not intending to turn my blog into an obits column, but I read the obituaries daily and frequently I’m reminded of how life is composed of the labor, stories, and art created by others.)
bookcover
For anyone who grew up on Free To Be… You and Me, you know that William Wants a Doll was major for learning to deconstruct gender norms and to break out of rigid boxes at an early age. William Wants a Doll was a song inspired by the story, William’s Doll, written by Charlotte Zolotow and published in 1972. I was born seven years later and never knew a world without William’s Doll. Now I know I have Charlotte Zolotow to thank (and my mom for playing the Free to Be record throughout my early years).

I love what Charlotte Zolotow said about children and grown-ups: “We are all the same, except that adults have found ways to buffer themselves against the full-blown intensity of a child’s emotions.”

She added, “We are not different from the children we were — only more experienced, better able to disguise our feelings from others, if not ourselves.”

Although we carry many of her books in the library where I work, Zolotow was not known to me until I read her obituary. Thank you for creating and leading a quiet revolution.

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Locally grown

January 8, 2012 Comments Off on Locally grown


Nukah’s officially been initiated into Brooklyn living after his first train ride ever, from Park Slope to Williamsburg on the G. He seemed to take to it like a pro: never staring too long at other passengers, stretching out across the seats, and generally appearing bored with the whole thing.

As we roll into week 37, here’s what’s happening on the media front:

Reading: Skippy Dies by Paul Murray and Eight Mortal Ladies Possessed by Tennessee Williams
Reading aloud at work: Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar, Duck on a Bike by David Shannon, and Milo’s Hat Trick by Jon Agee
Watching and loving: Kaddish For Uncle Manny, the best Northern Exposure episode, and the excellent film, A Separation
Listening to: The Books’ album, Lost and Safe

Bedtime story

September 16, 2011 Comments Off on Bedtime story


Yesterday evening, I had another This-Is-Why-I-Love-New-York experience. Anders Nilsen visited 192 Books to talk about his work. I’ve been a fan of his comics for a long time and since he published his newest collection, which was written up in the New York Times Book Review, he’s been getting a lot of attention. Currently, he’s touring and made a pit-stop at the bookstore where I’ve had the opportunity to hear three of my favorite authors read (along with Anders, Debbie Eisenberg and Tobias Wolff). The weather turned chilly after a rain shower and the wind picked up, which made it even more perfect to snuggle into a book talk in a cozy, quiet space. There were only a few people who braved the cold, which made the evening feel more like an intimate conversation than a lecture. Anders read several small sections from his book and I felt the comfort of childhood, a reading before bedtime.

She sparkles and shines, presenting Ms. Davis.

August 18, 2011 Comments Off on She sparkles and shines, presenting Ms. Davis.


My latest interview with Vanessa Davis is now online here.

Mish(igas) Mash

July 8, 2011 Comments Off on Mish(igas) Mash

Some of the things I’ve been thinking about this week:

Is it wrong for an elementary school librarian to have never read nor be interested in reading the Harry Potter series? I am helping little kids choose library books, but have a private aversion to all things Harry Potter. So far, I’ve gotten away with this. I can’t imagine the day I give in and crack the spine on the first book, but what if the kids consider me a fraud? Shouldn’t I join in on the “fun”? Is my heart so hardened to simple pleasures?

Yesterday, I left the house and smelled cat pee trailing me. When I got to the train station, I opened my bag and noticed that the first page of The New Yorker was soaked with Nancy’s pee. The train was pulling into the station, and I managed to tear off the front page before stepping on board. I looked down at my double issue and realized the entire magazine was soaked in her urine. I rolled it into a scroll and stuffed it into my bag, but the smell wouldn’t dissipate. All the way to the end of the line at Eighth Avenue, I reeked. As soon as I got there, I emptied the contents of my bag and threw everything, including the bag, into the trash. For the first time ever, I was that woman on a crowded train, who smells like cat pee. This will be the last time.

On Monday, the name “Cy Twombly” popped into my head and I asked Joe who he was. Joe said he was an artist and I said, as far as I knew, I never had seen his work, but what a funny name. The next day, I was on The New York Times homepage, and the main article was about how Cy Twombly had died that morning, Tuesday. Does this mean anything? Depends who you ask. My parents are collectors of coincidences, but I am a skeptic. Our dialogue on the subject of “What are the chances?” has been going on for a very long time. The question remains: what made Cy Twombly’s name appear behind my eyes?

In the world of smaller coincidences, I was reading an article about the backlash from one woman’s essay about her experience healing from PTSD through the use of violent sex. I decided to read the excellent article and as I began to read it, I saw that my favorite therapist, the life-changing Meredith Broome featured prominently. You can see the article here, but be warned that the author’s experience is very intense and upsetting.

Because we’re somewhat broke, Joe and I have stopped going to see films unless they are dirt cheap or free. Last night, we had the opportunity to see Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives for free at the Rerun Gastropub Theater in Dumbo. It had been years since either of us visited Dumbo and I imagine we won’t be back for a long time. The movie is brilliant, will stay with me, and challenged me in a way that only really well conceived films do. But the theater was as uncomfortable as Angelika Film Center and more difficult to read subtitles over the heads of the people in front of me. There’s a limit to what I’ll do to see a free film and I think I found my boundary. I loved the film, but I can’t appreciate spending half the time stretching and craning my neck to see the screen. And Dumbo is just plain goofy, it feels like an unconvincing movie set of Brooklyn. Where’s the soul?

I’m looking forward to fish tacos and a strawberry cream dessert at Kerry’s tonight. Finally, it’s going to be a very low-key weekend. There are so many projects to do around the house. I want to get in touch with my boring self this weekend.

A day of decadence

June 19, 2011 Comments Off on A day of decadence


Sunday roundup:
Alexander McQueen at the Met with Joe and Veronica
Followed by chocolate desserts at Cafe Sabarsky
Ending with a Book Swap at Public Assembly

And a very Happy Father’s Day to my old man!

Suddenly, there I was.

May 5, 2011 Comments Off on Suddenly, there I was.

Joe and I stumbled upon an inspiring evening at The Strand: Daniel Clowes spoke (with Chip Kidd) about his new book, Mister Wonderful. Clowes found a forever-home in my heart when I first discovered Ghost World. He’s never let me down. After my latest nonlinear, but long creative slump, listening to Clowes was reinvigorating; I’m ready to get back into my writing, the graphic novel, and the unhatched. One of the best things about living in New York is accidentally ending up at the exact place where I need to be.

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