jessbennett
I saw this image on Jess Bennett’s Tumblr, thought of Didion’s Where I Was From (which I’ve just re-read), and wondered if the Olivetti she wrote about could possibly be the same model as the one pictured here. And it is:

… I was a year or two out of Berkeley, working for Vogue in New York, and experiencing a yearning for California so raw that night after night, on copy paper filched from my office and the Olivetti Lettera 22 I had bought in high school with the money I made stringing for The Sacramento Union (“Big mistake buying Italian,” my father had advised, “as you’ll discover the first time you need a part replaced”), I sat on one of my apartment’s two chairs and set the Olivetti on the other and wrote myself a California river.

I saw this image on Jess Bennett’s Tumblr, thought of Didion’s Where I Was From (which I’ve just re-read), and wondered if the Olivetti she wrote about could possibly be the same model as the one pictured here. And it is:

… I was a year or two out of Berkeley, working for Vogue in New York, and experiencing a yearning for California so raw that night after night, on copy paper filched from my office and the Olivetti Lettera 22 I had bought in high school with the money I made stringing for The Sacramento Union (“Big mistake buying Italian,” my father had advised, “as you’ll discover the first time you need a part replaced”), I sat on one of my apartment’s two chairs and set the Olivetti on the other and wrote myself a California river.

Ellen Forney will be at Seattle’s Central Library tonight, reading from her new graphic memoir, Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me. 
Her work has a hold on me that has everything to do with the photo above. It’s from 2008. I emailed her after shooting it:

I learned of your work through the podcast you did with Jen Graves. Right around that time, I was photographing in Georgetown and saw a poster at (or near) Fantagraphics, promoting an appearance. Somehow the podcast and that one poster made a strong enough impression that today I recognized the torn-up remains of one of your posters. Remarkably (and here’s the part I hope you’ll take pride in, rather than focusing on someone having torn one of your posters) this fragment of your art was still so compelling that I left my car, took out my camera, and spent five minutes shooting. I had a great time.

Ellen Forney will be at Seattle’s Central Library tonight, reading from her new graphic memoir, Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me

Her work has a hold on me that has everything to do with the photo above. It’s from 2008. I emailed her after shooting it:

I learned of your work through the podcast you did with Jen Graves. Right around that time, I was photographing in Georgetown and saw a poster at (or near) Fantagraphics, promoting an appearance. Somehow the podcast and that one poster made a strong enough impression that today I recognized the torn-up remains of one of your posters. Remarkably (and here’s the part I hope you’ll take pride in, rather than focusing on someone having torn one of your posters) this fragment of your art was still so compelling that I left my car, took out my camera, and spent five minutes shooting. I had a great time.

fathers and vanished sons

Here’s the passage of Michael Chabon’s Telegraph Avenue that made me tweet this and get the deep and near-instant satisfaction of this:

"Distractions."

"Yeah."

"Getting off your main focus."

"That’s right."

"Which is what, again?"

"Huh," Archy said. "Hey, Mr. Jones? What’s wrong?"

Mr. Jones was up and out of his chair. He reached up a hand to Fifty-Eight, and the bird sidled up the gangplank to its inveterate perch.

"Mr. Jones, what did I say? Why you leaving? I’m not quite done, but I’m almost."

"Just bring it to the gig," Mr. Jones said. "It don’t work, fuck it."

He started toward the back of the van, wanting—or feeling that at the very least he ought—to tell Archy about Lasalle, born and died April 14, 1966. Tell him about the two hours and seventeen minutes’ worth of the pride and the joy that Archy had been squandering for fourteen years. He went to the Econoline, slammed the doors on the empty cargo bay. Mr. Jones helped the bird onto the headrest of the driver’s seat, where he liked to ride, clutching the shoulder belt with one claw to keep its balance.

"Maybe you need to start trying to focus on the distractions instead," Mr. Jones said. "Maybe then they wouldn’t be so distracting."

"Mr. Jones! Hey, come one, now. What’d I say?"

Mr. Jones got into the van, started the engine. Even over the slobbering of its three-hundred-horsepower V8 Windsor, he could hear Archy repeating uselessly, “Mr. Jones, I’m sorry.”

If the author once winked during this accumulation of preposterous particulars, it would all turn flimsy and come tumbling down. But White never forgets that he is telling about serious matters: the overcoming of a handicap, and the joys of music, and the need for creatures to find a mate, and the survival of a beautiful species of swan.

- from John Updike’s 1970 review of The Trumpet of the Swan

It takes restraint for me to post anything about E.B. White without linking to my 2010 post with White’s quote about how “It takes more than a genius to keep me reading a book.” At this hour, I have no restraint. So here it is.

These debates likely never would have occurred had it not been for the press’s willingness to parrot quack claims under the guise of reporting on citizen concerns. In this instance, anti-flouridationists fixated on the dangers of fluorine, a poisonous gas that is among the most chemically reactive of all elements. What we know as “fluoride” does not contain fluorine gas—it’s made up of some combination of sodium fluoride, sodium aluminum fluoride, and calcium fluoride. Equating the two is like accusing Joe the Plumber of being a murderous dictator because he shares a first name with Joseph Stalin, or claiming Joseph Stalin must be a brilliant writer due to the skill of Joseph Conrad. That parallel is not as tenuous as it sounds: Sodium fluoride is used to strengthen teeth, sodium chloride is table salt, and chlorine is a poisonous gas that was used by Germany in World War I.
- Seth Mnookin explains things in The Panic Virus

turn to page 19 for the book's first sentence

  • Salon.com: "The Marriage Plot" opens much more simply and directly: "To start with, look at all the books."
  • Eugenides: Yes, with "The Marriage Plot," it's different. Because the first sentence of that book I arrived at in the same circuitous fashion as "Middlesex" — but the first sentence of this book is really on Page 19.
  • Salon.com: This one: "Madeleine's love troubles had begun at a time when the French theory she was reading deconstructed the very notion of love."
  • Eugenides: Yes, that's really where the book began for me and I understood what it was about.