I’m so smitten with this picture of Arundhati Roy. The NYT profile of her is worth your time, if only for this part:
She had already begun work on her novel when “The Bandit Queen,” a film, based on the life of the female bandit Phoolan Devi, was released. Devi was a low-caste woman who became a famous gang leader and endured gang rape and imprisonment.
Roy was incensed by the way the film portrayed her as a victim whose life was defined by rape instead of rebellion.
“When I saw the film, I was infuriated, partly because I had grown up in Kerala, being taken to these Malayalam films, where in every film — every film — a woman got raped,” Roy said. “For many years, I believed that all women got raped.”
"I wish I’d partied a little less. People always say ‘be true to yourself.’ But that’s misleading, because there are two selves. There’s your short term self, and there’s your long term self. And if you’re only true to your short term self, your long term self slowly decays."
I can’t say that I’ve ever truly partied, but the idea of a short-term self vs. long-term self is really interesting.
There are some men I know who are teaching and writing who are single fathers. But not many. Most of them have these great devoted wives, some version of Vera Nabokov. Writers all need Vera. She famously taught some of his classes. He would say, ‘My assistant will be teaching the next class,’ and, apparently, when Nabokov gave the lectures, he needed notes. When Vera gave the lectures, no notes.
My grandma is the kind of old lady insane that involves having themed rooms: the leopard room, the angel room, the Yorkshire Terrier room.
She also has a huge collection of Shirley Temple dolls, and it was during our many visits to my grandma’s house growing up that I watched and re-watched all of Shirley Temple’s movies and memorized the songs.
So it was with more than a bit of nostalgia that I read Shirley Temple’s obituary this morning…but my nostalgia soon gave way to horror and a case of the heebie jeebies. Here are three paragraphs lifted straight from the obit:
1. In 1932, Shirley was spotted by an agent from Educational Pictures and chosen to appear in “Baby Burlesks,” a series of sexually suggestive one-reel shorts in which children played all the roles. The 4- and 5-year-old children wore fancy adult costumes that ended at the waist. Below the waist, they wore diapers with oversize safety pins.
2. When any of the two dozen children in “Baby Burlesks” misbehaved, they were locked in a windowless sound box with only a block of ice on which to sit.
3. But the little girl was now entering adolescence. On her first visit to MGM, Mrs. Black wrote in her autobiography, the producer Arthur Freed unzipped his trousers and exposed himself to her. Being innocent of male anatomy, she responded by giggling, and he threw her out of his office.
Creating style sheets is the secret to catching small errors. I am obsessed with my style sheets. I keep a word list, a character list, a list of places (fictional and real), a chronology, a general style sheet, a list of hyphenated modifiers, and any other list that helps me keep track of everything. I usually fact check as I go, although when I’m pressed for time I make a list of items to look up later, sometimes after I’ve returned the manuscript to the publisher. In those cases, I send a list of corrections that can be added by the production editor to the first pass. (Ha-ha, if someone else wrote this paragraph, I’d query the repeat of “list” — I used it seven times in five sentences.)