Joan Didion in Los Angeles, 1970.
Photo: A photo of Joan Didion published in The Times on Aug. 2, 1970. Credit: Los Angeles Times
I used to abhor exclamation points, largely because I am not a perky person. I am a person who assumes a day is going to blow until the world convinces me otherwise in the first five minutes by handing me a 16-ounce skim half-caf mocha in bed, which never happens, so you do the math.
So you can imagine my increased usage of exclamation points is extremely disconcerting both for me and for those who are forced to endure my e-mails and texts.
… Picture this: a larger, slightly squished period that’s big enough to see that there’s a half-moon of a smile three quarters of the way down its jolly round body.
She pitched me Marcel Pagnol’s Le Chateau de ma mère. Not only did she love the book, but she is from the south of France and felt very “attachée” and “touchée” by the book’s regionalism. Her eyes shined. I said “Oh, I don’t really feel like taking a book that’s about hunting.” (She hold told me there was a bit of “la chasse” in it and mimed firing a gun.)
Great, great use of Tumblr to visualize a novel.
Subsidized Time is concocted by newly-elected president Johnny Gentle as a way to bring America out of a recession. Inspired by the Chinese Zodiac calendar, Subsidized Time is a way to monetize one of the most ubiquitous things around - the date.
Each year, one of the products is installed in the Statue of Liberty’s torch hand. In the very first year of Subsidized Time, The Year of the Whopper, a giant cast iron hamburger falls from its position and kills one of the men working to install it.
That hand flashing the peace sign in the doorway? Thomas Pynchon’s.
Thomas Pynchon has surfaced in a remarkable book collection and the memories of his lifelong friend Phyllis Gebauer, who shared stories of one of America’s most reclusive writers Wednesday night in Los Angeles.
The only known collection of signed first editions of Pynchon’s works, a gift to the UCLA Extension Writers Program, debuted at an invitation-only event in Westwood. Although the exceedingly private author does not hold public book signings, he sent inscribed copies of each of his books as they were published to Phyllis and Fred Gebauer. The writer and the couple became friends in the early 1960s.
Photo: Phyllis Gebauer, with Claude the pig piñata and Pynchon waving a peace sign from behind the door, in Southern California in 1965. Credit: UCLA Extension.
“Writing is cheap to do. Anyone can say that they’re a writer and fill up pages with words and it looks terrific — you see a nice chunky manuscript and you think, ‘Hey! Who knows what’s in there?’ And then you read it and you think, ‘Oh my God! How can this person think that he or she is a writer?!’ Well, I understand exactly how. In their inner world, it is terrific. But they are not liaising with an outside perspective on whether or not it’s alive.”
— Jennifer Egan, on the horrible book she wrote in her early twenties.
Great interview with Jennifer Egan. I’m trying not to relate too hard to her stories about living in New York and traveling in Europe and Asia and writing shitty things for a very long time because you’re in a vacuum and etc. Thanks to Clare for sending this.