Month: October 2012

Wow, somebody’s going to quote one of my book reviews

Practically every day, my pages Clotel, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl and NVLD get hits.  And now, somebody has written asking for permission to quote “Clotel” in an essay.  Just some stuff I put on Facebook while reading the book, and then collected, is getting recognition.  It fills a writer’s heart with glee.  🙂


Reblog by Linda Holmes: Disposable Friendships in Modern Society; Opposite-Sex Friends (Assumed to be Lovers); Friendship Getting Respect; Friendship Breakups

Amazing how lightly people can take friendships….

A book review about how friendships these days are treated as disposable:
‘Friendkeeping’: The Close Relationships We Could, But Can’t Easily, Let Go

Some quotes:

I realized as I read it that I wasn’t responding only to the book itself — which covers territory like secrets, crisis management, and how much advice to give your friends — but to the mere fact that it was written.

It was taking seriously something, namely adult friendships, that often turns into the wallpaper of cultural life: something that’s there, and that’s lovely, and that ideally you don’t have to think about, but not something that you would delve into deeply. Not something you attend to specifically.

In a way, this theory reminds me of what we talked about here earlier this week: that the very compelling fragility of friendships comes from the fact that there’s such a low barrier to exit. You don’t have to work on anything if you don’t want to.

Indeed, Klam says when she wrote the book proposal, she realized that in theory, there were easy answers to all the hard questions she had about friends. “You could possibly write every question that I posed and answer it: ‘Well, just don’t be friends with them anymore.’ ‘If you don’t like their spouse, don’t hang out with them.’ So there was less of a sort of [concern for] how to work through things … just because you know you really can walk away.”

From the same blogger who wrote the review:

Building a show around friends has some structural advantages; friendships are precious specifically because they are fragile. You’re not bound to these people by law or by blood (in most cases), and you don’t share a home with them or share your stuff with them (again, in most cases).

You have to keep choosing them every day, and on any given day, you could just … not choose them, and that would be that.

I once had a friend very tentatively, in hushed tones, acknowledge that there is a way — one particular dimension, one kind of sense of intimacy — in which your closest friends are closer than family, and I think that’s what was meant.

You don’t have to file anything to dump your friends; the barriers to exit, you might say, are very low. Your mom is supposed to like you; your friends just do. —You’ve got to have friends: how curated families shook up tv comedy

As for opposite-sex friendships as shown on TV:

Heaven knows, I’m a rom-com person. I’m an appreciator of the slow burn as much as anyone.

Still, not every close bond is a precursor to something entirely other than itself. I admit that I’m an outlier — I badly wanted Friends not to get Ross and Rachel together at the end, since they were obviously going to make each other miserable as they had so many times before. But I don’t like the romantification of every important relationship in the known universe. —Sometimes a friend is just a cigar: why not everybody needs to kiss at the end

She may be talking about TV, but it also applies to how people often see opposite-sex friendships: as somehow necessarily being about sex.

Which is really frustrating and sexist, because then you can’t even talk about how much you care about your opposite-sex friend without everyone on the forum going, “OMG you want to have an affair and should ditch that friend!”

Um, considering how many guy friends I have and care about, you must think I’m a promiscuous ho bag.  I mean, sure, I love to flirt with my guy friends, but that’s all it ever is: a little joke between friends, nothing serious.

It’s extremely annoying to have to add some version of “I mean as friends” when I talk about Richard, because so many people (including Tracy) have made it into something it’s not, that I feel the need to do so.  Let’s get with the 21st century, people!

People say “best friend” because it recognizes what you might call, for lack of a less academic-sounding garble, “platonic intimacy.” It says, “This is a person who is not like normal, ordinary friends, but who is the ‘I would drive anywhere at two in the morning for you without complaining’ kind of friend.”

Or, in the case of Pam Ribon’s book You Take It From Here, which is a wonderful look at a relationship like this, the “I would manage your life in the event of your death” kind of friend.

One of the reasons Bridesmaids was so affecting was that it really honored how important those relationships are and how painful it is when they’re jeopardized.

It was great to see Kristen Wiig play the fact that you can feel just as devastated, just as undone and disoriented, by losing friends as by losing boyfriends.

Breakups are common dramatic fare, but as I recently talked about on our podcast, the saddest breakup on My So-Called Life, after all, was Angela and Rayanne. —Best Friends and Broken Hearts


I finally got myself a three-bar cross: My Orthodox conversion is complete! ;) (convertitis)

I got one of these a few months ago: [link no longer works; was a three-bar cross]

…Because, until I got that three-barred cross, my other crosses just didn’t seem “Orthodox” enough.  And goodness knows, if you want to convert to Orthodoxy, it’s gotta be all the way, right?

As a friend of mine at church, a college guy converting to Orthodoxy, said, “Like cell phones, the more bars, the better!”

Must have the icon corner with 50 icons…Must have the headscarf….Must have every Orthodox book the other converts have and claim to have read….Must dress like a 19th-century Russian peasant and wear a long, scraggly beard (assuming you’re a man, that is)….Must get upset that the people at church (Orthodox since birth) don’t do it “right,” the priest dresses too Catholic, there’s an organ and pews, nobody fasts beyond cutting out meat during the 10,000 Lenten days of the year–is outrage!

And must subscribe to Hyperdox Herman on Facebook!  Oh, wait, that page makes fun of people with Orthodox convertitis.  Heresy!  Is outrage!

And yes, since it can be hard to get this across on the Net, this is tongue-in-cheek.  🙂

Parent-Teacher Conference: Our Kid’s a “Crazy Inventor”

Just got back from a parent-teacher conference.  Geez, our kid is brilliant.  He’s in third grade now; scoring at the top at everything; behaving; getting along well with other kids; sweet; and the teacher occasionally asks him if he’ll be a crazy inventor when he grows up, because he’s inventive.

I can just see it now….With that hair always in cowlicks because he forgets to brush it, his Gen-X parents into stuff like goth, steampunk, D&D and unconventional sleep times/schedules–our little boy growing up into one of those begoggled steampunk turn-of-the-century inventors.

Like, say, Jasper Dale on Avonlea, my favorite character on that show, by the way.  Forget his social awkwardness and stutter–Jasper is smart and hot.  (Hey, look, somebody else agrees with me!)

We stopped spanking our son a few years ago, and yet he still is well-behaved for teachers and most other adults.  Every year he gets such praise from his teachers.  His parents were both social misfits (still are), yet he’s doing fine.  How did that happen?  His parents both had “issues” in school, yet he’s doing well.  How did that happen?

And yet, with how well this one’s turning out, we’ve been unable to have more children…..What a frickin’ shame.


%d bloggers like this: