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8 Aug

Cupcake. by Me

Inspired by the American artist, Wayne Thiebaud.

His works are rendered in generous impasto, almost seeming to be heaped with color and paint; they literally project from the painting giving dimension to the work. A favorite subject of Thiebaud’s, desserts, look to be topped with actual frosting, suggesting the notion of indulgence and abundance.

© Copyright 2012 hairsprayandhemingway

Great Last Lines in Literature

29 Jul

It’s the last thought… the door closing… the last lines in some of my favorite works of literature.

I think a great last line is strong enough to stand on its own, to provoke thought even without the support of the rest of the work. Of course, if you are already familiar with these works, the last line may bring back your own thoughts on these writings, the feeling you may have had as you turned the last page. The last line is the end of the author’s thoughts and the beginning of your own. It inspires the reader to meander with the prose, even after the story ends. 

  • The eyes and the faces all turned themselves toward me, and guiding myself by them, as by a magical thread, I stepped into the room. Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
  • Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody. J. D. Salinger The Catcher in the Rye
  • He was soon borne away by the waves and lost in darkness and distance. Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
  • I shall never again think that all tramps are drunken scoundrels, nor expect a beggar to be grateful when I give him a penny, nor be surprised if men out of work lack energy, nor subscribe to the Salvation Army, nor pawn my clothes, nor refuse a handbill, nor enjoy a meal at a smart restaurant. That is a beginning. George Orwell, Down and Out in Paris and London
  • “Yes,” I said. “Isn’t it pretty to think so?” Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises
  • And when he had lived long, and was borne to his grave a hoary corpse, followed by Faith, an aged woman, and children and grandchildren, a goodly procession, besides neighbors not a few, they carved no hopeful verse upon his tombstone, for his dying hour was gloom. Nathaniel Hawthorne, Young Goodman Brown
  • Ah, Bartleby! Ah, humanity! Herman Melville, Bartleby, The Scrivener 
  • When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease–of joy that kills. Kate Chopin, The Story of an Hour
  • Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger. James Joyce, Araby
  • I cannot cry. I cannot care. That thing will come back no more. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Winter Dreams
  • He went on down the hill, toward the dark woods within which the liquid silver voices of the birds called unceasing–the rapid and urgent beating of the urgent and quiring heart of the late spring night. He did not look back. William Faulkner, Barn Burning 
  • She kept watching him even when she was through cutting the onions and she kept on watching until it was no longer possible for her to see him, because then he  was no longer an annoyance in her life but an imaginary dot on the horizon of the sea. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings
  • They all watched me dance with my grandmother. I was my grandmother, dancing. Sherman Alexie, What You Pawn I Will Redeem
  • A State which bore this kind of fruit, and suffered it to drop off as fast as it ripened, would prepare the way for a still more perfect and glorious State, which also I have imagined, but not yet anywhere seen. Henry David Thoreau, Walden
  • I am thinking of aurochs and angels, the secret of durable pigments, prophetic sonnets, the refuge of art. And this is the only immortality you and I may share, my Lolita. Vladamir Nabokov, Lolita
  • Yes, she thought, laying down her brush in extreme fatigue, I have had my vision. Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse

The End

P.S. What’s your favorite last line?

© Copyright 2012 hairsprayandhemingway

Merge Left for Marriage

18 Jul

Photo by Anthony Delgado

At what age do we become real grown-ups? Is there an invisible boundary between twenty-four and twenty-five that activates the marriage and mother gene? If so, was I absent that day?

It seems everywhere I look; I am surrounded by Bugaboo strollers and blinded by bright, shiny engagement rings. The really strange part about it is I know some of these strollees and diamond slinging offenders. It’s as if I woke up and suddenly there is this Domesticity Partition separating the marrieds from unmarrieds, the yes-I-want-kids from the yes-I-want-to-travels.

My best friend and engaged traitor, Shayla, has been moved over the Partition, and now attends grown-up soirees for New Years and receives fancy thousand dollar plates as engagement gifts. As a sort of a UN peace ambassador between the two sides, Shayla gracefully balances between her life affianced and her friendship with me, student and poor person.

“But tell me this” I asked her over the phone, “when did it become normal to talk about diapers and poop for hours? No one bats an eyelash! They just keep talking and talking about puke and poop as if it’s the most natural thing in the world”

“Well, no one wants to hear about your child’s poop. They should know that. They probably were never very interesting to begin with” she told me.

“But it’s true! People that are only four years older than me have these completely alien lives, they have kids and husbands and I can’t even pay my phone bill on time”.

It was then that she went into a long story about her favorite aunt and uncle who had it all. They traveled, had kids, and retained their ability to relate to people without kids. But it just seemed so distant to what I had experienced, like a sort of fairy tale ending. She popped out a kid, went back to work, and then they traveled the globe. The End. No poop.

I told her about how earlier that day, I leaned over the balcony in the mall that overlooks the kids play area. The loop of multi-colored plastic couches were crowded with moms watching their children slide through tubes and jump into a sea of red, yellow, and green plastic spheres. The women were all probably a few years older than me, but no more than five or ten years. As I watched them sip their four dollar lattes and smooth the imaginary wrinkles from their perfectly coordinated track suits, I wondered, am I the strange one?

What happened to making a friend in the sandbox when you were five or later proclaiming lifelong friendships over too many beers? Are those days over, to be filed away with old yearbooks and Hanson CDs?

“Yes, you are weird” she said. “You call breast implants enlarged mammary glands; you’re weird. But I promise, when I have kids, I won’t talk about their poop. I’ll probably want to forget that I ever cleaned it anyway.”

That’s what I love about Shayla, no matter how far we get from our 18 and 22 year old selves, we’ll always be kindred, even if she does enjoy doing laundry and I haven’t had my car washed in two months.

So with that, I resign peacefully to my half of the partition with the comfort of knowing that maybe we don’t have to pick a side.

© Copyright 2012 hairsprayandhemingway

Thoughts from the Makeup Chair

16 Jul

“The optimist sees the donut, the pessimist sees the hole.”

― Oscar Wilde

Artist Wayne Thiebaud’s work Cupcakes and Donuts

One of the difficult paradoxes of being educated is the realization of how little you actually know. On the first day of my second year of college, a professor of mine divulged an interesting study conducted at UC Berkeley. They monitored the self-esteem of a group of admitted freshman throughout their collegiate career. Upon admittance, the students all displayed exceptionally high confidence, pride, and self-regard. However, during sophomore and junior years students nearly universally displayed an increase in insecurity and the measureable data indicating self-esteem dramatically slumped only to return upon graduation.

I can personally attest to this slump in confidence. Perhaps it’s the onset of a quarter-life-crisis or maybe it’s the uncomfortable widening of self-awareness, the knowledge that the world is just a wee larger than my little Jessica biome. It’s a little scary. What is it about knowledge and exploration that elicits such a frightening effect?

On Saturday, one of my co-workers called me saying that she had had a 12-hr nose bleed and had to go to the E.R. When our manager arrived to relieve her, a very irritated man greeted her at the door, wishing to procure a refund for a liter of body wash and shampoo that failed to meet his expectations. It came to pass that the man had purchased his products in an area with differing sales tax to our own, shorting his refund by $1.38. Infuriated, he hurled insults at our manager while all the while my co-worker stood next to him, soaked bloody towels pressed to her face, waiting to be taken to the hospital.

This seems to me, anecdotal evidence that supports UC Berkeley’s study. This man’s ignorance has clearly reduced his awareness to only himself, arming him with a surreal quality of angry self-confidence and inflated self-worth that enabled him to prioritize his $1.38 refund over a clear emergency happening three feet away.

I heard once, the more time you spend by yourself, the crazier you become. I think that’s because you lose perspective. Much like the hoarders that we all quickly click past on TV, people become buried in their own garbage. But for some, perhaps its mental garbage. Thoughts or ideas that without the ability to be placed in the context of global reality become personal truths, however far off they may be.

Maybe, we can all learn a lesson on perspective from the angry-tax-man who spent a little too much time home alone…

© Copyright 2012 hairsprayandhemingway

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