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

Tell Nothing But The Truth

30 Jul

I remember, in first grade, I put a bright yellow sticker on another kid’s art project. I smoothed the happy face the size of a silver dollar right on it. I don’t know why; I just did. I had no idea it would be as big of a deal as it turned out to be: the kid cried, our teacher was furious and the whole class was forced to stay in for recess for a whole week, until someone confessed to the defacement of property. I never said anything. I never got in trouble and it never mattered.

Fast forward. After a difficult transition at work, my supervisor asked me how I feel about her. I stared into her eyes and I told her the truth. Well, the truth did not set me free; if anything, it has sufficiently muddied the waters. My truth effectively offended her and changed the dynamic between us for the foreseeable future.  I could actually see her bristle as my words evaporated into the air. But, I told the truth! Is that still the right thing to do, IS honesty the best policy?

Now, I have ruffled feathers, and for what? For some sort of phantom virtue police? Was I expecting a pat on the back for my directness and authenticity? A trophy in the mail for my sincerity? Well, no one feels better, least of all me.

Who does honesty benefit anyway? Does it ever turn out well for someone to reveal something that is painful? Why do it then? What motivates us to tell the truth? If anything it is the lies that save your ass.

How many times have you told someone they look great when they don’t, told someone you were busy when you weren’t, said you were seeing someone when you definitely weren’t? And who was the worse for it? No one. In fact, it spared feelings and probably helped you skip over a bunch of unneeded drama.

Do we need lies to navigate safely through life? To buffer and soften the blows that can make things complicated? Is lying the adult thing to do?

Maybe as we grow older, candor is replaced by discretion and honesty is no longer appropriated to the public sphere. It’s not that it is necessarily punishable, more like frowned upon. It’s rude, or dramatic, inappropriate, or just plain unnecessary. Telling the truth becomes self-serving. Why tell the truth when you can smooth things over? Don’t rock the boat.

Think about couples that have been married 50+ years, old and gray and still happy… I bet you hear a whole lot of “Yes, Dear” in their house and I’ll bet my right arm it’s not always truthful. Happy wife, happy life. What my husband doesn’t know won’t hurt him. When did we all turn into such liars? And why didn’t I get the memo?

Ever since my omission of the truth in the first grade and an unfortunate situation where I stole a pen from my neighbor in second, I have been relatively honest since. I’m definitely not saying I always am, but for the most part. After I stole the pen, I was forced to return it and apologize. It was probably one of the top 10 worst moments of my life. I felt horrible, tears streamed down my face as I told my neighbor, Larry, what I had done. I relinquished the pen to its rightful owner. I told him I stole his pen because I really liked it and I was very sorry. Of course, he didn’t really care and in retrospect I think he thought it was a little cute. But in the moment, I was completely distraught. The guilt was overwhelming. What did these situations teach me? Lie. Bad. Truth. Good. But does this still hold true? Are there still only the two extremes to choose from? Do the rules change with adulthood?

The truth is, I don’t know. I didn’t know then and I certainly don’t now. I was wrong about the pen and I was wrong at work. Maybe the only thing I was right about was keeping my mouth shut about the sticker. Maybe silence is the new ideal, the middle ground between the truth and the lie. Would the world be a better place if we all just kept all things controversial to ourselves? If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. You know, that whole bit.

Perhaps with adulthood, comes the realization that your personal truth may not be everyone else’s. Not all situations necessitate one’s vocalization of “the truth”. Not everyone needs to know how you feel; it’s OK to keep it to yourself. Did I think my opinion would somehow enact change, trigger an epiphany or be met with applause and a Nobel Prize for my contribution to the world? Well…yeah. Not really all that, but I thought it was important at the time. Turns out, it wasn’t.

With my next day at work only a very short, menacing 36 hours away, I’m dreading facing the music. Walking through the doors and seeing the fall out from my virtuous expression. I’m sure it will be fine; things are never as bad as you think they are. People don’t notice your mistakes as much as you think they do.

But, I do know this, from now on, I’m going to keep my damn truth to myself.

© 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

One Lovely Blog Award

28 Jul

I am thrilled to announce that I have received the One Lovely Blog Award. Thank you, Laura Maisey, for nominating me. I am so excited and honored! I have been following Laura almost as long as I’ve been blogging. She is witty and smart and her writing encompasses the everyday as well as her life as an academic.

The rules require that I reveal 7 things about myself and nominate 15 other blogs for the award. Hopefully I can think of 7 things of interest…

  1. This is my very first Award and my very first blog… 🙂
  2. I want to be a community college professor after I finish my masters/PhD. Where else can one find such a diverse population of people in all stages of life. Kids just out of high school, older folks returning to school, people planning to transfer, people who don’t yet know what they want to do… Amazing.
  3. Sadly, I’ve never been outside of the United States, something I plan to change as soon as I can.
  4. I dabble a little in drawing and painting. I posted one of my paintings, Bubbles and the Sea. It is also my banner for my blog.
  5. I am extremely afraid of bugs.
  6. I am the world’s worst beer pong player. I’m sure I have an award for that coming soon. I’ve played once in my life while camping with my boyfriend and our friends and I couldn’t make a single cup. Not one! We drank a lot of beer that day.
  7. By the time I die, I want to go on an African Safari, see the Amazon, have a croissant and coffee in Paris, and tea in London.

These are my nominees for the One Lovely Blog Award: (Congratulations!)

  1. Truth and Cake is just a fabulous blog; Rian’s writing is both authentic and eloquent. Her exploration of life is always unique, thoughtful, and fun.
  2. Gaudy is a collection of essays, letters, and other works from two Ivy League alumni. Don’t expect anything less than a delightful mixture of hilarity and what they call a “literary cocktail”.
  3. Words Become Superfluous Amb is a seasoned blogger, celebrating her 100th post coming up. Her blog is bright and full of energy. It reads like you’re talking to your best friend. What’s more lovely than that?
  4. Kristen Lamb’s Blog is a wealth of information from a bestselling author. Her blog is the authority on How-To in the world of social media.
  5. Blissful Basil  I was originally drawn to this blog because of the breathtaking photos of her lavender macaroons, but I stayed for the wealth of recipes, restaurant reviews, and because her site is just gorgeous.
  6. Discoveries in a Letterbox Quirky and original, this blog writes a series of letters to everyone and everything you can imagine. Most recently from an antique phone to an iPhone. It’s creative and fresh, a fun read.
  7. findfabulous The musings of a twenty-something on a journey to find fabulous. She was recently Freshly Pressed and for good reason!
  8. Eideard This guy knows everything! He posts 5+ times a day on current events and politics. His stories are interesting, well-researched, and his commentary, especially regarding Republicans, is always funny. Sometimes, it makes me laugh out loud.
  9. bottledworder When I’m in the mood for a short story, I make my way to this blog. He is truly a wordsmith, creative and talented. His most recent series of posts called The Writer is really worth checking out.
  10. the girl with the blog If you want to laugh, read this. She is hilarious! Sarcastic, biting wit is her specialty.
  11. Welcome to The Motherhood I’m not a mother and I can still appreciate this blog. She’s honest and funny. The blog sheds light on what people don’t tell you about motherhood and marriage.
  12. Tales from the Reading Room is described as “a literary salon where all are welcome”. The Reading Room is an intellectual/book person’s paradise exploring literature in every post.
  13. Lesley Carter‘s blog, Bucket List Publications, is just plain inspiring. If you’re feeling some wanderlust or craving some adventure, live a little through Carter’s jaw-dropping experiences.
  14. Fat Girl PhD follows woman in a PhD literature program on her journey to health and weight loss. She is a wonderful resource for health and diet information.
  15. People, Places, and Bling is a guide to shopping in lovely Paris. Wonderful photos and delicious content. If you are a Francophile like myself, this blog is a must read!


Thank you again for my lovely award!

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