virtualDavis

\ˈvər-chə-wəlˈdā-vəs\ Blogger, storyteller, flâneur. G.G. Davis, Jr's alter ego…
Twitter
@virtualDavis
Facebook
virtualDavis

Fortune Favors the Bold

“Audaces fortuna iuvat.”
(Fortune favors the bold.)
~ Virgil

Thanks to Jose L. Torres-Padilla (author of The Accidental Native) and Cerise Oberman (Distinguished Librarian) for inviting me to read poems from 40×41 to students and faculty at SUNY Plattsburgh last week as part of the Word Thursdays series held in Feinberg Library. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and especially appreciated the opportunity to meet with students after the reading.

Fortune Favors the Bold

Fortune favors the bold… (Virgil & virtualDavis)

In an effort to contextualize poems focused on midlife – probably not the most accessible theme for college students – I recounted a story from my undergraduate years at Georgetown University. I had become involved with The Georgetown Journal, an undergraduate literary and art magazine, and in my infinite wisdom/ignorance/hubris I organized a grand gala with a classmate to celebrate our spring issue. We planned a formal reading and art exhibition in the Intercultural Center followed by a banquet hosted by about a dozen Washington, DC restaurants. We invited writers and artists to participate. We convinced restaurants to donate their delicacies. We sent out press releases and printed elegant invitations with lofty fundraising aspirations. And then we went to the Georgetown University “media board” to ensure seamless cash flow until donations arrived.

No chance. The administrators and faculty on the committee were not happy that we have moved forward without first seeking permission. It hadn’t crossed our minds. Financial assistance was withheld and we were chastised for using the Georgetown University seal on our invitation without permission, but ultimately they let us go ahead.

Underpinning their total lack of support were two problems:

  1. We had proceeded without getting permission.
  2. Sports, not arts, drew crowds at Georgetown.

We were genuinely sorry to have made the first mistake. An act of omission, not commission. Or something. We were young. Eager. Hasty.

But the second problem, effectively the committee’s prophecy that we would fail because our classmates would not be interested in attending an arts and literature gala, rubbed us wrong. We were certain that they underestimated our peers, so we set out to prove them wrong. And we did. The gala was a huge success. For three years we surprised the committee, each year outperforming the previous year. After the first year, they backed us, and by my graduation many members of the committee personally applauded our efforts and offered to write recommendations for us.

That was a long time ago. But the lesson stuck with me. Fortune favors the bold. And this is what I hope the undergraduates too home with them.

Here’s a tidier anecdote that orders the same lesson in a 21st century context that the SUNY Plattsburgh students might relate to better.

Daniel Arnold had $90.03 in his bank account on Thursday when he had a clever idea: Why not sell some photos on Instagram? […] On the eve of his 34th birthday, Arnold didn’t have a clue how he was going to make rent for the following month, so, at midnight, he posted this message on Instagram:

“Hello, I just turned 34 this second. For one day only I am selling 4×6 prints of whatever you want from my Instagram archive for $150 each. I swear I will never sell anything this cheap again. If you’re interested, send a screenshot of the photo(s) of your choice to arnoldaniel@gmail.com (one d) and I will send a paypal invoice, followed by a signed print. Easy peasy. Happy my birthday. I love you”

The response overwhelmed him. Orders poured in. A day later, he’d received nearly $15,000 worth of requests, and collected some $5,000… (Forbes)

Bravo, Daniel Arnold. Fortune favors the bold. Be bold!

12 Years a Slave Wins Oscar

12 Years a Slave (doodle by virtualDavis)

12 Years a Slave (doodle by virtualDavis)

In a triumph long deferred, “12 Years a Slave” won the best picture Oscar at the 86th Academy Awards… “I’d like to thank this amazing story,” said Steve McQueen, the British-born filmmaker… “Everyone deserves not just to survive, but to live…” (NYTimes.com)

The endless Academy Awards ceremony defeated me before I could witness rightful victory, but this morning I awoke to discover the news emblazoned everywhere. 12 Years a Slave Wins Oscar. 12 Years a Slave Wins Oscar!

I was not in the least surprised that 12 Years a Slave took the coveted top trophy. In fact I would have been dismayed if it had been passed over. The storytelling and characters impacted me profoundly and enduringly.

The film is gripping and visceral… unfiltered and unforgiving. McQueen captures slavery in its least sympathetic and most complex iteration I can recall, plunging into it’s insidious, malignant effect, dehumanizing slave, master end every one in between. (I Want to Live: Praise for 12 Years a Slave)

Steve McQueen Does Not Win Oscar

12 Years a Slave wins Oscar, but the film’s Director does not. There’s inevitably some debate over whether or not Director Steve McQueen deserved to win Best Director which was instead awarded to Alfonso Cuarón for Gravity. I don’t know. There’s no question in my mind that 12 Years a Slave was a superior film, but how much of that credit is owed the director is an assessment that exceeds my knowledge or opinion.

Chiwetel Ejiofor Does Not Win Oscar

I am disappointed that Chiwetel Ejiofor did not receive and Oscar for Best Actor in a leading role for his riveting portrayal of Solomon Northup. Matthew McConaughey was excellent in Dallas Buyers Club, but Ejiofor transcended mere excellence. He embodied a character, an historic figure and history itself in a was that will remain etched into the psyche of everyone who watches the film. See why the Academy doesn’t ask me to weigh in? ;-)

Lupita Nyong’o Wins Oscar!

My disappointment that Chiwetel Ejiofor did not win an Oscar is partly tempered by the fact that Lupita Nyong’o won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She was outstanding, and she deserved to win. I can’t wait to see what film she transforms next.

 

Rabbit, Rabbit: Welcome to March

Rabbit, Rabbit: from doodle to superstition

Rabbit, Rabbit: from doodle to superstition

Rabbit, rabbit. I hope that March brings you plenty of good fortune.

Rabbit, rabbit? What?!?!

Growing up learned to say “Rabbit, rabbit,” first thing on the first day of each month for good luck. Before, “Good morning.” Or, “I’ll be right there…” If we could remember to say “Rabbit, rabbit” before we uttered anything else we could expect plenty of luck for a month.

It was easy to forget. It still is. But I still try to say it. And this morning, for the first time in quite a while, I remembered.

Odd Habits & Good Luck

I’ve acknowledge elsewhere that I grew up with an unusual menagerie of habits and superstitions.

We celebrated all sorts of holidays that my friends did not. Christmas, yes. But also Epiphany (Three Kings Day) and another near-to-Christmas night when we placed our shoes at the top of the stairs and St. Nick (I think) came and filled them with treats. Pistachios. Chocolates. Silver dollars.

Year round, while going to bed, we observed a few of the normal soporific mutterings like, “Night, night. Don’t let the bedbugs bite.” But we also had another odd pre-sleep utterance: “If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride.” Why? No clue. But we said it. Sometimes I still do. Pity my perplexed but accepting bride.

There were other oddities too, in some cases a bit more embarrassing, like the fact that I grew up referring to a woman’s breasts as “boogens”. Why? No clue. Middle school locker room braggadocio quickly exposed my peculiarity.

I long assumed that our top o’the month “Rabbit, rabbit” was a similar entre nous oddity. Wrong. It turns out “Rabbit, rabbit” isn’t just a curious family tradition. It’s a curious [likely] British tradition that seems to have colonized most of the English speaking world like tennis, gin and preposterously poor second language skills.

Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbits…

NPR’s Rachel Martin interviewed Martha Barnette (host of A Way with Words) on December 01, 2013:

MARTIN: This is the hard thing, right? Like, you’re supposed to wake up first thing and the first thing out of your mouth on the first day of the month has to be rabbit, rabbit. And then you’re lucky for the rest of the month?
BARNETTE: Exactly, yes. That ensures luck. And we don’t know why, you know, rabbits have been associated with luck of one sort or another – usually good luck – for more than 2,000 years. But it’s only in the early 1900s that we see written references to this superstition. (NPR)

According to the collective wisdom of Wikipedia, the origins of the “Rabbit, rabbit” tradition are British and showed up early in the 20th century. Not much additional clarity is offered but a few interesting references are dished up for you curiosity.

Mad as a March Hare?

The White Rabbit

The White Rabbit (Wikipedia)

Update: A couple of quick quips from readers raise the inevitable question, “Have I gone as mad as a March hare?” From rabbits to boogens to an unfair dig at English linguistic limitations, I seem to have plunged into March with the reckless abandon of Lewis Carroll’s second most memorable character in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

“Take some more tea,” the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly.
“I’ve had nothing yet,” Alice replied in an offended tone, “so I can’t take more.”
“You mean you can’t take less,” said the Hatter: “it’s very easy to take more than nothing.”
“Nobody asked your opinion,” said Alice. ~ Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Nobody asked mine either, I suppose. And I am swerving erratically, brainlessly.

Thanne þey begyn to swere and to stare, And be as braynles as a Marshe hare
(Then they begin to swerve and to stare, And be as brainless as a March hare)
 ~ Blowbol’s Test, c. 1500

Rabbit, rabbit! Take some more tea?

 

Geek Tweak: How to Find Broken Links

How to Fix Broken Links

How to Fix Broken Links

How do you find broken links on your WordPress blog? For a couple of years I was a fan of Broken Link Checker. This plugin works like a charm. Plug it in, activate it and rest assured that it will chug away in the background digging through your website’s links and identifying “link rot” so that your digital domain can be as tidy and user-friendly as your white picket fence domain. It’s a simple set-and-forget way to find broken links.

Broken Link Checker is a good plugin to monitor and remove or nofollow dead links in your website. It has the ability to monitor almost any part of your website, including your posts, pages, comments, blogroll and the custom fields. The plugin is not only limited to links that doesn’t work but also detects missing images and redirects. Broken Link Checker can even prevent search engines from following broken links and let’s you edit the link directly from the plugin’s page without manually updating the posts. (Themecrunch.com)

Sounds perfect! In many ways it is/was. While I remain a fan of this simple and reliable way to find broken links, I’ve deactivated it across all of my WordPress sites on the advice of my developer. Why? It turns out that same diligence that makes it a dependable and thorough tool to find broken links also strains our server. Big time. After being throttled repeatedly by my hosting company for overwhelming the server, my developer narrowed down the problem to the plugin.

You have a plugin installed called Broken Link Checker. It spams your domain with HTTP requests and can cause worker processes to be spawned. ~ Zach Russell

Tools to Find Broken Links

We disabled the plugin and the problems have (apparently) abated. But we still needed to be able to find broken links, so Zach proposed these alternatives:

  1. Online Broken Link Checker We recommend that you… [this] tool to check for your broken links. It’s not a plugin, and won’t make the server unhappy.
  2. Integrity (for Mac OSX) An even better solution… would be an application that you install on your computer.

I’ve been trial testing the Online Broken Link Checker and it certainly works well. But it’s self-initiated (read easily overlooked, postponed, etc.) which is obviously less desirable than a diligent digital gone working away in the background. But it also doesn’t overwhelm the server which is good, er, essential. I haven’t experimented with Integrity (now that’s a funny phrase taken out of context!) or its premium cousin, Scrutiny yet. Soon perhaps. Unless I can divine a better solution to find broken links?

Root Out Link Rot

I know I’m not alone with this blogger challenge. How do you find broken links on your blog? Do you use a website-based plugin to monitor and mend link rot? An independent web-based service like Brokenlinkcheck.com? Or maybe a standalone application like Integrity or Scrutiny?

Embrace Transparency

Watch Morgan Spurlock’s TED Talk, “Embrace Transparency” (aka “The greatest TED Talk ever sold”). No editorial needed… Enjoy!

Dancing in the Snow

“Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass… it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” ~ Vivian Greene

Dancing in the Snow (despite a wind chill warning)It’s been a bumpy transition from 2013 to 2014. Storms, proverbial and otherwise, have dampened the celebratory season for me. There’s no sense in airing out dirty laundry (how many metaphors have I mixed so far?) So I’ll hop, skip, jump forward. After all, there’s no guarantee that the storms will pass. It’s January in the North Country, after all! Blizzards are supposed to be the norm.

So I invite you to join me in dancing in the rain, er, snow.

Apparently the whole Northeast is getting snowed under. It’s cold as blazes here, but there’s actually relatively little new snow. Fine, dusty powder. Maybe 3–4 inches. No more.

Thousands of flights have been canceled including my sister’s and parents’ return-home flights after holidays in the Adirondacks. A “wind chill warning” popped up on my mobile phone an hour or two ago, and the old school thermometer outside my bedroom window appears to have frozen…

So at this stage dancing is as much a survival technique as anything else. Crank up the melody, and enjoy your evening!

Caffeinated Comics and Quirky Cars

Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee (with Jerry Seinfeld)

Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee (with Jerry Seinfeld)

[Note: If you’re a linguistic puritan, please excuse the liberty I took in my title for this post. Caffeinated Comics is actually a misnomer given that Jerry Seinfeld’s latest project involves more than just standup comedians, but it conjures up a droll image that I couldn’t resist. Sorry.]

Are you ready for season three of Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee? I am. And despite

I’ve never been much of a television guy, but as a bartender in graduate school I developed an appetite for Jerry Seinfeld, pretty much the only personality in the perennially-on glow box over my head that cut through the bar buzz. He’s funny. He’s smart. He’s articulate. And he’s a great storyteller.

Jerry Seinfeld Doodle

Jerry Seinfeld Doodle

If you haven’t caught up with him lately, you’re due for a welcome surprise. Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee is a web-based project described by its creators as follows:

Jerry Seinfeld is joined by friends for a drive in a classic car and having coffee, sharing stories all along the way. (Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee)

Caffeinated comics and [mostly] caffeinated cars. It’s goofy, laid back and revealing. Entertaining but un-airbrushed. It’s candid. It’s unrehearsed (so far as I can tell), and it offers up an endearing angle on what makes some of the funny businesses’ stars tick. On the Facebook page Seinfeld offered this explanation to the question “Why are you doing this?”

Well, I’ve been doing it my whole life. But talk shows and interviews can’t let you see this other side of the comedy world. To me, one of the best parts. I just thought it might be a fun thing for fans. (FAQ: Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee)

Tune in for the new season which launches on January 2, 2014.

Reboot Your Blogroll: Best Blogs 2013

Reboot Your Blogroll: Best Blogs 2013

Reboot Your Blogroll: Best Blogs 2013

Most of my best blog discoveries over the years have come through recommendations from other bloggers. Peer-to-peer, the power of the interwebs! It’s time for me to pass along my best blogs 2013. I know, it’s already mid-March, but  “posting on time” was not one of my 2014 New Year’s resolutions… Better late than never!

Caveat emptor: This collection is totally personal (read esoteric), guided only by my limitless curiosity. In other words, don’t expect a tidy “Top 10 Author Blogs” or my “Secret Sauces Stash”. These are inspiring, timely blogs that I currently frequent, and recommend check them out.

Best Blogs 2013: Storytelling & Writing

  • This American Life Ira Glass. Storytelling 101 all the way up through post-doc!
  • Positive Writer Bryan Hutchinson: “I’m a positive writer and when that doesn’t work, I eat chocolate. I encourage writers and all artists to slay the beast of doubt within and create work that matters.” A friend of chocolate (and optimism) is a friend of mine…

Best Blogs 2013: [Self] Publishing

  • Jane Friedman’s Blog One of the sharpest tools in the “brave new world of publishing” shed (along with a long list of smarties drawn to her glow!)
  • The Book Designer Joel Friedlander’s practical advice to help self-publishers build better books. Really!
  • The Creative Penn London based Joanna Penn’s from-the-trenches guidance for writing, publishing and marketing your book.
  • Media Bistro More smart people saying smart things about the smart new world of publishing.
  • Audiobook Creation Exchange Blog Audiobooks are going to be a big, bigger, maybe even the biggest part of tomorrow’s publishing world. So many reasons, and I’ve blogged about them elsewhere so I’ll spare you now.
  • FutureBook Explores “how the digital revolution will re-shape publishing in the 21st Century…”
  • Digital Book World’s Daily Daily dose of ebook and digital publishing news address “the radically changing commercial publishing environment…”

Best Blogs 2013: Inspiration

  • Brain Pickings Maria Popova’s “Brain Pickings is a human-powered discovery engine for interestingness, a subjective lens on what matters in the world and why, bringing you things you didn’t know you were interested in — until you are…”
  • The Airship “Surveying literature, art and culture from an altitude of 5k feet while traveling at 53 mph.”
Reboot Your Blogroll: Best Blogs 2013

Reboot Your Blogroll: Best Blogs 2013

Best Blogs 2013: Doodling

  • Keri Smith Illustrator, author, book builder and self proclaimed guerrilla artist. I own everything she’s permitted into print, and her blog offers great in-between-books nourishment.
  • Mike Lowery Playful illustrator who misses nothing and doodles everything!
  • Elizabeth Graeber Artist, illustrator with the quirky-but-addictive vision of the world and its many little pieces.
  • Doodlers Anonymous Sort of like a big block party for doodlers.
  • Doodlebomb! A sparse but ace tumble of inspiring doodle bombs from the Doodlers Anonymous team.

Best Blogs 2013: Creativity

  • Medium A newbie but goodie where interesting, usually articulate “people share ideas and… little stories that make your day better and manifestos that change the world.”
  • Picture Correct Tip-top photography information and techniques.
  • TEDx I’m a longtime fan and ambassador for this nexus of creative thinking, innovation and bravery. It’s about as close as I come to “watching television”…

Best Blogs 2013: Home & Garden

  • Cabin Porn Inspiration for your quiet place somewhere. Few words needed. Photos tell the stories.
  • Gardenista and Remodelista (joined at the hip, so to speak) describe themselves respectively as, “the sourcebook for cultivated living” and “the sourcebook for considered living”… Lofty goals, but worthy reads. Clean, classic aesthetics and intelligent, well-edited design.

Best Blogs 2013: Simplicity

  • The Minimalists Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus write about living a meaningful life with less stuff. Can you imagine? Aaahhh…
  • Zen Habits Zen Habits is about finding simplicity in the daily chaos of our lives. It’s about clearing the clutter so we can focus on what’s important, create something amazing, find happiness… Zen Habits features a couple powerful articles a week on: simplicity, health & fitness, motivation and inspiration, frugality, family life, happiness, goals, getting great things done, and living in the moment.

Best Blogs 2013: Adventure? Habitat? Culture? Wander Wider! Meander Marginalia…

Reboot Your Blogroll: Best Blogs 2013

Reboot Your Blogroll: Best Blogs 2013

  • Atlas Obscura “The definitive guide to the world’s wondrous and curious places. In an age where everything seems to have been explored and there is nothing new to be found, we celebrate a different way of looking at the world.”
  • Adventure Journal “The deeper you get, the deeper you get… Adventure Journal is an online magazine devoted to outdoor adventure in all its forms.”
  • 70 Degrees West “70 Degrees West is a photo-documentary project… [created by Michelle Stauffer and Justin Lewis that explores] the impact our modern world has on eight unique regions and the people who connect with these environments. Realizing the vulnerability of habitats and cultures along a line of longitude demonstrates a fraction of a larger truth: the natural world and cultural ways of life are endangered on a global level.”

Best Blogs 2013: Blogging? WordPress?

  • WordPress Tavern Wonky WordPress hangout that’s good for keeping abreast of the latest community news, updates, themes, goals, etc.
  • WPBeginner Syed Balkhi’s site is a veritable WordPress clearinghouse that I’ve followed since it was launched back in 2009. Lots of resource intro/comparison and how-to posts.

Best Blogs 2013: Miscellaneous

  • The Burning House If your house was burning, what would you take with you? It’s a conflict between what’s practical, valuable and sentimental. What you would take reflects your interests, background and priorities. Think of it as an interview condensed into one question.
  • Uncrate Digs up the best men’s gear with spot-on recommendations and daily updates. 9k+ items to date and over 1.5 million monthly readers.

Essaying Wanderlust

Essaying Wanderlust: "Let each man exercise the art he knows." ~ Aristophanes

Essaying wanderlust…

[It’s almost time for the] launch of Wanderlust, the first in a series of short format memoirs. I’ve been writing and revising these chronicles for four years during which time they’ve evolved from a single-but-sprawling Year in Provence style narrative into a more intimate collection of extended essays exploring the notion (and artifacts) of “home”.

Essaying vs. Wandering

At first glance wanderlust and essay seem to be odd bedfellows. One is carefree, omnivorous and easily distracted; the other is systematic, focused and (ideally) conclusive. One is a potentially undisciplined adventure outward propelled by curiosity. The other is a disciplined journey inward propelled by opinion, judgment and evidence.

Or so we’re lead to believe by parents and teachers.

To be sure, wanderlust and essays can be penned into polar continents, but they needn’t be. In fact, perhaps they’re not so dissimilar at all. A little etymology opens the possibility.

Middle French essai, ultimately from Late Latin exagium act of weighing (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

Think of weighing in terms of exploring, considering, comparing,… Think of weighing an idea. Discovering possibilities. Brainstorming. Assessing. Think of endeavoring to understand something better.

essay \ˈe-ˌsā; also e-ˈsā\
verb: to try to do, perform, or deal with (something)
noun: a short piece of writing that tells a person’s thoughts or opinions about a subject
First Known Use: 14th century
(Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

An essay in the broadest, most ample sense is an attempt. An experiment. A foray into a subject endeavoring to explore and – hopefully – better understand the subject. An essay is a composition that tries to weigh something.

Redacting Rosslyn Redux

Rosslyn Redux was born out of renovation. It was an attempt to understand why converting a dilapidated house into a livable home mushroomed into a multi-year journey. It was an attempt to do something with the stories and artifacts and history that were discovered in the process. It was an attempt to honor the heritage of a place and the people who made it valuable. It was an attempt to “heal”, to expiate the excess, and to celebrate success once the dust settled. It was an attempt to understand the series of events that kidnapped much of our lives for several years. It was an attempt to move on.

I envisioned a tidy A Year in Provence or a sprawling Under the Tuscan Sun. What I didn’t envision was that the process of telling the story would turn out to be as challenging, confusing, and (ultimately) as rewarding as renovating Rosslyn had been in the first place. I also didn’t envision the story evolving from novel-esque chronicle into an experimental series of narratively structured essays that explore the following themes:

  • Wanderlust to Houselust Why does a diehard vangabond settle down?
  • Archeology of Home Digging into the weird and wacky artifacts of “home”.
  • Rehab Ad Infinitum Renovating. Never. Ends. Learned the hard way!
  • DIY: Design, Build, Share Parallels remodeling a house with writing a book…

The four mini-memoirs chronicle my adventure from wanderlust to writing a book. Or four! But they do so in an unconventional way. With more than a few broken rules along the way. Each is a tangle of interwoven stories comprising a thematically focused “essay” with a decidedly scrapbook feel. And in a strange way, the process of revising and preparing the manuscripts for the public marks a return to the wanderlust that I thought I’d abandoned when I plunged into home ownership in the summer of 2006.

A Return to Wanderlust

Wanderlust is opportunity. It is the yearning simply to go, to leave without an anticipated return date, or determined destination… It is an overwhelming need to escape, traverse, and rove… Wanderlust is raw desire… ~ Rachel Narozniak (Examiner)

If the first book is a prequel to the renovation story, the fourth book is a sequel. W2H explores the back story for why I abandoned the mortgage-free lifestyle of a footloose global nomad. The next two books plunge into the all-consuming  3-4 years of saving an historic home, a marriage, our sanity, etc. AofH focuses on all of the bizarre baggage that we load on top of a home, and RAI focuses on the endless process, and the ever retreating finish line. But DIY is about stepping away from the project and transforming it into a story. It focuses on the “do it yourself” approach we took to revitalizing Rosslyn and the “do it yourself” approach I’m taking with developing and sharing the story. It is a plunge into the rapidly transforming world of publishing in the 21st century in the same way that buying Rosslyn and swapping Manhattan for the Adirondacks was an adventure into uncharted but fascinating (and SUPER risky) waters.

It is the story of how the vision for the Rosslyn Redux memoir became four separate story/essay/scrapbooks. It is the story pulling up the anchor and heading off on a new adventure!

No Cure for Curiosity

No Cure for Curiosity: Banish boredom with curiosity!

No Cure for Curiosity: Banish boredom with curiosity!

“The cure for boredom is curiosity.
There is no cure for curiosity.”
~ Dorothy Parker

I’m not a Dorothy Parker buff, but I became intrigued with her when my brother-in-law purchased a sprawling house in Bucks County, Pennsylvania that she had owned with Alan Campbell in the late 1930s and 1940s. Listen to Helen Beer (daugher of Dorothy Parker’s Bucks County caretakers in the 1930s) recollecting Dorothy Parker swimming in the buff.

Dorothy Parker skinny dipping? Hmmm… Curiosity trumps boredom every time. And – albeit a somewhat insidious elixir – there’s absolutely no cure for curiosity.

A good thing too!

A Certain Lady, by Dorothy Parker

Here’s a poem by Dorothy Parker that reminds the reader that there’s no cure for curiosity. Except, perhaps, the absence of curiosity altogether.

A Certain Lady, by Dorothy Parker

Oh, I can smile for you, and tilt my head,
And drink your rushing words with eager lips,
And paint my mouth for you a fragrant red,
And trace your brows with tutored finger-tips.
When you rehearse your list of loves to me,
Oh, I can laugh and marvel, rapturous-eyed.
And you laugh back, nor can you ever see
The thousand little deaths my heart has died.
And you believe, so well I know my part,
That I am gay as morning, light as snow,
And all the straining things within my heart
You’ll never know.

Oh, I can laugh and listen, when we meet,
And you bring tales of fresh adventurings, —
Of ladies delicately indiscreet,
Of lingering hands, and gently whispered things.
And you are pleased with me, and strive anew
To sing me sagas of your late delights.
Thus do you want me — marveling, gay, and true,
Nor do you see my staring eyes of nights.
And when, in search of novelty, you stray,
Oh, I can kiss you blithely as you go ….
And what goes on, my love, while you’re away,
You’ll never know.

%d bloggers like this: