Self had Rick’s Cookie Dough Ice Cream! At The Café in the Arrillaga Alumni Center, after the Feminist Studies Honors Presentation at Stanford! (She still doesn’t think it’s as fabulous as Gelato Classico’s Lychee, however it is at least $2 cheaper for a small scoop)
Anyhoo, it was a most intelligent afternoon. Self was in time to catch the last half of the Honors Presentations, and quite a diverse group it was: There was a young woman who presented on feminist writing from Saudi Arabia, and another who talked about three generations of women ranchers in Wyoming. There was a young woman who spoke about finding inspiration in Edward Hopper paintings while on Study Abroad in Italy, and another who spoke about being inspired by her two months working at an Iraqi refugee camp in Jordan. There was yet another young woman who spoke about being inspired by Alice Munro’s The View From Castle Rock, and who had written a novella called, amusingly, The Budget. All of the young women, it turned out, were from a class self had visited several years ago, at the invitation of Professor Valerie Miner.
Self doesn’t recall which of the young women said this, but it struck her as being so true:
Narrative creates us, as it is being created.
The last young woman to read, the one who was writing a novella, was a very humorous writer. Here’s a quote from her novella:
Aunt Rita meant well and only came across as heartless because she had no tact.
BWAH. HA. HA. HA!
And self thought the above only applied to Filipinos.
The young woman named her novella The Budget : the plot revolved around a cycle of letters between friends which eventually grows into a huge archive of personal memory. When any of the women’s husbands asked what the women were so busy with, they replied: “The budget.”
That young woman has tremendous perspicacity, self thinks.
The young woman who was writing short stories about the Iraqi refugee camp was blonde. She talked of showing her stories to a friend who was from Jordan (or was it Saudi Arabia?). The young man was from a rich family. He asked her what gave her the right, what made her think she could appropriate these stories, these personal narratives that didn’t even belong to her. Self thought it was very brave of that student to tell about this conversation, which must have been hurtful. The young woman explained that she had “grown up in an America steeped with the consciousness of our relationship with the Middle East.” (Self put the young woman at about 22 years of age. So, yes, she would still have been in primary school when 9/11 occurred) The young woman said she learned, from the refugees, that “waiting is not a paralysis: it is a reckoning.”
So, after that fabulous afternoon, self swung by the Menlo Park Library and checked out a copy of Edith Wharton’s House of Mirth. The back cover has several blurbs which all refer to it as a “tragedy.” Oh. Self is such a Philistine – she can’t remember how long it’s been since she’s read Edith Wharton.
Then she went home and waited for hubby. Since he was working later than usual (Self simply surmised this because it was getting dark), she poured herself a glass of Merlot and went skipping about the web, looking for more reviews of “Midnight in Paris,” which is her # 1 most relaxing current activity, ever since she and hubby saw the movie last Sunday. She hates that all the reviews spend so much ink detailing the plot when – hello! – wouldn’t it be so much better if the viewer was surprised, as self was when she saw it? She honestly hadn’t heard a thing, not a thing about it, which was good because then all the movie’s gags (and it really is a gag movie, just one that happens to be written by Woody Allen) were fresh.
Here’s a quote from Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian, who actually didn’t like the film all that much (He called it “a shallow examination of nostalgia”):
The view of Owen Wilson strolling, incidentally, shows a distinctive loping gait: Like Robert Mitchum or John Wayne, he might have one of the most notable walks in Hollywood.
HA HA HA! Only a British reviewer could mention Owen Wilson in the same breath as Robert Mitchum or John Wayne!