Sunday, October 30, 2011

Hello, I'm Writing a Novel Next Month!

This is just to say.

It's two days from November, which is National Novel Writing Month, which is the time when slightly crazed writers all around the world attempt to write a novel of at least 50,000 words in exactly one month. I've done this before--I wrote my first novel, a something over 100,000 words monster when I was14, and then a few more the succeeding years. They were all very silly and absurd and nonsensical (and long), but that was the spirit of the project (and I was a teenager).

This year I hope my novel will be a little less embarrassing. Or maybe I just need to prove to myself that I can still do this. I've forgotten what it feels like, that delirious drive and focus, that sense of relief when it's the end of the month, or the end of the novel. Even though I'm a NaNoWriMo veteran, this year feels more uncertain than before, maybe because I'm feeling more ambitious as to the content rather than simply achieving the word count, maybe because I haven't been writing as much fiction lately, and certainly nothing of this scale. It is a bit frightening--but exhilarating.

So, I still have no idea what my novel will be about. I have no outline and no synopsis, not even the name of a main character or the perspective it will be in. Maybe it'll be a fictionalized autobiography--a writing professor told me once that maybe I have to tell the story of myself before I can write anything else, maybe something far more extraordinary and unlikely. Something about love and sex and violence and desire and loss, something about betrayal and despair and sleepless nights and empty subway trains, something about people--their pettiness, their kindness, their strange or comfortable lives. Something about the city and its secrets and layers, money and power and status. Something about dreams, something about loneliness, something about dreaming to escape it. Something about joy and something about grief. Something about fleeting beauty.

Maybe those are just what I perpetually wind up writing about, and I can't expect that in longer work I'd write about anything else. These are the questions and ideas that circle my mind so often that it's ingrained, and I've found that the best way to answer them is to write until something resolves itself. Maybe nothing ever resolves, really, but at least, I will have tried, and will have, with any luck, written a novel to suit.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Little Audrey Hepburn, a little Parisan Chic


Sometimes I forget: simplicity + polished classics go a long way. Basic colors and basic pieces: the striped shirt, the charcoal pants, a navy coat, and perfectly applied (I actually used a lip brush!) red lips. 
It's in the details,, a sparkling goldfish necklace and OPI Kennebunk-Port nails.
I love this navy swing coat with bow accents, and of course, this outfit couldn't exist without my favorite shoes in the whole world: Ferragamo bow flats. Timeless, effortless and perfect. I've had to live without them for a while but finally got a new patent leather pair! They make everything so smart and instantly dressed up. High on my list of wardrobe essentials. 

Shirt + pants, Gap. Coat, H&M. Necklace,  Forever 21. Shoes, Ferragamo. Lipstick, Revlon Colorburst in Crimson. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

In Gothenburg We Don't Have VIP Lines

photo by Adeline Teh
Jens Lekman-"Waiting for Kristen

I saw Jens Lekman play at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on Sunday night, the first time I've seen him do a real show (I remember once going to see him do a DJ set and he briefly sang along to a few songs, and how I longed for more), and it was every bit as wonderful as I had hoped. Jens with his sweet face and his simple, charming Swedish ways, his anecdote about his missed opportunity to meet Kirsten Dunst when she was filming in Sweden, his sad and pretty pop songs, his nostalgia and innocence and broken-hearted wistfulness. 

Remarkable, how totally and completely Jens won the entire audience over, how his double encores were genuinely demanded, how engaged and happy everyone seemed throughout his entire set. And a moving, beautiful rendition of "Pocketful of Money" that featured the crowd on harmonies, and how perfect, for a room full of strangers to snap the beat and sing the same refrain--"I've been running with a heart on a fire" to the end of the song, to silence except for Jens's voice. 

And, for me, to hear his acoustic version of "Black Cab," a song I clung to on certain tearful drunken nights, with those opening notes and that familiar chorus, the disappointment and self loathing so prettily wrapped up, that sense of giving in, giving up, take me home or take me anywhere, to sing along and feel every bit of that, shivering pleasure and sadness all through me: that was bliss. 

Jens has a special place in my heart where very few artists inhabit. Sometimes I forget about him and then, on rediscovering a song when feeling sad, or when discovering his new EP for the first time, those sentiments of happy melancholy, of a dreamy nostalgia for a place I'd never been before surge up. Swedish winters, too big sweaters, love untainted by everything. I think that's a wonderful thing, to make even a cynic smile, to tug at the heart with that unfeigned, and yet, playful sadness. All woven through his cheerful melodies, as easy to sing and tap along to as it is to wretchedly feel. 

I waited for Jens after the show to give him a hug. He was with a shy, sweet looking lady friend, and perhaps he no longer feels the subtle aches of a broken heart. As for me, I hold on t  the same faint wish that, like Jens, I could remember every kiss like my first kiss. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Minty Green and Barely There Pink

It's cool enough to wear sweaters and jackets!! And long skirts! I am wearing pretty much all H&M (sweater, belt, skirt). I love them, love them all. These oxford heels are my indispensable fall shoes. Every day. That and this blazer. 

Favorite part of this outfit, aside from the fact that it feels modern and feminine but references the past, is that it makes such a fun silhouette and especially when it's windy, flutters fluid lovely motions. Perfect for twirling--or imagining to, anyway, on walks, in between classes. 
Oh and lipstick. Let's never forget lipstick--my terrible photo color correcting skills means that they barely show, but they are a sophisticated rose brown color that really pulled everything together. I have nothing more intelligent to say today! What are your favorite fall pieces?