Monday, May 3, 2010

Beauty Beat: Grand Entreé

image via Renophoto
The heroine's entree in a novel lends itself to spectacular descriptions of beauty and uniqueness. They are lush lipped with fluttering eyelashes with perfect posture while exiting the train or arriving at the ball or being caught sight of through the curling mist. As in all things, life imitates art and these glimmers of glam impressed upon me early what it means to be alluring; what it means to make an entrance. My recent discovery of Chanel's new Inimitable Intense mascara made me giddy with film noir lashes worthy of a second glance - a near-effortless swipe pulls your look together. Even if the days make you wary and the job can be a grind, I'd like to think these little things make us more ready for our close-up, should our own grand entrance be just around the corner. Just like Mme. Karenina stepping off the train.
Vronsky followed the conductor to the carriage and at the door to the compartment stopped to allow a lady to leave. With the habitual flair of a worldly man, Vronsky determined from one glance at this lady's appearance that she belonged to high society. He excused himself and was about to enter the carriage, but felt a need to glance at her once more - not because she was very beautiful, not because of the elegance and modest grace that could be seen in her whole figure, but because there was something especially gentle and tender in the expression of her sweet-looking face as she stepped past him. As he looked back, she also turned her head. Her shining grey eyes, which seemed dark because of their thick lashes, rested amiably and attentively on his face, as if she recognized him, and at once wandered over the approaching crowd as though looking for someone. In that brief glance Vronsky had time to notice the restrained animation that played over her face and fluttered between her shining eyes and the barely noticeable smile that curved her red lips. It was as if a surplus of something so overflowed her being that it expressed itself beyond her will, now in the brightness of her glance, now in her smile. She deliberately extinguished the light in her eyes, but it shone against her will in a barely noticeable smile.

- from Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, 1877

Monday, April 5, 2010

On Words : On Weddings

For this admitted logophile, deciding what words to have read at one's wedding has proven a time consuming (and fun) trip down memory lane. You can go whimsical childhood throwback a la The Velveteen Rabbit or tried and true Bard lover a la Shakespeare's Sonnet #147. Pablo Neruda's passionate poems of oneness and consumption move while the unabashed abandon of Rumi's descriptors get you a little hot and bothered. And then there is the intimate bareness of an Ernest Hemingway passage. The summation of love in a simple, spare sentence - so true and so quiet, it makes your bones ache with recognition.

That night at the hotel, in our room with the long empty hall outside and our shoes outside the door, a thick carpet on the floor of the room, outside the windows the rain falling and in the room light and pleasant and cheerful, then the light out and it exciting with smooth sheets and the bed comfortable, feeling that we had come home, feeling no longer alone, waking in the night to find the other one there, and not gone away; all other things were unreal. We slept when we were tired and if we woke the other one woke too so one was not alone. Often a man wishes to be alone and a girl wishes to be alone too and if they love each other they are jealous of that in each other, but I can truly say we never felt that. We could feel alone when we were together, alone against the others. It has only happened to me like that once.

- A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway, 1929

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Lyrical Loveliness : Regina Spektor

It's certainly no revelation that Regina Spektor rocks. Sometimes this time of year is tinged with a bit of sadness - holiday hangover meets deflation of anticipation. This young virtuoso's sprightly wordplay on her new album "Far" goes a long way toward being an antidote to January doldrums. Nothing like giving your love a half an hour or realizing we're laughing with God to brighten a dreary day.

Favorite excerpts below.

You went into the kitchen cupboard
Got yourself another hour
And you gave half of it to me
We sat there looking at the faces
Of these strangers in the pages
'Til we knew them mathematically

They were in our minds
Until forever
But we didn't mind
We didn't know better

So we made our own computer
Out of macaroni pieces
And it did our thinking while we lived our lives
It counted up our feelings
And divided them up even
And it called that calculation perfect love

Didn't even know
That love was bigger
Didn't even know
That love was so, so
Hey hey hey

Hey this fire it's burnin'
Burnin' us up

Hey this fire it's burnin'
Burnin' us up

So we made the hard decision
And we each made an incision
Past our muscles and our bones
Saw our hearts were little stones

Pulled them out they weren't beating
And we weren't even bleeding
And we lay them on the granite counter top

We beat 'em up
Against each other
We struck 'em hard
Against each other

We struck 'em so hard
Until they sparked
- The Calculation from Far
No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war
No one's laughing at God when they're starving or freezing or so very poor

No one laughs at God when the doctor calls after some routine tests
No one's laughing at God when it's gotten real late and their kid's not back from that party yet

No one laughs at God when their airplane starts to uncontrollably shake
No one's laughing at God when they see the one they love hand in hand with someone else and they hope that they're mistaken
No one laughs at God when the cops knock on their door and they say "we've got some bad news, sir,"
No one's laughing at God when there's a famine, fire or flood

But God can be funny
At a cocktail party while listening to a good God-themed joke
Or when the crazies say he hates us and they get so red in the head you think that they're about to choke

God can be funny
When told he'll give you money if you just pray the right way
And when presented like a genie
Who does magic like Houdini
Or grants wishes like Jiminy Cricket or Santa Claus

God can be so hilarious
Ha ha...

No one's laughing at God
No one's laughing at God
No one's laughing at God
We're all laughing with God
- Laughing With from Far