zaziel
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I'trêm breit vulaçozão ye spalla eiátlin nelöffnes pieqi aummit su berwegr'ra'ao.

Arts and Letters

Friday, June 17, 2005 -
Apóslâmin ida corbalanyrtne 'lsão rohl'daathiém vá nença iroyssÿrd.

The Rather Famous Author (RFA to her friends) is driving me crazy.

(We're writing her latest novel, which is the one of the reasons why I haven't been writing in you, Dear Diary. It's just the RFA and me on the team this time. The RFA's former ghostwriter, the Artiste Formerly Known As Blaine—hereafter designated by this symbol:  The Artiste Formerly Known As Blaine —has abandoned us and run away with Mr. Weedon, and they are living incommunicado and indelicado in a heavily-forested part of Spain.)

A little over three weeks ago, the RFA asked me for a list of important modern artists, because one of her characters needed to own a valuable painting "like a Picasso, Monet, Van Gogh or Turner, but not as expensive". Without any clear idea of the RFA's definition of "modern artist" or "important" (and ignoring the "not as expensive" because I wasn't gonna dig through auction results at Sotheby's or Christie's for paintings that had sold for obscene prices as opposed to those that had sold for ridiculously obscene prices), I emailed her a list of painters who had lived in the 19th and 20th centuries. Just a list off the top of my head, people with household names—or so I thought. Rothko, Modigliani, Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian, Jackson Pollock, Joan Miró, Edward Hopper, Georges Seurat, Paul Gauguin, Max Ernst, Gustav Klimt, Mary Cassat, Frida Kahlo, Georgia O'Keefe, Thomas Eakins, Maurice Utrillo. I was pretty sure Utrillo didn't meet the RFA's definition of "important", but I included him because a print of one of his paintings* hangs on the wall above my computer monitor.

Of the entire list, the RFA only knew Jackson Pollock and Frida Kahlo, because of the movies.

Well, hooray for Hollywood.

But I gotta give the RFA her due credit—she picked her artist, Thomas Eakins†, and then became an absolute fuckin' authority on the guy. She created an unknown early painting that was atypical of Eakins, yet entirely credible, based on two paintings he had done in France. She wrote an evocative description of the painting, quite a lovely little essay, which made me regret that the painting doesn't exist. Trouble was, this painting was sticking out of the rest of the manuscript like a sore thumb and the RFA kept coming up with little ideas that were transforming the painting from a minor decoration into a major motif. (And never mind that this novel is scheduled for release this coming November and the soon-to-be-overworked-and-abused typesetters haven't even seen a page of it.) Skimming through the forty-odd text files that need to become a cohesive final draft by the first week in July, I figured I had to rewrite the better part of four chapters to accommodate all of the RFA's little ideas. So I girded up my loins and started to write what I estimated would be fifty to sixty pages of the manuscript. As of yesterday morning, 'round 2 am, I finished thirty-five pages, and was rather pleased that I was writing at a pretty fair clip (for a change). I even dared to believe we might have the final draft done by August.

Yesterday I spent most of the morning in a cherry-picker bucket, thirty feet up in the air, trimming palm trees. I went home for lunch and checked my email.

The RFA is cutting the painting and the character who owns it out of the book.

Yeah.

Why don't I just smack myself upside the head with a ballpeen hammer. Several times, vigorously. It would be a lot less painful.

~

* I don't know the title, but there's snow on the ground and the roofs, and the trees are bare, so I guess it belongs to his white period, and it's of a street in Montmartre, which isn't much of clue, since ninety percent of Utrillo's paintings are of a street in Montmartre.

† I have a weakness for his paintings of rowers (somewhere 'round here is a print of John Biglin in a Single Scull rolled up in a tube) which stems from my weakness for rowers. Lovely male limbs on rowers—thighs to die for and arms shaped perfectly to my taste, which seeks the happy medium between brawny and lithe, but leaning a bit toward the brawn. When I was in college, I tried to cultivate a crew member—an absolutely yummy boy: close-cropped black hair, brown eyes that matched his nipples, golden skin everywhere except under his shorts, which dropped to reveal those creamy buttocks that can never be appreciated by sun worshippers who freak over tan lines. I might have continued my studies at that fine institute of higher learning if Yummy Boy had bent my way, but he didn't, and I dropped out and went on to further adventures in the real world.

<~>
Apóslâmin ida corbalanç 'lse nesgla ugaró-cham sa cru ogrulho batãoltha alémvásde.

last eleven:

Resurrection - Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Arts and Letters -
Friday, June 17, 2005
Domestic Obsessions -
Tuesday, April 5, 2005
The Kindness of Strangers -
Tuesday, April 5, 2005
Gone -
Saturday, April 2, 2005
Coming Back, Little By Little -
Saturday, April 2, 2005
Effing Around -
Thursday, March 31, 2005
Explicably Yours -
Wednesday, February 9, 2005
Things Too Innumerable To Mention -
Sunday, January 30, 2005
Mr. Armstrong -
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
The Pope in Our Kitchen -
Saturday, October 2, 2004



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Sa r'jião ossível meninonceiv êo poshik mä'änch uscantebatahla oÿr musiu oÿr muiko.
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