Friday, November 18, 2011

(p.s. I post this not as a Tumblr-like nod to my mood or a hint at some unspoken breakup, but because I LOVE THIS STILL--the top one. The note. The last time I saw it was in college, when I saw The Tramp, and just found that bit of writing the coolest thing ever. I wrote the words out on a little sheet of mauve linen laid stationary and had it taped to my wall for years. It's kind of amazing to me [still] that I could find it in 5 minutes on the internet when I finally decided to look for it. Anyhow, it's just gorgeous, I think. And has quite an impact in a silent film, which, despite the interstitials, is a very image-driven world. Remember it just leaping off the screen.)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

once every couple years I wonder anew

What the hell is up with this?

That is Maxim de Winter to the second Mrs. de Winter, ramping up to the denouement of Rebecca, confessing his killing of his first wife (Rebecca).

It's so bald and discrete, that sentence--referenced by nothing in the book before or after. It's dropped like a tidy little grenade, pin in, in the middle of a confession so shocking that it distracts you from what's being said. "I'd forgotten"…forgotten? Maxim has shot people before?

Because of a perennial mystery novel mindset and a love of discordance, I have generally chosen to see the comment as meaningful and mysterious--once I noticed it. However, chances are really good DuMaurier was telling us, more "prosaically," that Maxim had shot people in World War I.

I've decided that makes it no less shocking, though. There is no context for Maxim's comment at all. I don't think there is any talk anywhere in the book of his military service (rather the opposite--all Maxim does is run Manderley; he has no 'job'). Or anybody's. (Am I wrong? Does Frank Crawley talk about it?)

But if the comment is indeed a casual reference to the horrors of World War I, and not a hint at further lurid personal history from Maxim, it's still rather shocking as an assumption of experience, by a certain kind of person and/or DuMaurier's readers. It's sad.

I admire her for dropping it in those last chapters, which (I'm such a middle class dilettante lady) I admire themselves so much for their plotting. I think they're just beautiful. I love that Rebecca is smarter than every character, that the secret revealed by Dr. Baker at the end isn't the one we expected, but makes things clear nonetheless and in fact opens things up even more. It's all just cool.

I have made an effort at other DuMaurier--Jamaica Inn and Frenchman's Creek. No go. I don't think I like gothic/horror books very much, or perhaps I am too impatient. Who knows. I'll try again.

And whom did Maxim shoot?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I fell in love with this beautiful little train station last month. It's the Beverly Shores stop on the South Shore line, a Spanish-style building constructed in 1929 and renovated about 10 years ago. Note the living space for the ticket agent built into it, seen in this link. You can't quite tell in the photos, but the lettering on the "Beverly Shores" sign--and coloring of the lettering in the various outlines--even when the neon isn't lit, is extremely bold and flamboyant. Personality-filled. There is a font based on it!

now with more air!

It's a bit macabre, but I love that there are some salty snacks out there now whose prices reflect exactly what's (not) in them. In the case of Munchos and Chester's Puffcorn: there is a lot of AIR--for which you are not paying. A big bag of these extruded, puffy thnackth is only $2, which, really, makes sense. Maybe we don't want to know what ingredients really are in things, but still. Something about it pleases me.


The thing I enjoy most about this man's work, I think, is how it recreates/puts you in touch with the energetic joy of letters coming alive under your hands. Very very happy feeling. Can taste it. I have to say it: kinetic. KIIIINEEETTTTIC.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

great quotes out of context

"Always distrust the man who looks you straight in the eyes. He wants to prevent you from seeing something. Look for it."
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison
Political blah-blah--especially coverage of possible GOP presidential candidates--makes me think of this line. The real problems are where they don't want you to look.