Hello English Muse readers! Karen from A Simple Cup of Tea once again. I don’t know how the weather is doing around your part of the world but here in Cardiff it’s pretty rainy. My hometown in Belgium isn’t much better: snow.
Now I nearly talked about how depressing the rain is. Nearly. And then I stopped myself.
It’s so easy to be bogged down by life’s little annoyances, little things that become massive in our eyes. To let someone else’s negativity overwhelm our own positivity.
So I decided that I’m going to enjoy the weather, put on some wellies and jump in a few puddles. Then next week when I’m home in Belgium for a couple of days I will grab my mittens and – if the weather permits it – have a huge snowball fight with my brother. Just because.
Silver linings. Lemonade. Whatever you want to call it. It’s always there.
Have a lovely week!
Photo credit: 1
Jesse Kornbluth, of HeadButler.com, this week in awe of a woman in pajamas.
“Slow love” is a good description of the way I’ve come to know Dominique Browning. After decades of a nodding acquaintance when we worked at glossy magazines, we started reading the other’s web sites. There was a chance meeting at a dinner, and, recently, cultural expeditions peppered with questions, stories, ideas. Now I grasp what others figured out long ago: Dominique Browning is that rare talent who’s both intellectually and emotionally fearless.
“Slow Love: How I Lost My Job, Put on My Pajamas, and Found Happiness” begins in 2007, with Condé Nast’s sudden decision to close House & Garden, the magazine Browning has edited for 13 years. The news flattened her: “I’ve lost the very thing that defined my days, paced and regulated my life…. Suddenly I’m floundering. I’m terrified.”
This memoir is not just the book you expect: “a story of psychological collapse, of struggling to start over again.” There’s also a parallel struggle: “not to make the same mistakes again.” She’s looking backward and forward, struggling to be wide awake, so in 267 pages, you get two books in one. [To buy the paperback from Amazon for the bargain price of $6, click here. For the Kindle edition, click here.]
Looking back: Her magazine had burned through five publishers in ten years. Every few months, rumors had Browning following them out the door. The editor of Architectural Digest, also owned by Condé Nast, announced, “I killed that magazine once and I’ll kill it again.” Overlords called Browning in to note her failure to buy designer clothes in sufficient quantity.
Looking forward: The absence of work was even more painful. Browning slept all day, then developed insomnia. She wasted hours reading just about anything on the Internet. And had a predictable response to panic:
Within hours of leaving my office for the last time, I could hardly bring myself to care about my reputation. I just wanted to eat. I began calling every employed person I knew to take me to lunch. I wanted to fill my calendar with the promise of meals, even if they were only penciled in — this, after all, being Manhattan. Only food could ward off the rage, despair and raw fear that overcame me.
Jesse Kornbluth, of HeadButler.com, this week cheering for the singer-songwriter adored by English majors and the men and women who adore them.
I love silent days crafting sentences alone, but if you put a gun to my head and told me I’d have to trade my maid’s room for the stages of music clubs and universal critical praise and the adulation of America’s smartest audiences.….yeah, I guess I could stand being Josh Ritter.
From his first release, a decade ago, to “The Beast in Its Tracks,” this guy hasn’t made a foolish move. As a writer, he produces lyrics that, if they were prose, you’d underline them. As a singer, he’s like Leonard Cohen, Nick Drake, Paul Simon; there’s one person he’s trying to reach, and that’s you. And in performance, backed by a crackerjack band, he’s mesmerizing: exuberant, goofy, unfiltered and absolutely delighted to be onstage. No one has ever had more fun at a Josh Ritter concert than Josh Ritter.
This time, newcomers may suspect an exploration of darker themes. “The Beast in Its Tracks” is being presented as a “breakup” record because he wrote these songs in response to his wife’s out-of-the-blue announcement that, after just a year, their marriage was over. I understand this shorthand, but I don’t think it will last long. As Josh takes these songs across America — he’s about to start a 37-city tour — I think they’ll connect with audiences more immediately than any music he’s made. And then “Beast” will become his “breakthrough” record.
For a writer who can toss off long, convoluted lyrics, he’s served up 13 fairly simple songs here. And they’re surprisingly jolly — he’s not cranking up the band for take-that-bitch revenge songs. He’s got a new lover; he hopes his ex-wife does too. (He hasn’t totally forsaken clever; in that song’s final line, he notes that if she’s still alone, “well, that would make me happy too.”) His new lover is “hopeful” for him. He’s thrilled to be “in your arms again.”
Hello, English Musers!
It’s Hannah B. once again from Secrets of a Belle. Tina was nice enough to invite me back to share with y’all on Monday afternoons! (Isn’t she the sweetest?) So today, I thought I’d take a little survey. When I was little, I adored magazines. I hoarded Mary Englebreit’s Home Companion, Domino, and Blueprint issues like they were found treasures. And in the world of iPads, I find magazines–actual paper-magazines–even more comforting than I used to. So I’m wondering what mags can be found on your “must subscribe” list? Here are a few of my current favorites & a new found delight…
I may also have a bit of a regional fidelity. Which is why I’d really love to hear what you subscribe to. Help me break out of my box!
Hello English Muse readers! Karen from A Simple Cup of Tea once again. This week I want to talk about mindset and how it can influence anything and everything.
I have a preliminary audition for a competition tomorrow. I’m nervous and not really sure whether it is a good idea. I feel like my voice is in this in-between stage and it’s made me a bit self-conscious.
Today however I had a skype chat with my best friend and she told me that I needed to remind myself that yes, I can do this. I can sing a song in front of a jury and convince them with my interpretation. ‘It’s all in your head, darling,’ she said.
And the thing is, I know she’s right. I just need to remind myself regularly that I can do the things I want to do. It is so easy to get caught up in the little things that you ‘can’t’. We search for things sometimes that indicate that we’re not ready. Sometimes the point is to just start, not to wait for perfect circumstances. Circumstances have very little to do you with your own ability. I really needed that reminder.
What about you? What do you need to remind yourself you are able to do?
PS: The lovely digital print in the picture is by Echoes of Mercy. You can buy it here (or by clicking on the image) and Mandie will email you the image in high quality. Instant result!