Even though Tumblr has been around for several years, I’d never taken a serious look at it until recently. I’ve mostly used Tumblr as a perfect procrastination tool, especially at the end of the semester. There are lots of academia-themed humor tumblrs such as When in Academia, Acadecomic, Academic Tim Gunn, Academic Tyra and All My Friends Are Academics. Other sites provide anonymous spaces for sharing experiences in academia, such as the often depressing Academic Men Explain Things to Me. But Tumblr can also be used in the classroom, as Carol Holstead and Doug Ward pointed out in their recent guest post. Lynda Barry’s posts on her Unthinkable Mind class are a great example of that type of engagement–I’ve been following the class from afar all semester.
Miller’s spirit still hovers over the streets of Williamsburg, which is why it was chosen as the site for this week’s festival by the Henry Miller Memorial Library of Big Sur, Calif., where Miller lived from the 1940′s until the mid-1960s, after his long-banned masterpiece, Tropic of Cancer, was finally published in the U.S. The Supreme Court eventually ruled that the novel was not obscene and could no longer be banned. Nearly a half-century after that historic ruling, the Big Sur Brooklyn Bridge Festival has a pop-up bookstore in Williamsburg featuring Miller manuscripts, letters, watercolors, and first editions; there are also panel discussions, readings, and comedy and musical performances…All of it made me stop and wonder: Does Henry Miller deserve such fuss?
As a woman, people are going to ask you to write the kind of insipid shit they would never in a million fucking years ask a man to write.
Bill Murray on Gilda Radner:
“Gilda got married and went away. None of us saw her anymore. There was one good thing: Laraine had a party one night, a great party at her house. And I ended up being the disk jockey. She just had forty-fives, and not that many, so you really had to work the music end of it. There was a collection of like the funniest people in the world at this party. Somehow Sam Kinison sticks in my brain. The whole Monty Python group was there, most of us from the show, a lot of other funny people, and Gilda. Gilda showed up and she’d already had cancer and gone into remission and then had it again, I guess. Anyway she was slim. We hadn’t seen her in a long time. And she started doing, “I’ve got to go,” and she was just going to leave, and I was like, “Going to leave?” It felt like she was going to really leave forever.
So we started carrying her around, in a way that we could only do with her. We carried her up and down the stairs, around the house, repeatedly, for a long time, until I was exhausted. Then Danny did it for a while. Then I did it again. We just kept carrying her; we did it in teams. We kept carrying her around, but like upside down, every which way—over your shoulder and under your arm, carrying her like luggage. And that went on for more than an hour—maybe an hour and a half—just carrying her around and saying, “She’s leaving! This could be it! Now come on, this could be the last time we see her. Gilda’s leaving, and remember that she was very sick—hello?”
We worked all aspects of it, but it started with just, “She’s leaving, I don’t know if you’ve said good-bye to her.” And we said good-bye to the same people ten, twenty times, you know.
And because these people were really funny, every person we’d drag her up to would just do like five minutes on her, with Gilda upside down in this sort of tortured position, which she absolutely loved. She was laughing so hard we could have lost her right then and there.
It was just one of the best parties I’ve ever been to in my life. I’ll always remember it. It was the last time I saw her.”
Love Murray even more, now.
Writing is a lonely job. Having someone who believes in you makes a lot of difference. They don’t have to make speeches. Just believing is usually enough.
Stephen King, On Writing (via nickmiller)