I was just in Bologna, Italy, where, between eating platters of the best cured pork products Euros can buy and eating more gelato than is probably wise, I visited the Teatro Anatomico, where 17th century medical students and 17th century non-student creepers would gather to observe human dissections. While reading the informational literature, I learned about Laura Bassi. Have you heard of her? Neither had I.
Hello! My name is Michelle, and I cannot write a book.
Here is a list of other things I have written (non-exhaustive):
I was recently looking at a map of northern Scotland, was endlessly amused to see that a goodly number of northern Scottish towns have names that could also be nicknames for 1930s gangsters on the lower rungs of the gangster hierarchy and/or young men at a very WASPy prep school in the mid 1980s. To wit:
I am not myself a Bernie Sanders supporter, but I thought of these slogans for him while dozing in the backseat of a car the other day. I offer them without charge, and look forward to seeing the bumper stickers.
If you’ve been reading about the recent protests* at Yale University and found yourself thinking, “Why are these coddled Ivy League students getting their hyperliberal microaggression panties in a bunch over Halloween costumes?” I commend Connor Friedersdorf’s recent piece in the Atlantic, “The New Intolerance of Student Activism,” to you.
I was browsing the archives of the inestimable Cheri Lucas Rowlands, and paused on this post of “found poetry” — poems made of unedited phrases from her unpublished draft posts. I’ve had poetry on the brain and thought I’d give it a whirl to see what could be learned, using her same rules.
Tonight, we saw Billy Joel perform — his 20th sold-out show in a row — at Madison Square Garden. Itzhak fricking Perlman came out to play on several songs, and rocked the shit out of the fiddle bits in “Downeaster Alexa,” and possibly the beautifully plaintive tone he pulls out of his instrument made me tear up a little.
“When it was time to write, and he took his pen in his hand, he never thought of consequences; he thought of style. I wonder why I ever bothered with sex, he thought; there’s nothing in this breathing world so gratifying as an artfully placed semicolon.”
– Hilary Mantel, A Place of Greater Safety
It’s two-thirty in the morning. I’d like to be sleeping. Instead, I’m propped up on a corner of the sofa, bleeding like a stuck pig and trying not to whimper audibly as I wait for this horse-tranquilizing doze of Advil to quell the menstrual cramps that feel like a dozen animated claw hammers trying to escape my uterus from within. I’m tired, and I’m cranky, and it hurts, and this sucks.
But I’m alive.
“How was Long Island?”
“It was picturesque, like a postcard. No one was screaming. There was very little garbage.”