Browsing Archives for April 2010

I read an article in the KC Star this weekend about Evan S. Connell.  Mr. Connell is the author of two of my favorite books - Mr. Bridge and Mrs. Bridge.  A few years ago, I wrote a post about these two books and the Merchant Ivory film they inspired,  Mr. and Mrs, Bridge starring Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.   This book is set and was also filmed in the gorgeous Mission Hills district of Kansas City.  The article I read celebrated the fifty year anniversary of Connell’s first and most famous book – Mrs Bridge.  It is a rare privilege for an author to live to see the fifty year anniversary of one of their own books – especially one that is as well known and loved as Mrs. Bridge.   Connell was interviewed about his acheivement.  I especially loved his response to the following question.

The question – Each of the three Bridge children chose very separate lives. I was curious if you ever considered giving one of them their own book?

The answer  - I did. After I finished the two books about the parents, I kept considering that, and I decided the eldest of the three, Ruth, would be a good subject. I started writing a novel about her in the same pattern, the same form, a collection of very brief chapters, but then it began to seem contrived or manufactured somewhat. I didn’t want to do that, so I stopped. I guess I’d written most of what I knew about that family, and so I decided to let it go.


Connell’s  response meant the world to me.  Why?  Because at the pinnacle of success, after writing two critically acclaimed books, after reaching a point in his career that every writer dreams of and being flush with the young bloom of early success, he was teetering on the edge.  He could jump off into another book about characters that had already proven themselves to be saleable and cash in on another marketable book, but he didn’t.  Because to Connell “it seemed contrived or manufactured”. The story had lost it’s authenticity for him.  He had begun to feel like a factory churning out predictable prose, rather than an artist in search of a compelling story.

It’s not easy to leave the safety of success and go in search of something new.  It’s rarer still to hear of a successful writer speak of rejecting the tried and true and cast off for something that feels more authentic.  I was greatly relieved to read of his decision and found it immensely comforting.  

…Although I reluctantly admit that I loved the stories of Mr and Mrs Bridge so much that I wouldn’t mind too terribly if Connell changed his mind and decided to write another book about the Bridge family anyway!

One day (and one day alone) during our trip to Europe last summer, I marched my family away from the chaos of London for a day trip to Kew Gardens. Even though my husband and I both love gardens, he was morose the entire time we were there. Spending our entire day at one attraction meant that we we were clearly not maximizing the use of the London Pass and we were completely unable to spaz from one site to the next at the frenzied pace he preferred.  In spite of having to drag my gray, sodden, corpse like, usurped, husband around a gorgeous, sunlit garden, I had a lovely time. Here are some photos of the unbelievably beautiful glass houses at Kew Gardens. I’ll put up another post with more information on this park and how we inadvertently got our four kids drunk while we were there soon.


And the gardens are nice too!

Happy Pills

April 14th, 2010


Happy pills (or selective seratonin re-uptake inhibitors) and my mom’s orange polyester evening gown with fabulous contrasting belt and jacket is how I am getting along these days.

So tell me internet.

What gets you through?

And if you say Jesus…

I will slap you.