I don’t have a tattoo. My generation was less about tattoos and body piercings and more about unflattering clothes. If I’d been born ten years later, I’m certain I’d have a band’s name or a boyfriend’s name inked somewhere on my body, and I’d be considering laser surgery to take it off.
Ink is only one way to mark a person.
We come into the world with markings that are very much beyond our control: Temperament. Good looks. Bad looks. Rich parents. Poor parents. No parents. The list goes on and on. And then life happens to us: Glorious things. Hideous things. Love. Heartbreak. Rejection. Accomplishments. Friendship. Illness. Throughout, we make choices: Gallant ones. Shameful ones. Lucky ones. And here we are, all marked up and unique.
Some of the marks are visible. Some hidden. Even the oldest ones never completely fade. We can be adults while still being that kid with acne and braces. A part of us still waits by the phone for that boy to call or by the window for that lost cat to come home.
But life doesn’t just mark us. We also mark life. Every day, we have an opportunity to add something good to this world, however small. And when you come here to share your stories and opinions and vulnerabilities and passions, you add something to LitPark. And to me. I thought you should know.
Thank you to this week’s guest, Pierre Berg, for giving me the honor of being the first to interview him about his time in Auschwitz. Thanks to those of you who welcomed him and to the many of you trying to help his memoir get into the right hands. Thanks, as well, to everyone who linked to LitPark this week: Pierre, Marking Time, Frivolous Photos, Ellen Meister, Claire Cameron, Where’s Travis McGee? and The Publishing Spot. I appreciate it!
Oh, wait. I meant to announce that Amy Wilentz‘s I FEEL EARTHQUAKES MORE OFTEN THAN THEY HAPPEN: COMING TO CALIFORNIA IN THE AGE OF SCHWARZENEGGER is now out in paperback. With a new afterword about the disjunction Americans feel concerning the real world of politics, foreign affairs, hunger, refugees etc, and the everyday California (or New York) fantasy world of lattes, yoga, HBO, shelter mags, celebrity culture, Internet purchases, etc. The afterword revisits some of the people and places reported on in the book: the mountain of debris from the Northridge earthquake and its travels around town; Arianna Huffington’s website; the Department of Water and Power’s bottled water consumption; Schwarzenegger and his decline from world-rescuing he-man into dull Sacramento pol…
Amy’s always up to something interesting, so I asked her for an update:
I’ve been writing too much this summer: did some stories for More mag about Katie Couric, Holly Hunter, Wafa Sultan (an Islam-rejecting, Syrian-born Californian), and now Benazir Bhutto. I contributed a chapter to a book called Thirty Ways of Looking at Hillary, coming out soon. My chapter is on Hillary Clinton’s yellow pants suit, and its semiotic significance. I was up in Carmel for the First Carmel Authors and Ideas Festival, which was both fun and interesting. I just reviewed Susan Faludi’s new book, THE TERROR DREAM, for the LA Times [Sunday, September 30]. And now I’m starting the academic year at Irvine, where I teach Literary Journalism, and beginning work on a new novel set in Southern California.
Phew! If you want to feel lazy, ask Amy what she’s been up to! Okay, so Amy’s on MySpace, too (and likes to remind me that it’s all my fault). You can friend her here. Have a great weekend!