Wednesday, July 25, 2012

On Manic Pixie Dream Girls

I read today that the term “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” was coined by Nathan Rabin: "that bubbly, shallow cinematic creature that exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures."

When I consider the examples from the past in literature and film—Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Nadja,  The Razor’s Edge—these are all explicitly broken women. The damage they have suffered is what gives them their oracular insight—and also their inability to be whole by normal standards.

“"Too many guys think I'm a concept, or I complete them, or I'm gonna make them alive. But I'm just a fucked-up girl who's lookin' for my own peace of mind; don't assign me yours." (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)

The wages of loss:
  • Frozen childhood. Damage and corresponding preservation of the inner child. The constant pain of the child means the child is continually present—always close to the surface. Unparented, there is no adulthood. That delightful child-like quality. (Female version of the permanently infantilized dogs we carry around in purses.)
  • Arbitrary sense of “normal” in life. In some lives, the Normal standard fails so completely and so early that the person is left with the feeling that everyone else is making things up. Ability to question the things others take for granted. “Ability to question”  is actually “lack of understanding”. i.e., not a charming quirky method of organization, but what happens when you need to learn everything yourself.
  •  Ability to live in the now. If your past or future is a wasteland (the broken child/ the barren woman) you learn to surf on the moment. To appreciate what you have. Walking into the water. We all need/find ways to be happy. We’re wired for it, if we don’t die.
  • Thin boundaries. (All these points are related?) Again, lack of understanding of normal. Negative effects are inappropriate levels of connection. Positive effects are willingness to explore sexuality—lack of ability to be shocked. Acceptance of humanity in all of its forms.
(What does similar damage do to men? Narcissism? Johnny Depp? Music geeks? Probably a similar pattern, but perhaps produces something less likely on which women can project their uncompleted desires—different relationships between daughters and fathers? )

Tuesday, July 24, 2012



Monday, July 23, 2012

Reflection of boy sleeping on train.

woman in a red dress with white polka dots

Sitting in the sun in a window with shutters thrown open wide. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Small cat who is usually standoffish

Waking me up this morning with a flood of helpless nail-flexing love. She is a grubby hostile little hamburger head. I adore her.

crazy lace

a crowd of tiny ants swarming on a sunny sidewalk

Man on Bus

On my way to run on Sunday morning, I took a bus. At the bus stop was an Asian man-- around my age. He had glasses, and salt and pepper hair. He was pulling a suitcase.  (I originally wrote he was carrying a suitcase, but nobody carries suitcases much anymore, do they?)

"Are you local?" he asked.

"15 years," I replied.

"Does this bus go to Central Station?"

"It does, but it's often late. How long have you been waiting?"

"3 or 4 minutes."

I was relieved. I probably hadn't missed it either.

He asked where I was from, originally. I said the US.

"I studied in the US," he offered.

"Whereabouts?" I asked.

"Buffalo." He replied.

I laughed. I explained I had grown up just an hour from Buffalo.

He told me about himself. He grew up in mainland China, studied in the US, and now lived in Hong Kong. He had a PhD in engineering. Did something with cars-- was in Europe to meet with BMW.

When we got on the bus, I sat next to him with some hesitation. It felt close. We liked each other. But there was no scope for a next conversation. When we got off the bus, we went separate ways, with a friendly wave.

"Have a good flight," I said.

"Good luck with the half marathon," he said.

I wish I could have known him better. We could have had dinner in Hong Kong. I might have fallen in love with him. He had square fingers. He spent seven years in Buffalo. What more could I ask for?