Books, sketchbook

Reading Sharp

Last year I read Sharp: The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion and it was immensely inspiring. The women in the book whose lives and work are chronicled are Dorothy Parker, Rebecca West, Zora Neale Hurston, Hannah Arendt, Mary McCarthy, Susan Sontag, Pauline Kael, Joan Didion, Renata Adler and Janet Malcolm. In fact after this book, I went on to read another book by Janet Malcolm which made me read another book and another, and so on.

Anyway in a nutshell what really inspired me was the incredible resilience all these women had, in the face of terrible partners, abandonment, difficult motherhood, creative and psychological rejection, financial troubles — apart from the usual baggage women subject themselves to — but they still kept at it! Some with a smile and poise, and some with just dogged determination. Great motivation for our ordinary, easy lives.

“I wanted to be cute. That’s the terrible thing. I should have had more sense.”

Dorothy Parker

” The critic shouldn’t need to tear a work apart to demonstrate that he knows how it was put together. The important thing is to convey what is new and beautiful in the work, not how it was made.”

Pauline Kael
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Life

Those telephone ladies

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While I was cleaning the house this morning, I had to dust the telephone (Yes we still have one, and it’s hardly ever used). The inadequacy of my feather duster reminded me of the telephone ladies that used to visit our house in Calcutta when we were growing up…Like everyone else we had the black model 500 telephone designed by Henry Dreyfuss. Of course I didn’t know it then.

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They were nearly always middle-aged, in sarees, with folding umbrellas, and a huge black bag in which they carried their tools. We would watch curiously as they deftly did their job…And left as inconspicuously as they’d arrived.

2013-02-25-3cThe phone was a bit smelly for a day, though…Anyway I can only sigh…and sigh…for those lost telephone ladies and of a slow, quiet time. (And my inadequate modern duster.)

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People, sketchbook

Swedish Bingo Ladies

I’m studying Swedish Bingo ladies for a project.

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We noticed that this lady with the quirky cream and black sweater and the woman sitting behind her looked just the same. Then we found out that they are sisters! They’ve been coming to play Bingo for years, but they are not on speaking terms and never even sit at the same table!

090131fWe thought this lady was the most stylish! I specially loved the pendant she was wearing. Fun project, isn’t it?

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