Windows and Doors

door 3

Once, many years ago, I knocked on the front door of a stranger’s house just to get a glimpse of what was inside.

Windows and doors hint at and promise so much. They are literal entrances into other worlds.

Someone did answer the door I knocked on, all those years ago, and I seem to remember a dark and empty hallway: Nothing to see, move along, move along. I don’t know what I’d expected. Probably nothing. It was not knowing that spurred me into action. The possibility of what lay behind the polished wooden slats was irresistible. The reality could not help but be a disappointment.

 

 

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Review: Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

beauty queensThis review was first published in The Star on 31st July, 2011

(I’d forgotten about this YA novel and that I’d reviewed it until the all-female remake of The Lord of the Flies was recently announced.)

BEAUTY QUEENS

By Libba bray

Publisher: Scholastic Press, 396 pages

A PLANE full of teenage beauty queens crashes on a tropical island en route to the 41st Annual Miss Teen Dream Pageant. There are 14 survivors, including Miss Texas, the super-efficient and scarily perky Taylor Rene Krystal Hawkins; Miss New Hampshire, razor-tongued Adina Greenberg; Miss California, super-assimilated Shanti Singh; and Miss Nebraska, secret wild-child Mary Lou Novak.

The stress and hardship bring out the worst and the best in the girls. You don’t look the way beauty queens do without being hard as nails (Miss Mississippi is initially gleeful about the lack of food on the island, immediately thinking in terms of weight loss rather than starvation), and one broken nail too many and even the most disciplined beauty bot might blow a fuse.

Still, the girls eventually rise to the occasion, turning their beauty apparatus and pageant-wear into tools to help them survive. And as the girls dig latrines and spear fish together, they learn to trust one other and let their guard down.

The demons each one privately wrestles with range from the usual teen problems with self-esteem and body image to sexuality, gender and race issues. While some of the girls come clean with their new friends, others are not yet ready to be honest with themselves, let alone the other girls.Read More »

Hella Excited

 

HBO’s Insecure is back. Four episodes have aired, but I’m not sure if I should start watching or wait to binge-watch the whole second season.

As I don’t mind spoilers I have been reading the episode recaps and it sounds like there are solid scripts and acting to look forward to.

I am a little afraid though. Season One ended in such heartbreak and I don’t want to have to cope with even more of that. I guess I am Team Issa-Lawrence, meaning I want them to get back together. Yeah, yeah, I know I’m a sentimental fool.

The Truth About Love

O Tell Me the Truth About Love

Some say love’s a little boy,

And some say it’s a bird,

Some say it makes the world go round,

Some say that’s absurd,

And when I asked the man next door,

Who looked as if he knew,

His wife got very cross indeed,

And said it wouldn’t do.

 

Does it look like a pair of pyjamas,

Or the ham in a temperance hotel?

Does its odour remind one of llamas,

Or has it a comforting smell?

Is it prickly to touch as a hedge is,

Or soft as eiderdown fluff?

Is it sharp or quite smooth at the edges?

O tell me the truth about love.

 

Our history books refer to it

In cryptic little notes,

It’s quite a common topic on

The Transatlantic boats;

I’ve found the subject mentioned in

Accounts of suicides,

And even seen it scribbled on

The backs of railway guides.

 

Does it howl like a hungry Alsatian,

Or boom like a military band?

Could one give a first-rate imitation

On a saw or a Steinway Grand?

Is its singing at parties a riot?

Does it only like Classical stuff?

Will it stop when one wants to be quiet?

O tell me the truth about love.

 

I looked inside the summer-house;

It wasn’t even there;

I tried the Thames at Maidenhead,

And Brighton’s bracing air.

I don’t know what the blackbird sang,

Or what the tulip said;

But it wasn’t in the chicken-run,

Or underneath the bed.

 

Can it pull extraordinary faces?

Is it usually sick on a swing?

Does it spend all its time at the races,

or fiddling with pieces of string?

Has it views of its own about money?

Does it think Patriotism enough?

Are its stories vulgar but funny?

O tell me the truth about love.

 

When it comes, will it come without warning

Just as I’m picking my nose?

Will it knock on my door in the morning,

Or tread in the bus on my toes?

Will it come like a change in the weather?

Will its greeting be courteous or rough?

Will it alter my life altogether?

O tell me the truth about love.

 

By WH Auden (!907-1973)

Conversations With the Dead

There are these things in my head and they trickle like cold water into my heart. I suspect I feel more than I used to, yet less than I did yesterday when your letter came.

Reading your news, I could see what I needed to do, but the moment it was back in its envelope, I was back to normal. Is that normal?

Read More »