Femme Fatales, Chain Letters and Society Columns

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

photo credit: Lake Fong at Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Two flattering things happened last week. Mr. Franzos and I went to the opening night exhibit for Fast Cars and Femme Fatales at the Frick. (The Frick is doing some sexy, interesting stuff these days and you should check it out). I wore my leather fringe skirt that you've seen before on this blog post. The Post-Gazette Seen reporter, Natalie Bencivenga, grabbed me.  
"We want your picture," she said. 
On monday morning I opened the paper to discover I'd been tagged #SeenBestDressed. Flattering.

Last week I was nominated for a blogger award.This is the 2nd time I've been nominated and the first time I've accepted it. It's called the Liebster Award. Bloggers nominate each other and then answer some questions, and nominate others.Yes, it is like a blogger chain letter and yes, I am typically a lame stick in the mud about these kinds of things, which is why I ignored the kind nomination of a stranger the first go around. But then Jessa of Wavy Alabaster, nominated me. She's the star of one of my favorite local fashion blogs to read. Here's one of my favorite pictures of her.

photo credit: Jenna Boron
I love this woman. I barely know her, and yet, through her beautiful writing and a handful of in-person encounters, I feel that I've already known her for a hundred years. She's just one of those kindred spirits that floats into your life. You know how you can always tell a fellow kindred spirit? They have twinkling eyes, brilliant smiles and good hearts. That's Jessa. Jessa is also really smart. She knows that flattery about my writing will get you everywhere with me.
 "Now for my nominations, drum roll pleaseeeeeee...Meryl, whose thought-provoking and clever writing will blow you away..."
Yeah, she had me a clever. Anyway, Jessa has been taking a special approach to blogging in her first year. She says yes. It's the year of YES for her. I'm typically a curmudgeonly sort when it comes to chain letters, but her enthusiasm is contagious. I simply couldn't say no to the yes girl. So here we are. Jessa's questions are in bold.

When you desperately need a burst of inspiration who or what do you turn to?   
Wikipedia. I often fall into wikipedia wormholes, leap frogging from random link to random link. Each one more entertaining than the next. Start with anything. Existential Crisis for instance and jump to Kierkegaard and on from there. Two hours later I'll look up from a page on the Pseudomonarchia Daemonum: a crazy book written in 1577 about the hierarchy of demons, and blink my parched eyes. It doesn't take much to inspire or entertain me. God bless the internet.

Name your favorite 80's movie?
Blade Runner. Such a beautiful and cool movie. Futuristic film noir. Harrison Ford. Rutger Hauer. What's not to love? I get hungry for ramen and Asian street food every time I watch it. 

 What song or band is currently on a repeat? 
David Bowie. I didn't appreciate his music enough while he was alive. I had this stupid idea that he would always be around and that he would outlive us all. My posthumous appreciation makes me sad, but I find myself using that throat-tightening emotion of loss and being too late, and putting it to good use in my novel. The song, Heroes, gets me everytime damn time.

 Why did you first launch a blog and why do you continue to blog? 
I believe author Toni Morrison once said, "If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." I hadn't found a fashion blog where I was like, YES, this person gets me. Actually, I don't even get me, so I put myself out there to publicly sort through it. The blog started out primarily as me playing pin the tail on my personal style. I'm slowly honing in on that, but at the same time I'm a little surprised to find out that fashion repulses me a little. I mean, I like nice things, but I'm also a little appalled by the rampant conspicuous consumption in the blogosphere and my role in perpetuating it.
I continue to blog to sort through my sartorial and ethical dillemas. But also for the writing exercise. Sometimes I feel like the blog is taking precious time away from the novel, but the prose of my fiction just gets better and better. So I stick with it. I also get a brain spike of dopamine every time I hit, "publish,"  when I get comments on my blog, or someone direct messages me about something I wrote, forget about it. I'm so high. I can't really get any feedback on my novel in it's current state, so the feedback I get from the blog kind of eggs me on in that realm too.
 Describe your favorite secret spot in the city you live.
I live in Pittsburgh. My favorite secret spot is the window seat in the WWII section of the main Carnegie library stacks. I love it in there. I love the smell of books. I love the old glass floors and how you can no longer see through them because of all the feet and library carts that scuffed them up over the years. That window seat is where I first sat everyday at lunch and longhand wrote in my moleskine notebooks. 30 minutes on the window seat everyday. After my first week of that, I glanced over at a bookshelf and saw a book, called The White Rabbit. You could say I fell down the rabbit hole of writing right then and there. I don't sit there too much anymore because anything longer than 30 minutes gets uncomfortable,  especially with a laptop (I'm writing for 1 hour and 15-30 minutes everyday now)...but I do return there from time to time, especially when the Pitt students are cramming for exams and taking up all the seats in the quiet study room.

 Do you have an article of clothing that you would never, ever throw away? Explain
No. Stuff is just stuff, or that's what I keep telling myself anyway. Eventually stuff will serve it's purpose. I try to keep my sentimentality focused on people and not things. This is not to say, I don't hold onto things longer than I should because I do, but if push came to shove, and I got all Thoreau about fashion, I could ditch all my stuff, buy 3-packs of Hanes white tshirts and wear them and jeans for the rest of my life.

What wallpaper or photo is currently rockin' on your cell phone?
I'm pretty unoriginal when it comes to technology. I have the black feather wallpaper that came pre-loaded on my iphone. I like it well enough. If it weren't for Mr. Franzos, I'd probably still have a flip phone and be working off of a type-writer.

Describe a time when you were truly surprised
Most recently, Mr. Franzos and I went to California on a research road trip up the PCH for my book. This was my third research trip. I'd booked a lot of old motels, hotels, and cabins, but there was one place that took me by surprise. We stayed in Bandit's Bungalow, part of Nick's Cove and Cottages. It's a restored Sea Captain's cottage from the 1930's or something. It was right on the water. There wasn't any cell phone reception. A half dozen Tomales Bay oysters were delivered to our room on arrival. The view of the bay from our deck was staggering. The history, the clawfoot bathtubs, and the natural beauty just socked the wind out of me. I had no idea what I'd gotten us into and my jaw was definitely on the floor. (more on this in a later post).

What is the best piece of advice you ever received about blogging?
 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Another blogger once said you should post blogs on a schedule so your readers know what to expect. I used to do that at first. Blog posts get squeezed in when time and schedules allow these days.
If you had to wear one type of shoe for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Easy. I pretty much do that already. Since high school I've always worn these black semi-chunky round-toed ankle boots. I got a pair of Nine West Cloud Nine boots before I moved to Manhatten, in 2001.They don't steal any shows, they're just perfectly invisible under jeans and work trousers. But more importantly, I could walk all day long in them and I did, up and down Manhattan. Pretty much 12th to 47th and back everyday. I kept them for over ten years, being diligent with shoe polish to keep them looking respectable for as long as possible. I was sad when they developed holes, but I put them right in the trash when I found a pristine pair on ebay last year (of course Nine West doesn't make them anymore) so hopefully I'll have another 13 years with these boots.

photo credit: unknown
That's it. Thank you Jessa for being you and for nominating me for the Liebster.

My ten questions for the next blogger (if they choose to do this)

1.What was the last thing you googled. Be honest.
2.Why did you start a blog?
3.What was the last book you read? or, what book are you currently reading?
4. Do you have any cool scars? How did you get it/them?
5. Dive bar or hotel bar? Why.
6. Where are you traveling to next?
7. What would your last meal on this earth be?
8. What was your first job?
9. Can you tell me two unique things about yourself that I wouldn't know to ask?
10. Do you have a personal ghost story you can share?

Here are some local blogs I regularly read and enjoy.You can call them my Liebster nominees. Nominees, you don't have to continue the chain letter. (In giving you that out, I probably doomed 50 chain letter fairies to death or something. You're welcome, just keeping doing what you're doing).

Lauren, of Wellesley & King Blog 
I enjoy following her adventures in capsule closets. 

 David Conrad, of Clement Crawford
I enjoy his modern day Emerson-esque life and travel essays.

She used to write the Stylish White Female blog, now she's back at it. 

    Liebster Award  rules:
    • Thank the blogger who nominated you.
    • Proudly display the award badge somewhere on your blog.
    • Answer the 10 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
    • Create your own list of 10 questions.
    • Nominate a new blogger to receive the award.

    What are some blogs that you follow that have great writing? I want to read more! Let me know in the comments.

    Your Bosom Friend in Pittsburgh,

    1 comment :

    1. Ah Meryl, thank you for entertaining this chain letter of sorts! As always, you have a way of making me think, even when it is not on purpose. You truly deserve the #SeenBestDressed, that belt is everything all the time! Even better, the smile is just award-winning. Loved your secret spot in the Carnegie Library, added to my list of must-see's in Pittsburgh. Flattery works on me too, and you totally made me blush when reading your introductory. Drinks cannot be had soon enough at Big Jim's xo your fellow kindred spirit


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