Sunday, November 3, 2013


Yesterday was a very good day in all its parts and particulars. I woke up slow, joked around with my husband and son over breakfast, came here and answered all the wise comments on my last post left by my dear friends in this place (I cannot even express how much your words mean to me), then got ready to meet my friend Leslie for a Saturday afternoon wander. We ate a nice organic lunch at the restaurant where my daughter worked as a hostess over the summer, then went to see the movie Kill Your Darlings at an art house theater in the city. I felt very cultured, ripe to be educated.

The movie is about the genesis of the Beat Generation of writers, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac, all of whom were brought together as college students by Lucian Carr, a troubled 19-year-old apparently struggling with his sexuality, who was subsequently accused of murdering an older man (played creepily and pathetically by Michael C. Hall) who had been obsessed with Lucien since his early teens. The killing and its aftermath helped propel the early writings of Ginsberg, Burroughs and Kerouac, although the book Burroughs and Kerouac wrote together about the murder—an uneven novel in which both men were still finding their voice—wasn't published till sixty years later in 2008. Titled And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks, it was not the basis of the movie, directed by John Krokidas. Daniel Radcliffe, formerly of the Harry Potter franchise, plays Allen Ginsberg with a literary and sexual intensity that will make you forget that Potter kid. He willingly allows himself to get ensnared in the psychological manipulations of Lucien Carr, hauntingly portrayed by Dane DeHaan. At one point, Carr abandons a smitten Ginsberg by saying, "I gave you what you wanted. You were ordinary before you met me," or words to that effect.

Kill Your Darlings, in editing parlance, means get rid of those flourishes in your writing that you most love, as they are probably self-indulgent. As an editor, I have never entirely agreed with that, but the idea fits this coming-of-age tale of murder and poetry well, in that it's about young men rejecting the most revered literary and erotic canons of their time, daring to create their own vision of what the literary life might be.

After the movie Leslie and I walked to Lincoln Center Plaza and sat on the rim of the fountain there, in front of the Metropolitan Opera House, just chatting and watching people mill around the fountain's water dance in the cool night air. I felt very much in the moment of my life, not needing to be anywhere but where I was, doing anything other than what I was doing, and these moments, when I pause to notice them, are a gift.

In time we made our way home. I walked into my house to find my husband cleaning up the kitchen and ready to consider dinner. We decided to order Chinese, as he told me our son would soon be home, with company in tow, four of his friends who were planning to watch the Miami U. vs. Florida State game at our house. Soon there were six men with long limbs filling my living room, eating Chinese food and bonding over the game. My husband was happy to have the company to cheer along with him as his beloved alma mater, Miami U., took on their biggest rivals. And I was happy, after dinner, to retire to my bedroom, fully accompanied by the sounds issuing from the front of the house, yet serenely alone with my Kindle and my computer and comfortable bed and cosy comforter. I did a lot of googling of the real life characters from the movie, learning much I had not known despite having been a literature major at the same university these young men attended. As my daughter likes to say, "I've learned more from Google than I ever learned in school."

Here are a couple of random snaps from my very good day.

Lunchtime sky

Pineapple, grape and honey dew juice, nothing but

The dancing fountain

My fellow wanderer


  1. Okay do what you have to do to make money for now but write a book and include all your own photography. I love that you had a great Saturday and I love your writing and photography and if you wrote a book, I would buy it. Sweet Jo

  2. Sounds like practically the perfect day to me. And the pictures- well, they are perfect too.
    Google is one of the most wonderful things ever invented. Even if we DID learn things, we forget them and yet, Google is always there to remind us, for us to re-learn. Or, to learn for the first time. Your daughter is right.

  3. I'm like you - I love culture and learning (no matter what it may be about). It makes my day seem all that more worthwhile. I can't say that my partner is equally as like minded but they do say opposites attract. This sounds like the perfect weekend!

  4. I agree, words, pictures and movie review, all perfect.
    Thank you Angella!

  5. What a day -- thanks for taking me along! I know that I have many "darlings" when I write, and when I go back and edit, I try my best to kill them, but it's difficult. I think, sometimes, that what actually works is to think that phrase while writing -- or at the very least, keep it in my unconscious and staying aware of over-writing. I wasn't going to see that movie, but I think after your review that I will!

  6. That sounds like a fascinating movie! It will probably get to England in, oh, April or so. Ha! The idea of killing your darlings is interesting -- though calling a book "And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks" sounds fairly self-indulgent to me. Allen Ginsberg would no doubt have LOVED to be as good-looking as Daniel Radcliffe!

  7. Okay! A place to go. I intend to find myself in New York next week and have been wondering what in the world to do there since I have only one reason to go and a week in which to do it. I will go to that fountain and think of you...

  8. I've noticed in poetry, we have to kill our darlings a lot. Certain lines we love and try and try to fit and squeeze into place, but sometimes they don't belong and it's not so much a loss as it sounds when you have to kill something you absolutely love from a poem. The line still exists, we can use it again elsewhere. But I think good poets know when to cut the "darlings" for the sake of the poem.

    Beautiful photos. Beautiful.

  9. Sounds like a perfect day, down to being alone doing what you do in your room with the sounds of the men n the other room bonding.

  10. I have to say that I like the idea that you don't totally agree with killing the darlings. So much writing advice seems to be specific to the weaknesses of the writer who uttered it. You know?

    The one time I visited New York, I saw Equus with my dad. Daniel Radcliffe was the lead role. He was so good. You probably know the leads both appear totally naked--and by that point, I was so utterly absorbed by the story that I didn't even really notice I was staring at HARRY POTTER NAKED.

    Sounds like a beautiful day. They are treasures.

  11. You've talked me into it, I now have to see the movie. I love it when Googling the movie afterwards is one of the best parts.