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Edie Sedgwick, Signs and Sirens Superstar

A beautiful birdie reminded me today is the birthday of Edie Sedgwick, she of the ermine hair, silvery limbs, eyes like a Day of the Dead painting. Edie’s glamour was rooted in the visibility of her exoskeleton, and the most iconic photographs taken of her caress those cheekbones, clavicle, hipbones, the tiny exposed infrastructure of her wrists and upper arms. I still admire the effect though her eating disorder helped launch my own. I even had a name for it: Glamourosa nervosa.

Dying the year I was born, she would have been 76 today, but Edie never was going to live that long. Hers was the last-hurrah glow of a star shooting into oblivion, her no-holds-barred radiance the original heroin chic. Yet even at her most junked-up, goth was as far from her aesthetic as from a Swedish nun. Now that I’m twenty years older than she ever became, I grok her poor-little-rich-girl limitations—namely, being the art rather than making the art. Not even today can you live into your 30s without learning to live without an audience. Still, I’m so grateful for how she lit our path with striped shirts and chandelier earrings. To those of us bridging the mid-20th century and the new millennium (aka we Gen Xers looking backward to find our future), Edie was all the 1960s at once and we loved her for it.

Stop the Clock (Book Excerpt)

Head

I’m back in book and here’s a tiny tiny snatch of what I’ve been working on this week. Oh such a relief to be back in 1987 Boston, ugly and beautiful just like everything else.

Even as my first romance was happening I was remembering it and wishing for it too. Like all girls without a safe haven, I’ve always been willing to throw over so much for a here-you-are-my-other kiss. For that walk, hand in hand, into a future that doesn’t loom so much as beckon.

For here with Matt was all the magic I’d been looking for. Dark clouds were blown away and I could smell the future as present, sweet as soil, soft as rain. With this boy I could lie all day and look up at trees that glowed. Trust that he had a clock whose hands didn’t just move forward but everywhere at once.

Alone we dipped into the galleries of the Isabella Stewart Gardner, pretending the whole mansion was ours–the paintings, chapel and courtyard, all of it. Down the Fens we moseyed (past my mother twenty years before, lolling in the sun with cigarettes and half-closed eyes), first to the MFA then across Storrow Drive, glittering like the Charles by which it slid. On the Blue Line we rode all the way to Revere Beach, where we stared at steel waves, so different from the Outer Cape’s unfettered glamour. From Portuguese-speaking vendors roaming the trash-strewn beach we bought pineapple sodas and spicy meat pies enhanced by the reefers passed around by the old winos up and down the sand. Continue Reading →

Bibi’s Touch (RIP Lady Andersson)

I’ve had this picture of Bibi Andersson taped to my icebox for as long I’ve lived in my apartment, which, coincidentally, is as long as I’ve been a sexually self-possessed woman. Really, it’s no coincidence at all, because Andersson was a wonderful role model in this department. Traditionally cinema has been a place where women mirror men’s desire rather than channel their own, and even now realistic female orgasms are the unicorns of the silver screen. Through all this Stepford sexuality strode Andersson, she of the cupid mouth and shark eyes—-a supreme subject rather than object. Once I invited a suitor up for a proverbial nightcap, and he took a long look at her flinty mug and said, “Why do you have this pissy blonde on your fridge?” “Cuz like seeks like,” I answered and swiftly showed him the door.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy