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LIZ DUBELMAN

The Over-Privileged English Teacher

NEW YORK - MAY 04: Model/TV personality Heidi Klum attends "The Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion" Costume Institute Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 4, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

By Laura Cella

My husband Jamie’s job as the CEO of a movie studio came with quite a few social, business, and political obligations. While these events were always glamorous, they were usually not a lot of fun. Well, not a lot of fun for me. Jamie networked and schmoozed and worked the room all night while I perched somewhere with a glass of Pellegrino and watched the Beautiful People in their native habitat. People seldom spoke to me; because I wasn’t in The Business I was all but invisible. Oh every once in a while someone would smile benignly or compliment my outfit, but generally I was thoroughly ignored.

My Private Frida

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by Harriet Reisen

The other day I saw the exhibit of the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo’s garden at the Bronx Botanical Garden. It was a perfect day spent in glorious weather with a new friend. She called it a “play date.” I’d call it a good day to go on a pilgrimage, the kind Chaucer wrote of in The Canterbury Tales centuries ago.
I’d been making pilgrimages to shrines of Frida Kahlo for a very long time, more than twenty-five years, from the day when from far across a slushy winter street a Frida Kahlo self-portrait on an Art in America magazine cover bewitched me. I crossed a network of intersections to get to the Out-Of-Town newsstand in Harvard Square to buy the magazine, although it was expensive, and I had never read it before. The subject of the cover story was an exhibit of Frida Kahlo’s work, at the Gray Gallery in New York. Like a magician’s stooge carrying out a post-hypnotic suggestion, I got on a Boston southbound train to see it.

Deconstructing The Beatles

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By Dan Dubelman

Watch the VidLit here: Deconstructing The Beatles

Intro:

Oh yeah, all right, Are you gonna be in my dreams tonight?

Was it Just a Dream?

I was born in New York City at 6:06pm on January 25th, 1965. John Lennon always said 9s had meaning for him and 6 seems to be my number. My ex-girlfriend said that I have undiagnosed dyslexia, and while I’m not sure if she’s right, 6’s and 9s seem related to me, and it always seems like it’s 6:06 or 6:09 or even 9:09. If six were nine, I don’t mind.

My parents figured I would die. Their first son died, but not before they had two or three years to love and bond with him. Out of fear, they didn’t let too many people touch me. It was okay to look, but don’t touch. If people were going to look at me I had to be entertaining. I had early reinforcement that being able to express myself in a manner in which others were amused brought joy and laughter. I craved this feeling the way a normal person feels when they wake up after a long sleep and the smell of fresh blueberry-banana buckwheat pancakes permeates the air. I know you don’t think buckwheat would be tasty, but you haven’t had mine. Just a small amount of really good maple syrup – the expensive shit you have to buy at the hipster store – really complements the flavor.

Roses and the Snow

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By Laura Cella

It was my twentieth wedding anniversary a few Thursdays ago and my husband Jamie and I went out to dinner. I went with two of his sisters to a restaurant in Manhattan and he joined his cousin and her husband at their house in Santa Monica. He flies home every Friday night and, like a 36-hour clock precisely wound, returns to Los Angeles on Sunday evening.

Sometimes I wonder if the ceramic bride and groom on our wedding cake were accidentally placed facing in opposite directions. While living in the same place at the same time has sometimes proved difficult, our marriage only became a cross-country relay event three years ago, when he became the President and CEO of The Culver Studios, known throughout the movie-going world as the big, white house seen in the introductory frame of every David O. Selznick film.

While living simultaneous lives on opposite coasts can be Hell, it also comes with unexpected moments of incomparable sweetness that I don’t think would be there if we were together all the time. Sometimes these moments are simultaneous. Sometimes they involve snow.

The Perfect Mug

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By Wendy Murray

Watch the VidLit: The Perfect Mug

Sunday

I drive an old car. It wasn’t intentional. It wasn’t that I went out looking for an old car as opposed to a new one that purrs with the power of a lawnmower.

I drive an old car because I had an old dog and a Volvo station wagon was the perfect shape for her to stretch out and look at the passing traffic.

The part of me that is British drinks tea every morning. Made in a tea pot, with loose leaf tea, with boiling water from my blue kettle. Whatever time I get up, the first thing I do is trot downstairs and fill the blue kettle with water and put it on the gas flame. The second trot downstairs is to warm the pot and drop in a spoonful of smokey tea, pop on the hand knitted tea cosy and go upstairs to finish with the shoes and the hairbrush and the toothpaste, before coming down to pour the properly steeped tea into a mug and head out into the world.

And this is where I come back to my old Volvo. In 1995, when my Volvo came rolling off the production line in Sweden, people had breakfast in their houses. No one bought water in bottles or double skim lattes in cardboard cups. In my Volvo there is the flimsiest of cup holders, which slides out from the armrest and would be hard pressed to hold an ice cream cone vertically.

MY GRAMA WAS KEITH RICHARDS

Lynn and Grama II

By Lynn Snowden Picket

 

My paternal grandmother was Keith Richards, if you take away the looks, the talent, and the British accent. Like Keith, my grama was unkillable. Until she finally died at the age of 95, I was wondering, with a growing sense of horror, whether she would ever die. I was starting to contemplate whether I could, without attracting undue attention, walk through the corridors of her nursing home with a wooden stake and a mallet. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

My grandmother married my grandfather when she was sixteen, and had my father when she was nearly seventeen. Oh, how nice, you might be thinking, but you would be wrong. All children are guilt-tripped into visiting more often, but when my grama badgered my dad into promising to see her once a week, it meant a seventy-eight-year-old man was obliged to be on the road for three hours each way, crossing over the Pocono mountains in the dead of winter, to dutifully visit his ninety-four-year-old mother, who would only berate him for not visiting more often. But I’m still getting ahead of myself.

Here’s what you really need to know about my grama: Despite the continuing, and long-suffering presence of my grandfather, my father, the elder of two sons, was the love of her life.

MANTRA

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By Jennie Baird

“I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours.”

My brother and I were waiting outside for our mother.

That morning she’d dropped us off at this suburban hotel, a nondescript, low-slung building among many similar buildings, set back in a parking lot off a local highway not too far from our home. All of the buildings and parking lots along this stretch of road were the same to me – the fabric store, the paint store, each of them had big plate glass windows and painted signs. Our mother often took us from this place to that place running errands. Into the car, out of the car, stand here, wait there. Occasionally, she let us wait in the car. But today was different. We weren’t running errands and we weren’t staying with her.

“This day is very important,” our mother told us. “Pay attention to everything. Do whatever they tell you. And behave.”

The three of us walked through the lobby. I clung to our mother’s side as she stood at a long table talking to a man and writing something down on an index card. Then she said goodbye and told us that she’d meet us on the curb outside when it was over. Josh was in charge and I was to stay with him at all times. I would never think to do otherwise.

A young woman who was wearing a white robe and had long wavy golden hair ushered us into a large room. She must have spoken, but her voice was quiet, almost as if she could speak without making a sound.

There were lots of grown-ups inside the large room, most of them also wearing white robes. Some of them accompanied children, while others talked amongst themselves. The room was full of children, ordinary children just like us. At five, I may have been the youngest. There must have been chairs and a podium at the front, too. We stopped just inside the doors and found a place on the floor. Nearby, two girls played Miss Mary Mack and Oh Little Playmate. They clapped palms and backs of hands. They held hands and pulled each other to and fro, whispering the lyrics of the songs. I loved the words: “Oh little playmate, come out and play with me, climb up my apple tree, slide down my rainbow, into my cellar door and we’ll be friends friends friends friends forever more more more more.” I didn’t know what a cellar door was, but I wanted one, just so I could slide down a rainbow into it.

Josh took up with a group of older children sitting on the other side of him. They were talking about I don’t know what and of course he joined right in. That was part of being older. I wasn’t included, but I stayed close, making sure I always had my brother in my line of sight. I would be older one day, too.

Soon, there was an announcement over a loudspeaker asking for quiet and then other voices came on as well, but Josh and his new friends kept on chattering, though more quietly than before. They weren’t the only ones, either. The low buzz of children whispering and shifting and wriggling continued. I can’t remember if I wasn’t interested in the voices on the loudspeaker. Maybe I just couldn’t make sense of what they were saying. I kept my eyes on my brother. It was a crowded room. If I lost track of him, I would be lost. And without him, I would never find my way back to our mother.

After a while, we were told to go with a particular group of children to a smaller room. The woman with the golden waves led us there. The sun shone into the lobby and cast a spray of light around her hair and I thought to myself, “This is what angels must look like, only with wings.”

OUR BUBBIES, OUR SELVES

(Remember, if you’re an artist, animator, illustrator, filmmaker, sound designer and want to collaborate with us, please, click on the “artist” button from the post page.)

Let’s face it, we’ve all been in therapy over our mothers and we’ve all come to the same conclusion: they did the best they could. And while that seems to satisfy some, the rest of us continue our investigation as to WHY that was only the best that they could do by looking at THEIR mothers — our GRANDMOTHERS.
And so we present:

 

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BIRDIE

by Barbara Davilman

 

Remember, if you’re an artist, animator, illustrator, filmmaker, sound designer and want to collaborate with us, please, click on the “artist” button from the post page.