Thing of the Week: The Country Girls Trilogy, Cher in Moonstruck, Liz's List Of Best Things From When She Was 15

LJ'S THING OF THE WEEK: The Country Girls Trilogy by Edna O'Brien

On Saturday afternoon I decided to take myself out for ramen because the ramen place on Bloor Street is the only restaurant in my neighbourhood I'd never been to, not counting the sushi place named "Sushi Couture," but I will never eat at Sushi Couture. Sorry world, but I just can't bring myself to eat food at restaurants whose names are Juicy Couture puns. I think that's fair. 

Before ramen, which wasn't very exciting (why do I ever try new things), I stopped into a used bookstore to buy a new book. I had no plan for book-buying but had a very strong feeling that, once I arrived, a book in the bookstore would call out to me and I would feel spiritually connected to that book and care about it a lot and it would do many great things for me as a writer. Then when I got there I started freaking out that maybe it wasn't going to happen and I spent a long time wandering around holding On Beauty and using it to smack myself on the other palm but I was just like "Nope, nope, nope," there is no way in the world I could ever feel spiritually, or even non-spiritually, connected to Zadie Smith. We are like oil and water we are. 

Then I found The Country Girls Trilogy, which is three books in one volume, and read the back and it said "ambitious Irish country girls" and "a whirl of comic and touching misadventures" and "the pain and joy of youth" and then I checked what years they were written in and they were total best case scenario years- 1960! 1962! 1964! And also in my head I'd thought "I need to buy a book by a person who lives in London" (I'm aiming to move to London in January 2014) and then Edna O'Brien's author bio included the sentence "She lives in London." So, you know, DING DING DING. I bought it. 

I ate my shitty ramen (I only liked the egg) and fell immediately in love (with the book not the egg). Edna O'Brien writes like a more luxurious Ernest Hemingway and there's a sentence that kills me on every page. For instance: 

-But he did go, my new god, with a face carved out of pale marble and eyes that made me sad for every woman who hadn't known him. 
-The moment I heard him speak and the moment I looked at his eyes, my heart always fluttered. His eyes were tired or sad or something.
-Somehow she was more dead than anyone I had ever heard of. 

And there's a lot of honey and cream and lilac and Alsatians, a place called The Greyhound Hotel, lemonade, foals, one part that goes the pink trifle with a slice of peach, a glace cherry, a cut banana, and uneven lumps of sponge cake, the smell of hay, blossoms, etc. It's the kind of writing that makes me really excited to write and be a writer. I've had a weird year about writing, really grew to resent it for awhile there, but now I'm back in love and chiller than ever. I know these books are going to be huge for this new era of my voice.

At work last night I was saying something about being a writer and the new line cook said "You're a writer?!?" and I laughed because he sounded so impressed. "Yes," I said, "Are you impressed?" and he nodded very enthusiastically. I shrugged, "Yeah, I'm impressed too" and everyone laughed. I hadn't meant it to be funny though I see how it was and I laughed too, but really I think we all- all us writers, and artists, and everybody- let's just take this moment to be impressed with ourselves. 

JEN'S THING OF THE WEEK: Cher in Moonstruck

On Wednesday night I had a horrendous headache. I could not stand. Maybe it was a migraine? I'm not sure. I feel like I get migraines but i don't know officially so I never say things like, "I had a migraine". Either way, I felt awful and could not stand. I could only lay on my couch and watch Moonstruck with my cat Spock. I think if I tried to watch anything else I may have died (not true). Moonstruck, specifically Cher, was the perfect and only medication I could get. This is what I love about Cher in Moonstruck: everything. This is what I extra love about Cher in Moonstruck: her Italian accent. Oh my god. I love it. Also, did you see the real life moon on Wednesday? It was magnificent and Jupiter was hanging out next to it.

LIZ'S THING OF THE WEEK: My List Of Best Things From When I Was 15

On Monday, at home, I found a notebook from when I was 15-years-old. Inside the front cover there's lots of motivational quotes from people like Henry David Thoreau, J.D. Salinger, Kurt Cobain, Eddie Vedder, Billy Corgan, Robyn Hitchcock, Camper Van Beethoven, etc.; inside the back cover there's a list of my favorite things, which includes:

-black roses
-Jane's Addiction
-Sonic Youth
-"names like 'Poppy Z. Brite'"
-Chinese food
-Sassy magazine
-Tanya Donelly
-The Lemonheads
-Juliana Hatfield
-Evan Dando
-Johnny Depp
-Keanu Reeves
-Sylvia Plath

And that's "pyromania" as in the "the uncontrollable impulse and practice of setting things on fire," and not the Def Leppard record. I am not a pyromaniac and I don't remember ever being really into pyromania, although I do remember writing a story about a sexy arsonist who loved The Clash and was way spiritual, which was possibly around the same time that I wrote this list. I was really hoping to find the notebook whose cover I graffiti'd with the words "WITHDRAWAL IN DISGUST IS NOT THE SAME AS APATHY," but this one's probably the next best thing.


  1. Anonymous30.11.12

    Jen, about the real life moon on Wednesday and Jupiter's being right there: my mother took a picture of it, only on Thursday, but the point is that when you zoom in the picture you can see the moons of Jupiter. From just a normal camera that normal people buy. It amazes me.

    You can see the details of outer space without even trying (much).

    1. that is so beautiful. SO BEAUTIFUL.

  2. LJ: i did not enjoy ON BEAUTY at allllll, so that's a doubly good move to me.

  3. God you guys are, like, the best.

  4. i LOVE seeing the teenage things of adult ladies I admire now. also, liz, i was reading two of your zines ("like dreamers do" and "a hard day's night") today and yesterday on the subway, and they made my days so much better.

    1. Awww that makes me so happy! Thanks, Mary xoxoxo

  5. I'm reading this so late, but whatever. Jen, do you know what I love about Cher in Moonstruck (aside from everything) her gray hairs, before she gets all done up. I love that. LOVE this movie.