Apr 5, 2007

So I handed in my book last week and then flew off to Charlotte with my sister in order to peruse this strange southern city. Despite having heard many unpleasant things about it I had a huge bias in its favor, since Charlotte makes me think of lush brown hair and long eyelashes and glittering webs and is just an extremely gorgeous word all on its own. I mean, that is a word reclining on a chaise lounge if I ever heard one, a word that should be sipping iced tea. And I liked it: there are trees dropping over everything in charming fashione, and it's very clean, very pretty. But then on Saturday I was not only attacked by furniture-polish-scented body lotion but we were kidnapped by a realtor who drove us around for five hours in a Mercedes SUV listening to Phil Collins so that we could see every depressing apartment complex in the city, the kind where your gym and your coffee bar and your pool and your club room and your bbq pit are all within a few feet of your apartment and big gates separate you and your neighbors from the world at large. So despite our ambitious plans to go to Asheville and/or to explore the more charming aspect of the town that afternoon and evening, we stayed in the hotel to recover mentally and emotionally, and we ordered in room service and watched The Painted Veil. Which was extremely romantic and sweeping and weepy and Garbo-esque, as it happened, and renewed my deep and sincere affection for Edward Norton. Then on Sunday we met the generous and beauteous DJ Spider and her John-Doe-esque beau, and they told us all kinds of cool things about the city but then we had to go to the airport almost directly after, where we were whisked into a storm and almost died.

Monday, my friend Massie and I saw Frost Nixon. Frank Langella plays Nixon, and the play's about his first post-Watergate interview where he apologizes for letting down the American people, and all the events and tension that lead to that moment. The play is way more funny and snappy and smart than you'd think--totally engaging, poppy--and Frank Langella is brilliant. What an intense character--this damaged, impossible, larger-than-life man. And I managed to appreciate all this even though Massie had adorned her ears with giant silver beetle earrings that have traumatized me for life.

In other news, I am now extremely obsessed with novel 4 though I am trying to get back into the noir to finish it over the summer. But the fourth book will be set in 13th century Florence and have to do with Dante, and so I needs to do some research and planning. Yesterday I ordered several bios of Dante and histories of the city, and went home and racked my bookshelves for all my medieval stuff. I am planning a three-week trip to Florence next fall and yesterday wrote a few pages of notes. I have to say: one thing I love about this period is how totally funny and weird it was, how Dante and his friends wrote extremely ridiculous poems to each other about LOVE and the beautiful women they admired from afar, and even composed lists of the most beautiful women in Florence with absolute dead seriousness. When bringing one's modern sensibility to it, one cannot help but note that it is, by far, the wussiest poetry ever written. The end.