bits of silly

January 26th, 2011

I have a new child. She arrived over the weekend after I sent Willa to her room for a time out. When I went to get her out of time out, I discovered that Willa was gone and in her place was Kyra. Kyra looks, sounds, dresses exactly like Willa. But they are not the same. Kyra is from an orphanage in California.  She is also way better behaved. Kyra stayed all weekend. (Willa, apparently, had taken off swimming across the ocean.) There was no breaking of character. Uta Hagen would’ve been impressed.  If you called the resident six-year-old Willa or discussed her as Willa, she’d respond, even from the other room, “I’m not Willa!” She also made me show her where everything was—water glasses, toothbrushes, clothes—because of course, it was all unfamiliar. And she regaled me with how things were done out there at the orphanage in California. Twenty girls, they all have their own rooms. Lord knows why she wants to live here.

You could read the tolerance in Willa’s friends faces over the weekend. One little girl from upstairs looked totally freaked out and when she and Kyra went to dance class together, stayed far away from the Changeling. Others, good-naturedly talked to “Kyra” with a wink and a smile. But little sister Denbele, who spent the last few days home sick—”I barfed!” she told anyone who would listen—and who I thought would be fully muddled by this concept as her language is still kind of iffy (the difference between boys and girls baffles her and though I like to think it’s because she’s so much more enlightened about gender than the rest of us, I suspect that’s not the case) seemed to totally get it. “She’s Keewah,” she kept telling me any time I slipped and called Kyra Willa. And it was hard to keep track. Willa came back Sunday night. Yesterday Kyra was back. It’s hard to know who will wake up in the bed this morning.  I’ve told Kyra we’d happily adopt her if she doesn’t mind sharing the top bunk,  but that we need Willa to come back, too.

I’m not sure what this all means. Is my child a budding writer? Actress? Schizophrenic? Or is she just very influenced by books? We have been reading The Magic Half by Annie Barrows in which two twins, one living in present day, one living with a mean family in the 1930s, find each other by magic and find a way to be reunited. I won’t spoil the ending but the metaphysics of it have been causing Willa major Woah moments, like in Animal House when the stoned guy starts contemplating the whole what-if-there’s-a-world-in-my-thumb?

Sigh, if only I could capture the younger voice, I’d have such a wealth of books to write inspired by my kids.

In other news, Oscar nominations came out recently. I’m not sure how I feel about ten movies for Best Picture. I mean, Inception was an interesting mind-bending movie but Best Picture? And Winter’s Bone. I do appreciate a small indie creeping in but this movie was kind of trite, replete with every stereotype of poor southern mountain folk you can imagine, and lots of bad teeth. Also, I’m not sure when it happened, but I’ve become a Natalie Portman Hater. And if she beats Annette Benning because she’s a smug pregnant lady who sprouted wings, I will have to vomit.

Annette Benning is such a good subtle actress, the best actress out there if you ask me. And she took off all those years to raise her kids. And she’s not campaigning to win and if she doesn’t win because of that, I will be upset and will have to conclude that Hollywood is stoopid. Oh, wait.

But on the not upside side of things, can we take a moment to savor the hotness of the best actor/supporting actor categories. Jack Nicholson is nowhere in sight. (Neither is Ryan Gosling but let’s not be greedy.)

(Hmm, now that I look at all these pictures, I’m seeing how white it all is. Did any actors of color get nominated this year? Hmm, no. Apparently they all have to get lumped in at once. Did I mention the stoopid? Also Tangled didn’t get nominated for best animated feature. What is going on?)

Lastly, did anyone watch the State of the Union address last night? I fell asleep about halfway through. I saw enough to say that Obama needs to take some tips on comic timing from Jon Stewart. I know it’s a tough room but his jokes made me cringe. They sounded more like a student-council president than you know, a President. But maybe that was appropriate. Did you see or hear about how all the Democrats and Republicans sat together instead of the Dems on the left and Repubs on the right?  It was all a big show of unity in the aftermath of the Tucson shooting. But here’s the hilarious part. The grownups in Congress were so scared about who they were gonna sit with and not wanting to be caught out with no one cool to sit next to, they went and made dates for opposition party, State of the Union seatmates. So John McCain and John Kerry sat together. It was so cute. Do you think they held hands? Had a goodnight kiss at the front door?  Eric Cantor, the smarmy House Majority Leader asked out former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (Did he call? Send a little note: Will you sit with me? Check yes, no, or I will if you don’t repeal healthcare). But Nancy already had a date. She tweeted to Eric: I thank @GOPLeader for his #SOTU offer, but I invited my friend Rep. Bartlett from MD yesterday & am pleased he accepted.

These are the people running are country!

And in case you were wondering, it’s true. High school never ends.

  1. Writer, actress, or both! I love this. And she’s good, too, keeping in character like that. Wonderful. Next read her Most beloved sister by Astrid Lindgren and see where that takes her :)

  2. Gayle, I *heart* you. I didn’t watch the SOTU because I was chasing down my car after it was towed–love NYC–so thanks for the recap.

    I agree, Inception was very interesting, but I don’t think I’d call it the best picture.

    And Willa’s imagination is amazing. She’s a very lucky girl to have a mom who encourages that creativity.

  3. Haha about Kyra. I think that’s the cutest thing ever! I think it means that Willa is a genius! The level of detail involved–needing to be shown where everything was…she REALLY had to get in character. Love it! Also…I’m getting sick of N.Port too…

  4. I also watched the announcements realizing how white (and white male for the directors) the nominee list is. This is nothing new. It says a lot about what films are made (whose stories are told) and how widely they are distributed, as much as it says about whose achievements are celebrated in the US film industry. The only person of color as far as I can tell in the main nomination categories is Hailee Steinfeld, who is mixed race though she plays a seemingly white character. (She’s also awesome and should have been nominated in the Best Actress category – politics – cause she totally owns that film).

    I watched the announcements at the gym via the Today Show and they interviewed both Colin Firth and James Franco. And James Franco called host Meredith out on her promises to Firth…hilarious…I don’t think she gets the connotation Franco (and many others) heard in her offer to Firth.

  5. Awww what a cute story! You totally had me hooked until you admitted your hatred of Portman and Winter’s Bone. :(

  6. I didn’t HATE Winter’s Bone. But I had all these high expectations of it being BEST FILM of the year. And it was just trite story in indie clothes. The actress was amazing. I’ll give you that. Glad she was nominated.

    And Hailee Steinfeld–OMG!!! She did own that movie. The weirdness of the Oscars. She’s in every scene. How is she supporting? But I get it. She wouldn’t have a chance in the Best Actress category.

    And I know this is early but Hailee as Katniss. Are you feeling it?

    As for Natalie. You will all get there. Remember, you all once loved Gwyneth Paltrow, too. And now, even after Glee, she’s horribly annoying and smug. Nat’s on the path. Trust me.

  7. re: Winter’s Bone – I agree. It was good, but best movie of the year? Not so much. I do love John Hawkes though and am glad he was nominated for his work in this film.

    Yes, Hailee as Katniss would be a wonderful wonderful thing.

    And for the record, I never loved Gwyneth Paltrow :)

  8. A few things:

    When can I meet Kyra?
    Totally agree with you about Annette Bening (though I don’t hate Natalie Portman).
    The line about McCain and Kerry had me laughing out loud and when I read the Pelosi tweet, I nearly fell off the couch!


  9. I did read the NY Magazine piece. God, how much do I love NY Magazine? It’s almost enough to make up for my swelling hatred of the city right now. So. Much. Snow. Where are the snowplows?????

    And I want to make this clear, I made up Eric Cantor’s note to Pelosi asking her to the dance, I mean State of the Union. But her tweet back to him is real. I read about it in the NY Times article that I linked to in the post. Sometimes, you just can’t make this stuff up! Well, maybe Kyra can, but I can’t.

  10. I swear my head has been in the clouds. I have not seen any of the movies except Inception which admittedly blew my mind a little, but not sure about best film for that one.

    I have nothing to say about Natalie except I choked on my coffee when you said she is a smug pregnant lady who sprouted wings LOL! I feel a drawing coming on.

    As for the SOTU… gah. I can’t even stand it. I didn’t listen, even though I was interested in what would be said. The whole thing about who sits with who was SO like a high school cafeteria. And, I always left and ate on the lawn or climbed into the rafters above the auditorium. Clearly I was one of the cook kids. I graduated high school in 98, I don’t want to witness the people who run this country acting like we are all still there. *vomit*

    As for Willa, that is the greatest story ever! When I send one of my children to their room for a time out, I am lucky if they come back any nicer than when they were sent.

  11. I have to say I LOVED Inception. I just did. I haven’t put 5 stars on a movie in Netflix since… I don’t know when! Maybe it was just a big surprise to me – I didn’t expect to get sucked in like I did.

    I missed the State of the Union for my daughter’s orchestra concert but caught a recap later on. I truly hate that it takes death to get those people to even try to appear like they’re working together. The worse the tragedy, the longer they’ll pull together. I am so sad that I don’t feel this will change anything – it’s just a little blip and they’ll get back to normal, for them, soon enough. I so hope to be proven wrong — and maybe with it being “one of their own”, I will be…

  12. Hi! I’m a huge fan of yours:)
    I just had to tell you that recently my figure skating coaches daughter, who is 5, started doing the exact same thing as yours! It’s crazy.
    Love your commentary on the people who run our country, though I’m slightly offended you would compare them to high-school kids. I’m in high-school and I assure you I am more mature then them! :)

  13. Grace, you are right, my deep apologies.
    Though I do somehow differentiate between high school as an institution (often suckful) and teenagers (generally made of awesome). I don’t know why they’re different but they are.

  14. So cute! Maybe she will follow in her mom’s footsteps and become a writer!

  15. Well, I don’t know. I haven’t HEARD Obama in a while, since I really prefer getting my news on the page, so maybe I was overly susceptible, but he had me in tears a couple of times. I kept thinking, A leader! Please be a leader! And I think he came through.

  16. Obama had me totally crying in his Tucson speech–see earlier post about that. This speech was fine. The jokes just fell flat. That’s okay. The seating arrangements were SO funny!

  17. This entire post had me laughing out loud! Oh, man *wipes tears* *laughs more*. I did NOT know about State of the Union date-night, but have decided that ‘MCerry’ is my new favorite couple (and word).

    The problem with Gwyneth and Natalie is that they always seem very pleased with themselves. Annoying.

    Oh, and Ryan Gosling was robbed. I would have at least liked to see him in the audience clapping when Colin Firth wins.

  18. Alexis: seeming pleased with yourself is the definition of smug. And those two are smug. And I agree about Ryan Gosling. We could swap Franco for him. Franco’s hosting, right? That’s just weird.

  19. Dear Gayle,
    I read about your new daughter Kyra. She sounds lovely and I am glad that in many ways she resembles Willa, because you know how deeply I love her. But tell Kyra, that I will love her just as much, no matter what, but will miss Willa when she isn’t there.

    Let me also remind Willa’s Mom, that she,too, had a great imagination when she was younger, writing stories in kindergarden that her Mother left her locked in the closet and went away on vacation with everybody else. Actually, that was hardly the case as we know.

    Hope little Denbele is feeling better and whether it is Willa or Kyra, please give your daughers a very special hug and kiss from Nana…and to you and Nick as well.

  20. Love the changeling story. Our little boy is only 9 months old, but behind his mischievous grin, I can imagine similar pranks.

    I vote for budding novelist.

    I think she should be friends with the protag’s niece in my new YA novel, What Can’t Wait. Anita could give Willa (or Kyra) some new stories.

  21. This made me miss you three girls as much as I’ve missed anything about NY in months. I’ll most likely be back in Brooklyn at the end of June. As much fun as Kyra sounds, I’d rather see Willa.

    ps. I have it on good authority that McCain tried something fresh after the speech and got slapped like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day.

  22. i know this has no relevence whatsoever to this blog. I know it’s likly you’ll never read this but I’d just wanted to let you know that I’ve just finished Where She Went a few days ago and I thought it was just so inspiring. I loved If I Stay also. I’ve listened to all the songs. and i was just wondering…do you ever get writers block? i hate it and have had it and am in and out of it all the time i wanted to know if you would have a cure! it’s like the holy grail!
    I’d also love to ask you if you have any advice to writers trying to make it.

    yours hopefully, trully and lovingly

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