Archive for June, 2016

Quote of the day: REJECTION

June 30, 2016


What has being a writer taught you about rejection?

Well my first novel, Forgetting Elena wasn’t really my first novel. It was about my fifth novel, but I had submitted maybe three of them, they had all been rejected, and then this one, Forgetting Elena, which I thought was actually good was rejected by 22 publishers. In those days you couldn’t multiple submit, you had to wait until one person rejected it until you submitted it again. Anyway one of our best publishers Knopf was considering that book for maybe six months, and then they finally rejected it.

I was living in Rome, and I remember going to American Express and getting my mail, and reading the rejection letter, and I just sobbed, and sobbed, and sobbed. I was walking along through the forum, and I was saying, “I can’t speak, I can’t speak, they won’t let me speak.” I was sobbing away, and then I decided although I’m in atheist, I always make bargains with God, and so I made bargain God that if he sent me a beautiful angel, or a man, that I would not commit suicide.

The next thing you know this really handsome blonde Venetian came up to me and said, “Oh why are you crying? Can I help you?” We went to bed, we had a little affair, I was 29, but what did I learn from it? I guess I learned from it that God exists although I’m an atheist.

–Edmund White

photo by Ethan Hill

                                       photo by Ethan Hill



Photo diary: Firenze farewell

June 29, 2016

(click photos twice to enlarge)

After breakfast on Saturday, we said goodbye to our beautiful house, and our friendly companions dispersed to their next destinations.

6-18 il tribbio exterior approach6-18 breakfast spread6-18 john and nick's breakfast tabledon john andy by salvato
Andy and I returned to Casa Howard in Florence, where we spent part of the afternoon wandering around the Oltr’Arno window-shopping (dazzling housewares, the coolest jazz record store ever) and enjoying the witty graffiti (iconic American as blockhead) until we noticed a poster announcing that the Tuscan gay pride parade was taking place…today! In fact, right now!

6-18 san jacopo showroom6-18 twisted jazz shop6-18 blockhead graffiti6-18 pride is contagious
So we wended our way back to the other side of the river and eventually found the parade, full of enthusiastic youngsters who kept waving at someone over our heads — we crossed the street to see who it was, and it was all-purpose Nonna, beaming beatifically at the marchers and accepting their excited greetings.

6-18 waving to nonna6-18 butterflies poster6-18 carabinieri
Then it was time to park in a pleasant piazza for a classic Italian cocktail (Negroni) with classic Italian cocktail snacks (potato chips).

6-18 negronis and nibblies
We followed a costumed marching band from Lucca to the Piazza della Signoria, where they mingled with the plethora of homoerotic statues, new sculpture by Belgian artist Jan Fabre, and a wedding photographer taking his job very seriously.

6-18 marching band from lucca6-18 look at that schnozz6-18 lucca hottie6-18 speak softly and take a good sniff6-18 jan fabre and faux david6-18 wedding pictures
We had dinner al fresco at Michael’s first choice, where the waiter engaged us in zesty conversations about wine and American politics and where Andy ordered one of the most sublime dishes we ate all week, gnudi with spinach and sage. Gelato, a good night’s sleep, and off to the airport. Va bene!

6-18 last supper in florence6-18 delicious gnudi6-18 housewares display

Photo diary: Come Back to Your Senses, day 6 (Montepulciano)

June 29, 2016

(click photos twice to enlarge)

On our last day together, we took an expedition to Montepulciano, where I’d never been and which turned out to be an exquisitely beautiful and charming town to visit. It’s one of the highest Tuscan hill towns. From the top of the bell tower in the Palazzo Communale (Town Hall) the 360-degree views are spectacular.

6-17 montepulciano tower6-17 montepulciano rooftops landscape6-17 from the tower 46-17 bell detail
After strolling around the town encountering unexpected sights and sounds (a tenor serenading passersby with a passionate aria), Andy and I settled down for lunch with Jay and Terry Wayne at a cafe overlooking the main piazza. While a Brazilian couple played flute and piano in the square, we shared a bottle of the local wine, vino nobile de Montepulciano, and I had the tastiest lunch of the week — simple grilled sausage with roasted potatoes.

6-17 boot planters6-17 andy and terry wayne6-17 terry wayne and drinkables6-17 musicians in piazza Barbara Piperno Marco Ruviero6-17 best lunch all week
A spectacular sunset capped our day.

6-17 sunset over tuscan pool

Photo diary: Come Back to Your Senses, day 5 (Sound)

June 29, 2016

(click photos twice to enlarge)

Our plans for Sound Day centered on visiting the abbey at Sant’Antimo, a beautiful austere 14th century rural church where a group of French monks perform the traditional six services of Gregorian chant. John and I have brought groups before, and it’s quite magical to experience classical a cappella singing with the acoustics of an old stone church. We planned to take in the midday service, but sadly on this day the monks were performing it privately, and in the church we heard only a recording of the service. (My theory is that they were in their private quarters in boxer shorts drinking beer, glued to the World Cup championships on their flat-screen TV.) Nevertheless, it’s a peaceful place to visit with scenic backdrops for pictures.

6-16 jesus sant'antimo6-16 larry cornered6-16 sant'antimo sconce6-16 rick with tree trunk6-16 mythical creatures cornerstone6-16 larry crop6-16 soulful andy

We had lunch in nearby Montalcino, celebrated for its wines (brunello di Montalcino and rosso di Montalcino). These are wines that can get quite pricey in the States, so we got a kick out of having a bottle of delicious rosso for local prices. Jennings models a fun jacket that Michael bought recently. And his pasta course took advantage of early truffle season.

6-16 jennings brunello jacket6-16 pici con trufo in montalcino

San Giovanni d’Asso is known for its truffles, and Il Chiostro arranged for us to meet a renowned local truffle hunter named Paolo, who gave us an informative presentation on how truffles are grown, cultivated, and harvested. We met Mimi and Pipo, the dogs who are trained to find truffles — they don’t look like your idea of hunting dogs, do they? And Paolo’s friend Lorenzo served us some truffle-buttered bread while we admired his tattoos. Linda’s dinner started with a plate of extra-delicious antipastos: bresaiola wrapped around field greens, a tiny cooked artichoke, pecorino nero with flecks of truffle.

6-16 paolo truffle hunter and his tool6-16 mimi and pipo6-16 pool cleaner and truffle spreader6-16 pecorino bresaiola artichoke antipasto

Quote of the day: MASTURBATION

June 28, 2016


So if you’re not looking on the internet, what do you jack off to? Are you one of those weirdos who buy porn on DVD?
Here’s a weirder option: Take a little longer and try to get your imagination frothed up to where it gets you off. What a strange exercise! I hadn’t done that since 1998.

And how’s that going for you, masturbation-wise?
It’s gone pretty well. I kinda like it. It also means: Maybe store it up for a while and wait until you actually have a sexual urge. I don’t know what it’s like for women, but for a lot of guys I know — and myself — masturbation is an anxiety release. If I’m trying to get some work done and getting irritated, just go rub one out and it calms you down. It’s a shame to do that as a swap-out for real sexual connection to your virility and your sexual drive. I don’t have a perfect record, but I am trying to see if I can just let a sexual urge be. Having an internet prohibition really helps. I sometimes have gone to jerk off when I’m not even hard. I’m in a bad mood, so let’s put on Google and find something to get me off. That’s happening every second around the world.

–Louis C. K., interviewed by David Marchese in New York magazine

louis ck new york cover

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