Hello, Failure

Of all the enemies of literature, success is the most insidious

Monday, December 06, 2004

Failure of the Day: Weekend

Honestly, just a fabulous weekend. Every year around this time Chris’s parents come up to the city; we all go to lunch at the Cheesecake Factory and then do a bit of shopping at the Macy’s Holiday store. It makes for a lovely afternoon. They are adorable and really quite swank with their crabcakes and Saturday morning Bloody Marys. Plus they just love Chris to pieces and that’s such a pleasure to be around.

That was capped off on Saturday night when Jeff’s blog introduced me to the instantly beloved Joanna Newsom, and possibly the best song I’ve heard so far this century. And if her voice sounds like Lisa Simpson thrown into a bag of cats—and it does...a lot—the spectrum of what can be pleasing in a human voice becomes much broader when you listen to her, I thought. I tend to dislike female singers because so often they try only to sound pretty, and pretty is, y’know, just fine, but it’s still only one thing and there are plenty of other things to be. Her voice is so naturally unusual that it somehow encompasses all the variations of femininity without any of the exclusivity of your various subcultures. How much do I like her voice? Her lyrics are spectacular and I barely even noticed until 10th listen or so.

On Sunday we had dinner with Chris’s parents again, this time at the simultaneously comforting and impressive house of Chris’s great aunt Lidia and great uncle Paul, who live here in the city, in Cow Hollow. I had a great stroke of luck where Lidia is concerned; I met her for the first time 6 years ago when I was student teaching at Galileo High, which is where she graduated from some 65 years ago. Within 30 seconds of meeting me then, and upon my setting foot in her home last night, she was singing the Galileo fight song.

Lidia is hilarious and a wonderful cook, and Paul is a completely fascinating WWII vet and retired bigwig at BofA who’s traveled everywhere in the world and is all but bursting with stories. It was just about the most fun I’d ever had. I tell you, I’m doing my damnedest to keep hating xmas, I am. But I’m failing.


  • At December 07, 2004 9:04 AM, Blogger Jeff Lester said…

    Yay! I am so very, very glad you like the J.N. I've been listening to it non-stop. I'm glad I'm not the only one who also just liked the sound of it so much, and then got blown away by the lyrics.

    Glad to hear about the in-laws--I dig Edi's family, but *my* family can make me cringe when they're around her. It at least offers the comfort of assuring her that I come by my self-absorption honestly...

  • At December 07, 2004 1:19 PM, Blogger Nancy said…

    Golly! Cringing at one's own family? I simply cannot relate..


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