We’re bigger movie-watchers in my house than TV-watchers. This is not generally a problem for us, except when we realize that we’re completely clueless about something that everyone else is buzzing about. A Superbowl commercial, for instance, or The Office. To this day, I have never heard Paris Hilton’s voice. I’m not sure that’s a bad thing, but it’s kind of odd, given the hysteria about her a few years ago.
When I was teaching, this was actually a significant handicap. I didn’t know what or who my students were talking about half the time.
So I made an investment. A subscription to People magazine.
(By the way, People has a phenomenal book reviews section. And I’m not just saying that because they called The Weird Sisters “delightful”, or because one of my favorite people and writers, Caroline Leavitt, reviews for them. They’re really good, and I wish the section were five times the size.)
I’ve got lots of conflicted feelings about celebrity culture – both our consumption of it, and the life that stars end up leading because of our consumption of it. And don’t even getting me started on their kids’ inclusion in these magazines.
What was I talking about?
Oh! People. I actually adore magazines, and find that I get so many good ideas from them. I once saw a picture of Jennifer Aniston with her real estate agent, that for some reason just sparked a whole flood of ideas. My image of what the Andreas sisters in The Weird Sisters looked like came from a magazine ad for an investment firm in Marie Claire (they also have great book picks). I love the way writers for The New Yorker encapsulate an entire story in only a few hundred words in their Talk of the Town section.
What are your unlikely sources of inspiration?