Wednesday, August 22, 2007
My twenties were my most tumultuous decade. At least so far. Full of much angst and despair. At the time, I was listening to a lot of Prince and loved the song The Ballad of Dorothy Parker. Something about the song is really hypnotic and I wondered just who was Dorothy Parker. I don't remember exactly when it was, but one day I found some of her poetry and immediately loved it. In her words, she captured what I had often felt. I knew that I wasn't the only one to feel so badly, especially when it came to matters of the heart. She had a quick wit, sharp mind, and felt my future pain even though we both existed on this earth at the same time for a few short years.
Dorothy Parker was born in New Jersey on August 22, 1893 and died on June 7, 1967. I found this picture of her in her Wikipedia entry. Besides her poetry, what I found fascinating about her is that she left her entire estate to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. After he was killed, her estate was transferred to the NAACP.
I love her poem below, Symptom Recital from The Collected Poetry of Dorothy Parker.
I do not like my state of mind;
I'm bitter, querulous, unkind.
I hate my legs, I hate my hands,
I do not yearn for lovelier lands.
I dread the dawn's recurrent light;
I hate to go to bed at night.
I snoot at simple, earnest folk.
I cannot take the gentlest joke.
I find no peace in paint or type.
My world is but a lot of tripe.
I'm disillusioned, empty-breasted.
For what I think, I'd be arrested.
I am not sick, I am not well.
My quondam dreams are shot to hell.
My soul is crushed, my spirit sore;
I do not like me any more.
I cavil, quarrel, grumble, grouse.
I ponder on the narrow house.
I shudder at the thought of men....
I'm due to fall in love again.
Dorothy Parker was a great talent, but she was also deeply troubled and made several attempts at suicide. There is a pretty good movie about her life called Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle starring Jennifer Jason Leigh. I just watched the movie, Double Indemnity for the first time, which is a great film by the way, and sets the standard for the film noir genre. The music is moody, there are lots of shadows and the cruel and gritty side of life is highlighted.
When I thought of Dorothy Parker's poetry and life, it reminded me of those films, so I thought that I would adapt the film noir genre to a new genre of blog post. The post noir. Noir is black in French and I couldn't help but think of my prior post about the color black. It all seemed to fit.
I took some night pictures around the city and converted them to black and white to try and get that same noir feeling. I was hoping for something special. Out of the blue, these two old cars appeared the two nights in a row that I was taking pictures, so I was able to take a bunch of shots of them. It was almost surreal. Like the cars just appeared from a different time. I'm sure there is a very rational explanation to it, but I like the mystery.
Happy Birthday Dorothy Parker. This post is for you. Rest in peace.
*Updated 8/22/2012* Here's a newer blog post to celebrate her birthday.
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