margaret lafleur

"Who are we, who is each of us, if not a combinatoria of experiences, information, books we have read, things imagined? Each life is an encyclopedia, a library, an inventory of objects, a series of styles, and everything can be constantly shuffled and reordered in every way conceivable." (Italo Calvino)
Recent Tweets @Margosita
I like you! I do!
Who I Follow
I wanted to tell that story about a magician, I think, in part because I felt so lost and so rudderless in exactly the same way that fantasy heroes tend to be so focused and directed. They’ve always got the Dumbledore, or the Gandalf, to guide them and put them back on their path, tell them where to go. And I felt like there was no one in my life like that. I felt the real absence of someone like that. So I wanted to give these characters the experience of wandering around and where there ought to be a mentor showing them where to go, there’s nobody. They just have to figure it out for themselves and they make a lot of bad choices along the way.

Recommended Reading: Lindsay Whalen’s interview with Lev Grossman, which goes nicely with our review of The Magicians. (via millionsmillions)

This is the delight of The Magicians trilogy, I think. Every other page I would think, “This is totally how weird and scary it is to be an adult and having no idea what to do next.” I’ve also wished for a mentor figure in my life, someone who would tell me why the things I thought should be doing (hard work! patience! persistence!) aren’t paying off. What’s wrong with my spell casting?

Rudderless, indeed.

By default the books are compared to Harry Potter (as in, they are Harry Potter for grown-ups), but I think the better analogy is “Buffy.” “Buffy” was one long extended metaphor for being a teenager and all the “demons” one faces, including the mistakes you make on your own, without any evil force guiding your hand. And, like The Magicians, things got dark in ways that were totally unrelated to magic and wholly about the pain of being human, or the dangers of other people. Harry’s troubles were mostly contained to the Wizarding World. Not so for Buffy or Quentin.

I appreciate that.

For all the comparisons to Ephron and even to independent female filmmakers like Nicole Holofcener and Miranda July, the artist to whom she’s most analogous is Allen. With her awkward screen presence, her preoccupation with sex, her frank exploration of her own neuroses and, above all, her willingness to play the part of herself almost to the point of caricature, Dunham has ensured that her work be guided by her own persona, which in turn has been shaped by the twin forces of profound anxiety and exhaustive (though, again like Allen, somewhat roving and undisciplined) intellectual engagement.
Though I admire a lot about Lena Dunham and I watched the first season of Girls, this comparison explains why I was never interested in watching the second (or beyond). I don’t enjoy Woody Allen. I don’t enjoy caricatures, which inevitably blow up a single point of view or persona so large that there is no other oxygen in the room. I appreciate that a young woman’s personal point of view is demanding as much attention as we often devote to the disaffected male voice, though I don’t find it speaks to or for me.

It has been a long summer.

The Leftovers premiered at the end of June, which seems like an odd time for something routinely called dark and depressing to slip into our lives. The sun is out, the sky is blue, kids dash through sprinklers and (so the saying goes) the living is easy.

Not that the world ever actually plays by these rules. September 11th 2001 was a beautiful day. October 14th, as we’ve recently learned, was a perfectly sunny day. And it seemed that Memorial Day in Mapleton dawned clear, as well. The day found the Chief in a dark cabin in the woods in a puddle of Patti’s blood, though outside the woods blurred into an appealing green backdrop. Nora saw the sun outside the windows as she brushed her teeth and padded down the stairs to the kitchen.

The final review is up at The Stake. Read on…

Other Tidbits From This Week

  • The dog at the end was a nice touch.
  • I think the Chief wished for Tommy to come home, which would explain Holy Wayne’s particular smile at the end.
  • While a lot of plot lines were given a bit of resolution, there is still a lot left open. What about the Chief’s dreams? What about the voices, and the Chief’s father? What about Nora, and will the baby keep her in Mapleton?
  • Preacher Matt is one of the more interesting characters and I think there will be a lot more of him in the next season. Especially because of his maybe-not-so-far-gone wife.

Today, Twitter and Tumblr have brought me the following joys from the files of What’s That Word, Again?

A merry-go-round is a “tornado of children.”

A foal is a “horse puppy.”