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« Stand by me [by E. Ethelbert Miller] | Main | "We was wit' you, at Rigoletto's!" (by Laura Orem) »

March 11, 2010


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"Nature gives you the face you have at twenty...But at fifty you get the face you deserve." Coco Chanel
I wonder what made you think of this excerpt for this space. It's interesting.

Marissa, I read A COFFIN years ago and that paragraph just leaped out at me then and has stayed with me since. Besides the Chanel, a famous quote has been attributed to Lincoln along those lines, too; I'm sure there are others similar. I was planning to do a blog today about performance art and literary ventriloquism, like Colm Toibin's novel "about" Henry James, THE MASTER. I thought this quote would be a good lead-in.

Thanks for the memory, Jim. Eric Ambler is my favorite spy novelist, and "A Coffin for Dimitrios" is my favorite of his books. ("Journey into Fear" is pretty great, too.) The black-and-white Hollywood movie made of "Dimitrios," under the title "The Mask of Dimitrios," has wonderful performances by Peter Lorre (as the hero, a detective novelist), Sydney Greenstreet, and Zachary Scott at his most sinister as Dimitrios. The best scene: Belgrade, orchestrated by "Pefidia."

Thanks. I'll be interested in reading your post.

I just love Eric Ambler. There's no preamble or framing, you're just in the adventure and rolling along fast. Also, since I saw those movies before I read the books, I had a Hollywood-design of the times and places. The books were like hard bones of the face. "The best scene: Belgrade" makes me want to see them again.

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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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This Way Out

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Ringfinger was nervous
Pinky terrified
when they learned
that Hand might succumb
to the rule of Thumb.



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