The Musings of a Boho Girl

bōˈhēmēən (noun) 1. a free spirit ; 2. a writer; 3. an explorer of the Avant-Garde.

The Brightest of the Bright Young People

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Last year I read D.J. Taylor’s Bright Young People: The Lost Generation of London’s Jazz Age and developed fascination with several of its members. Stephen Tennant, Elizabeth Ponsonby, Nancy Mitford, Cecil Beaton and the others all led extraordinary lives; although Tennant spent much of his time in bed, he did have a love affair with war poet Siegfried Sassoon. By all accounts Tennant’s life was unique, his great aspiration was to be a great beauty. Photographer Cecil Beaton routinely captured Tennant’s striking features. All of the Bright Young People made a name for themselves: Beaton was a photographer for Vogue, Nancy Mitford was a novelist, Evelyn Waugh and Noel Coward were arguably the most well known. The least accomplished members have the most compelling stories.

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Missed Connections

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 ‘I love my rejection slips. They show me I try.’ – Sylvia Plath

Rejection is a painful reality but why not have a little fun with it, so I decided to rewrite rejection letters as vignettes. Please enjoy my missed connections with literary agents.

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June: My Five Obsessions

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During the summer months, I’m a little more introspective but I suppose that’s why festivals exist, we can immerse ourselves in music, literature, and dance. June feels like the beginning of everything and so much seems possible; it’s the start of summer, there are many holidays to celebrate i.e. Bloomsday. I remember my first Midsummer Night in Devon, the bonfire and an outdoor performance of A Midsummer’s Night Dream made South West England even more special. Here are the five things I’m obsessed with.

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Remnants of The Yellow Wall-Paper

Joan Didion, author of

Joan Didion, author of “Play It as It Lays”, and “Slouching Towards Bethlehem”, is pictured here on May 1, 1977.(AP Photo)

“It is the strangest yellow, that wall-paper! It makes me think of all the yellow things I ever saw – not beautiful ones like buttercups, but old foul, bad yellow things.” – Charlotte Perkins Gilman

It’s odd how dreams are conceived and misplaced. Joan Didion’s first novel, Run River, was published in 1963; it’s the same year Sylvia Plath killed herself. Sometimes I think of how Plath’s dreams must have disappeared the day she decided to end her life and at the same time, somewhere across the Atlantic, Didion might have been reading proofs with notes from her editor; she was looking forward to realising a dream as someone else’s ended. I wonder how dreams die so suddenly, beyond the mental illness, something happens in society that breaks us. How did Didion avoid rejection and self doubt? Maybe she hid it beneath the cool girl aesthetic or she was stronger than the others? Plath didn’t live long enough to create the narrative she would have wanted. Culturally Plath will always be framed as the wronged housewife and poet who struggled to divide her time between writing and caring for her young family. Feminists often cite her as the victim of domesticity. Plath became a martyr for the feminist movement and many view her poetry is a symbol of the domestic struggle.

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Lydia Davis’s Can’t and Won’t

Can’t and Won’t
by Lydia Davis
Hamish Hamilton, 289 pp.

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I picked up Lydia Davis’s collection of short stories after reading her Paris Review interview. My curiosity had grown after reading her novel, The End of the Story; she wrote the story in fragments and the structure fascinated me. I became immersed in Lydia Davis’s stories, the moments she describes possess a strange beauty. There are stories about dreams, some are just one sentence, and others are described as extracts from Flaubert’s correspondence. It’s one of the most unique collections I’ve read.

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May: My Five Obsessions

I have fond memories of May, it’s the month of ballet recitals and theatre performances. There were dress rehearsals, performances and then it was all over. If you were critical, you thought about every step and what you could have done better; if you were content, you went on to enjoy the summer. I was critical so I spent most of May re-thinking my performance until my Summer Intensive began. Times have changed, I don’t attend student productions at NYU anymore, now there are weddings and baptisms. Before I get too nostalgic, here are the five things that I love right now.

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Summer Reads

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It’s coming: summer will be upon us. Soon we’ll have long warm days with sunshine, Pimm’s, and reading. *Fingers crossed* I will have found the perfect literary agent who will then find the perfect publisher for my manuscript (seriously, cross your fingers). Summer is the perfect time to do some reading. I have a list of fantastic books that I plan to read. Here we go.

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The Curious Case of Dr. Derek Shepherd

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I’ve always believed the British have done television better, not because British Broadcasting Corporation sounds better than American Broadcasting Company; although it does, but because television series tend to be six episodes with a possible Christmas special and then à tout à l’heure until next autumn. British viewers don’t seem to develop the same commitment to television characters as their US counterparts. American television shows are weekly with 25 episodes, now add ten years and we have viewers completely attached to characters, which leads me to Dr. Derek Shepherd. Obligatory spoiler do not continue if you haven’t viewed Grey’s Anatomy (Season 11 episode 21).

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The Archives: Cataloging the Dead

The intersection between illness and photography has always fascinated me. Seeing pictures of cancer patients offering the photographer a weak smile while receiving chemotherapy feels voyeuristic, we’re meant to feel something. Sadness? Hope? The point is we’re meant to feel an emotion that evokes us to do something. A visual image that reminds us one day we could be receiving chemotherapy and wouldn’t we want the best drugs possible to save our lives. The intentions vary, but there are always intentions. The photography associated with the AIDS epidemic is different, even the images from professional photographers reflect a desire to be seen. Each picture attempts to capture a vanishing body and those fleeting moments before death. In the last few days, I’ve combed through images only to realise that everyone pictured was dead; each photo became a visual obituary of the young and ailing.

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April: My Five Obsessions

Spring is upon us. In college, it meant one final break before exams. My springtime rituals haven’t changed much, trips to the ballet and finding a good book to read at the park. American Ballet Theatre’s Spring Season at the Met holds special memories, I saw David Hallberg perform for the first time and it was breathtaking. Seeing him dance became a tradition, but there are plenty of other traditions to continue while Mr. Hallberg heals from surgery.

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1. Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane. I’m midway through this remarkable book. The glossary filled with landscape terms in Old English, Gaelic, and Welsh is astounding. Macfarlane explores Nan Shepherd’s The Living Mountain, what influenced her, and how living in the Cairngorms shaped her writing. Macfarlane describes his own experience in the Cairngorms with such beauty it leaves the reader in awe. You can find a copy here.

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