Friday, 16 March 2012

Non-Fiction Sidebar: Alice Munro, Reputed Bitch; Daryl Hannah's Movie of the Week


   The majority of my career-time is spent in classrooms talking about composition and literature, reading books in preparation for talking about composition and literature, and grading student writing.
   After that? Writing projects and reviewing books. 
   I've never worked an hour on a film set, but my previous marriage was to someone who is currently a local Production Coordinator; in typical fashion, he started off as a lowly Production Assistant and picked up cigarette butts, guarded crew parking lots, and ran errands in all purpose go-fer mode. 
   So while—unlike Jake—I was not granted an opportunity to become a parking lot P.A. for a Daryl Hannah TV movie, one night I did hang out for a few (long) hours at a location shoot for a Daryl Hannah TV movie in Stanley Park. And whereas Marta goes on a disastrous date with an A.D. who exposes her to an exotic world far from the temperate Ivory Tower environment she knows so well, my experience was a dinner at Vij's with upper-echelon crew (visiting American guys); and one one them did in fact ask me the exact question about Alice Munro that's posed to Marta. (Admittedly, the man's fantastic ludicrous supposition about faculty chatter and classroom discussion—"Okay students, when Del Jordan is, like, a total bitch to her mother in 'Age of Faith,' do you think that's because the story is autobiographical?"—was worth a chuckle.)
   Despite the guy's offense, I can't remember my reply. I'm sure it was neither witty nor belittling. No doubt I was cowed by the America costume designer who posed the question (hubby and I were the lowest rank at a table that included a producer and a director; and I was a graduate student, a complete outsider). My answer was probably similar to Marta's: meek, polite, mildly corrective. 
   Years ago, when I first discovered the Village Voice and thought I'd gotten this close to being a cosmopolitan New Yorker (back then, an important personal goal), I read Stan Mack's cartoons, which came with a promise: "100% Guaranteed Overheard." The cartoonist said nothing whatsoever about the original context.
   It's an omission that makes a world of difference. 


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