Friday, May 17, 2019

TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS

THE ONE AND ONLY ANN LANDERS

Here's how this week's arts and culture column begins:

The first thing I turned to in the newspaper as a kid was Ann Landers’ advice column.

I couldn’t get enough — still can’t — of human dysfunction. The letters were longish but Ann’s advice was always succinct, practical, and to the point.

“You have every right to tell your in-laws that they cannot smoke in your home.”

“That child needs to be seen by a professional for evaluation.”

“Give Gloria notice — either she stops seeing that married man, or she will have to move out at the end of the month.”

My favorite was when Ann hit some prying busybody with the familiar zinger, MYOB: Mind Your Own Business.

Enter “Tiny Beautiful Things,” a book by mega-popular author Cheryl Strayed and now a play that was recently staged at the Pasadena Playhouse. Strayed wrote an anonymous advice column for a time under the pen name Sugar and, after revealing her identity, collected the letters into “Tiny Beautiful Things.”

Steve Almond, the writer who originally passed on the column to Strayed, calls her approach “radical empathy.”

That’s one way to put it: padding around her suburban kitchen in a hoodie and pajama bottoms, to my mind Sugar (played here by Nia Vardalos) makes every problem about herself: her grief over her mother’s death, her fling with heroin, the risks she’s so bravely taken (and that worked out, because look, here she is, the best-selling author of “Wild,” writing an advice column that will also be a bestseller!).

READ THE WHOLE PIECE HERE.



OH PLEASE

4 comments:

  1. Sweet, sweet, sweet and of course funny and very touching, your signature, dear H. Will forward this to T J Nelson who has your blog on his list at Abbey Roads. As a child I never missed Abby or her sister Ann Landers. What weird kids we were. Are. Hugs, Fr P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks dear Fr P--yes, even back then my eyes glazed over at the "big" happenings in the world--politics, banking. Always I've been obsessed with the vagaries of the "small" human interaction...Because isn't that REALLY where everything happens? Blessed Ascension and Pentecost to all you good folks of Monterey!

      Delete
  2. You nailed it sister H. Oh please!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't classy people wait for OTHERS to notice they're sincere, or a champion, or a queen or any of attributes/titles we're now encouraged to emblazon on a T-shirt and trumpet to the world? Ann Landers would have been appalled!

      Delete

I WELCOME your comments!!!