I started reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo last fall. I was traveling a ton and read a lot then and honestly needed an escape. It came in the form of Lisbeth Salander, the brutally flawed protagonist in Stieg Larsson’s bestselling series. Slow out of the gate (the first 100 pages or so I wasn’t sure what all the fuss was about) but stick with it, it’s worth it, and you’ll be clamoring for the next. I’m not alone, take a look around the terminal on your next flight and I’d bet at least a few people are buried in any one of his three books.
The writing itself, well it isn’t anything made of Jane Austen or even Emily Giffin prose. Not to be all hoity-toity about it, but I find it a bit basic (it could be the English translation), but no one can question Larsson’s ability to develop a thick and page-turning plot.
This isn’t a new story, but what I find even more fascinating than the series is the story behind the writer. Great article in The Times on it here. In short, Larsson died of a heart attack while climbing seven flights of stairs to his office before the books would become wildly successful (actually all three published posthumously). Side note: it’s also incredibly interesting that he apparently insisted on completing all three drafts before attempting to get published. His death occurred within months of the manuscripts being delivered to the publisher. Fascinating, conspiracy theory, you-can’t-make-this-up stuff. It gets deeper, you see, Larson was a Swedish political journalist who received threats often from neo-Nazi’s and far-right extremists because of his work, and he lived his life relatively in hiding. Allegedly not wanting to put her at risk, he never married his partner of more than three decades, architect Eva Gabrielsson.
Gabrielsson supposedly hasn’t received a dime off her late spouse’s estate since common law marriage is not recognized in Sweden. The drama ensues when an allegedly estranged brother and father claimed his computer, and to this day they are fighting over the intellectual property on it (supposedly his fourth book in the series). The computer, however, was left to his partner, but the royalties to his family since a will was never drawn up. Phew, and I thought my family had issues. But, seriously, these books are amazing. The backstory, just as much.
I forget sometimes that danapop has readers outside the confines of Atlanta. There’s a whole world of folks out there that don’t receive the rounds of professional chatter, twitter, facebook, or a chance to catch up at events in person. That things might be happening and before I know it two months go by and I realize I’ve left you with a bomb tease of 2011 starting with a bang and you’re just left wondering what exactly I’m talking about. To circle back, the bang is me leaving a freelance job (DailyCandy Atlanta editor) I’ve had for almost three years and starting a new one (community manager for MSN’s portal called Postbox), which officially began this week.
It’s a great fit all around, but sometimes change is quite difficult with the overlap of duties, learning curves, and settling in to a new routine. But, all of it was sort of my own doing. You see, back in December after reflecting on the past year professionally, I merely mentioned to my husband that maybe this year I should think about another steady gig to do alongside my existing one (or if the offer was strong enough, replace the old one all-together). That little whisper, that little lion’s voice, started the ball rolling and within days I was thrown into the ring of applicants for a job I didn’t even know existed. The Mumford & Son’s performance at the Grammy’s the other night sort of sums up the beautiful chaos I’m feeling these days. Man, I love those guys. So here’s to gathering the lion’s roar and settling into new adventures.
I’ve been thinking about accountability a lot, especially when it comes to food. A couple of weeks ago I went to the screening of Forks Over Knives, a film about eating a mostly plant-based diet. Then, immediately following the documentary my girlfriends and I gabbed over wine, risotto, and trout at Kevin Gillespie’s pork-laden haven, Woodfire Grill. Such is my balanced life. All kidding aside, the arguments brought up in the film are solid when talking about the benefits of reversing the effects of most degenerative diseases including heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and some forms of cancer.
The core message delves into responsibility and accountability. It explores owning up to how we treat our planet and ourselves and not just taking a pill for whatever ails you. It proves that you can actually come off heart medications just by changing your diet … significant findings for a nation obsessed with prescriptions for everything.
For now, I’m trying to get past the gluttony and the all-or-nothing notions of our culture and fill my body with things that make me feel good. That includes, eggs, and yogurt, fish, and well, steak (all of which they don’t suggest). You can take the girl out of Kansas City but obviously it’s pretty tough to take the KC out of the girl!
I do think we owe it to ourselves to know what makes us feel good and figure out what makes us feel bad when we eat it (I’ve OD’d on Kettle salt and pepper potato chips before and never want be there again–vomit). Forks Over Knives hits theaters in May and will make you look at the foods you eat, portions, and why.
Our holiday card last year said something about 2010 going out with a bang, and it featured the above photo. We felt like we were really giving the shite year (husband’s layoff, mom’s cancer) a proper sendoff. The beauty of it all is that without last year, we wouldn’t fully appreciate the wonderfulness that is now. You have to have scary to have sweet, heartbreak to have joy, life’s simple balancing act. Ah, therapy, you work wonders.
But, I didn’t realize that what we thought was sending 2010 out, is actually bringing 2011 in with a bang. I’m on the brink of change—and with any shift, I automatically go into scared shitless-manic mode, but trying (really, I am) to roll with it all and live each day fully and not worry about the rest—easier said that done. I may have broken a personal record last week for how many days in a row one can pass off yoga pants and a little girl’s-sized kung-fu fighter anime t-shirt as work attire, how many nervous belly trips to the bathroom one can take, and I’m pretty sure even my twin sister is dodging my anxious, talk-until-I’m-out-of-breath phone calls. Last week did not compile my finest days.
Unfortunately, all of this is too premature to write about, but hopefully, soon, I’ll be able to tell you about it all. Until then, I’m dodging bullets.