“The Big C.” First, you will read this great profile on Laura Linney from the NY Times Mag. Then, you will watch “The Big C” on Showtime.* Here’s the thing you need to know about this show: it’s not just about cancer. It’s about life choices and mortality and stripping everything down to its barest minimum. It’s about self-preservation … and no more bullshit. If you’ve ever had to watch someone die, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Before a loved one experiences the Five Stages of Grief, the dying person goes through stages of their own. Most of it is private, but a little trickles through the cracks and affects those around them because everyone knows what’s going on. The interesting things about “The Big C” is that Cathy chooses not to tell or talk to anyone about her diagnosis, apart from her oncologist. We, as the audience, get to see both her internal and external struggle play out on-screen in a way only an actress like Laura Linney could convey: with candor, melancholy, wit, heart, and a smartness that lets you know she’s thinking at least two steps ahead of everyone else. She hasn’t yet dug into vulnerability and, she might not. But I’ll keep watching just to see how the writers and Linney balance such a complex character and keep her real.
*Don’t have Showtime, you say? Well, problem solved! They bleep the curses online though. Assholes.
I assisted on prep for a documentary about Neil Young. I left the job before having the opportunity to meet him, but I did get to listen to early cuts of his album, Prairie Wind. I remember an email he wrote to my boss saying he wrote the album just before his brain surgery, when he was thinking about his life and mortality and finding himself drawn back to his childhood and his father and mother. The email was very straightforward, a little melancholy, but no frills. It was better than poetry because it was the truth. I sat in my office listening to those cuts on my computer, knowing it was a privilege to be able to hear them. It also brought me back to my favorite Neil Young song, which I’ve been playing on repeat lately:
To lighten up this post (and perhaps my life) I’ve been throwing back Chelsea Handler’s books like vodka shots. I started with MY HORIZONTAL LIFE, then laughed my way through ARE YOU THERE, VODKA? IT’S ME, CHELSEA and am now onto CHELSEA CHELSEA BANG BANG. Handler’s books are the perfect summer read for anyone that doesn’t mind their humor biting, a little rough and dirty, and highly entertaining. You read these books more for the stories and witty quips than you do expecting to be dazzled by the prose. But who really gives a shit about prose during the summertime?
From the flap of CHELSEA CHELSEA BANG BANG: