Courtenay Bluebird is a professional writer and photographer. As a writer, she has penned features and columns for major newspapers and magazines. Her poetry, essays, and fiction have been published in respected journals. As a photographer, she has hung four two-person shows. Bluebird Blvd. is her first, and only major blog. She's so happy you stopped by today.
I’d like to read something about…
The Husband: Dude, your neck is thick! Just like that girl on Downton Abbey.
The Husband: (Grasping for name.) You know who I’m talking about—the one with the thick neck!
The Husband: (Remembers her name; face lights up. ) Lady Instagram!
THE HUSBAND is washing dishes and ruminating. Bluebird is reading.
The Husband: Bluebird?
The Husband: Did you know there can only be one Highlander?
Bluebird: (Dreamily staring at open book.). Okay.
The Husband: Are you listening?
Bluebird: Yes. (Looks up.) You’re a Dr. Pepper—
The Husband: —Highlander.
Bluebird: (Returns to reading.) Congratulations.
THE HUSBAND calls Bluebird from the ranch.
The Husband: I need to ask you a serious question.
Bluebird: Okay, shoot.
The Husband: Who is Advil Lavigne?
Bluebird: I don’t—how did you…? Huh. Would you look at that.
THE HUSBAND is standing in the hallway ready to go to the hardware store. Bluebird is reading a book on the couch.
The Husband: I have your list.
Bluebird: (Without looking up.) Mmm-hmmm?
The Husband: (Scanning page.) So you need a dust mask and air filters—
Bluebird: (Still reading.) Hmmmmm.
The Husband: (Squinting.) —and a squid widow for a wool herring…
Bluebird: (Eyes still on book; shakes head.) Uh-uh.
The Husband: No squid widow?
Bluebird: (Dreamy voice.) Squeegee.
The Husband: Wool herring?
Bluebird: (Turning page of book.) Whole house.
The Husband: Your handwriting is awfu—
Bluebird: (Interjects.) —Are you wearing my glasses?
The Husband: No. (A pause.) Maybe. (A pause.) I’m going now.
Bluebird: (Turns another page.) Mmmm-hmmmm.
PSST! You’re gonna want to click the picture of the book to make the words nice and big. I made this whole thing just for you, you, you!
Editor’s notes: 1) We know the actual plural of uterus is uteri, not uteruses. But, really—who’s counting uteri right now anyway? 2) I hope you don’t think I’m kidding, re: women over 40 on/in TV, but just in case here’s an industry-respected study for women in/on TV in 2014. 3) Oh, and there’s this crazy thing too.
Bluebird’s Bookshelf is a brand new feature on Bluebird Blvd. that’s just about the bookishness of books.
We’re always talking about specific books on Bluebird Blvd., so it seemed the thing to do now was talk about books in a more general way.
Why? Because everyone I know reads a hella* amount of books.
Are there any books that you recommend I should add to next month’s bookshelf?
What are you reading right now?
NO, REALLY! What are YOU READING RIGHTHISSECOND?
*Clears throat* *Tries to act casual* So, like, no rush or anything. But I’m sort of dying to know what’s on your bookshelf lately.
Okay, more things: If you’ve read any of the books on this list, I’d love to hear your thoughts on them (but no spoilers without warnings, okay?).
Also, if you’d like to read along with me this month, I’ll tell you where I’m at on the list right now: I’m in the middle of reading “Super Sad True Love Story” by Gary Shteyngart, and I am just about done with John Scalzi’s “Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded.”
I’m probably going to jump from those two books to “Heart of a Dog,” a short allegorical novel by one of Joseph Stalin’s favorite writers, Mikhail Bulgakov.
I have no idea how that guy made it through the revolution, as he was quite disillusioned with Soviet communism by the time he wrote “Heart of a Dog.”
Yet, Bulgakov did survive the, um, whimsies of Stalin. This potent writer’s subversive works sustained three generations of Soviet peoples in hard times. His work still delights present day Russians. (You know that Russia has a 99.58% literacy rate, right? That’s one well-read country!)
A question for my Russian friends: Could you possibly answer a question for me? I just finished reading Gary Shteyngart’s “Absurdistan” last month, and I was shocked by the idea that many Russians have read their own literature, extensively. Is this true? Do Russians read their own literary canon? Do they allude to their own literary figures a great deal?
At this writing, I hope to consume Bulgakov’s slender novel alongside Maira Kalman’s “And the Pursuit of Happiness“—I didn’t intend to juxtapose one political system against another, I just wanted to pair something visual with something textual, and both of these books are meaty.
Kalman’s books are generally a gorgeous marriage of illustration and text, and she maintains this playful yet melancholy voice I absolutely love.
Following that pairing, I’ll be re-reading Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood—the most truthful examination of girlhood I’ve ever read— simultaneously with Lynda Barry’s “What It Is,” a visual creation that explores the linked ideas of childhood, art, and memory. (I’ve read Barry’s “What It Is” many times, but I’m getting ready by reading Barry’s canon for her next book, which will be released in October.)
I’ll probably finish this month with “Naïve” and “Ripped.” Naïve discusses the resurgence of motifs from 1950s and ’60s graphic design, whereas “Ripped” showcases a riot of new design ideas and revolutionary thoughts from the late 1970s and 1980s. (Plus, there’s an introduction by Lydia Lunch.) Both of these books are more image than text. I’m not sure where I was going with that, except to say, “more image than text.”
SOME NEW(ISH) THINGS TO KNOW
In order to keep the lights on at Bluebird Blvd. HQ, I’ve started to do a few things differently around here. I don’t talk about it too much, but I am an Amazon Affiliate.
What this means for you: If you click on a book link on Bluebird Blvd. that takes you to that same book on Amazon and you purchase that book within 24 hours, I receive a small percentage off of your book purchase from Amazon. (No weird fees or anything like that–just a percentage of the ordinary, everyday purchase price of the book.)
You know what? You can always come back and click the link again if 24 hours pass and you realize you want a book I mentioned and you would like me to make a little bit of money. That would be nice, right?
I’m always talking about books I think you’ll love anyway, so this seemed a much better and more honest way of providing income to keep me and Bluebird Blvd. going than direct advertising, which I find incredibly distracting.
How distracting? I don’t watch network or cable television because I’m not interested in being a passive recipient of constant advertising. Keep this in mind, because bombarding you with advertising is something I will not be doing to you.
Actually, I won’t be doing anything especially different than we’ve always done. We talk about books I’m reading all the time here, right?
The only thing that’s going to be going on now, is that I’m going to have to go back into hundreds of Bluebird Blvd. stories and update the Amazon links so that they have my Amazon Affiliate tag. Thousands of links, y’all. Turns out I talk about books a flappin’ ton!
The same goes for music, where applicable. And I listen to a metric TON of music, so…there’s that.
However, if I can find a way for you to purchase items directly from the artist without any intermediary, I will most likely do that—even if I don’t earn income from it—because I’m a put-your-dollar-on-the-artist kinda guy.
One more thing—I will be selling some specially designed t-shirts and greeting cards and whatnots as well. I’ve got some pretty silly things mocked up and ready to go. (I love doing design work, y’all.)
Oh! And in the next few months, I’ll be offering photographs through one of the really nice print-on-demand retailers.
*Claps hands* I am SO EXCITED, y’all. I’ve got lots of little free and fun goodies planned this year for Bluebird Blvd. Plus, I am setting up my schedule so I will be able to finish Bluebird’s Modern Photography within a year-and-a-half. EEEEEEE! Excited!
Okay, enough talk about this stuff—let’s talk about books in the comment section. Are you ready? LET’S! TALK! BOOKS!
*1980s California slang for “a hell of a lot of.”
*HEY PILGRIM! NSFW for a couple of casual curse words.
I see all the magazines
working that Photoshop
We know that s*** ain’t real.
C’mon and make it stop.
If you got beauty-beauty,
c’mon and raise ‘em up.
Every inch of you is perfect
from the bottom to the top.
Singer-songwriter Meghan Trainor could not have picked a more timely moment to co-write (with Kevin Kadish) the body-positive hit single “All About That Bass,” especially in the face of a decade that seems to be shaping up as a reversal of the 21st century 00’s, in which plastic surgery ran amok in popular media and exaggerated thinness was hailed as the norm.
It’s no surprise, then, that increasing pressure to represent the look and lifestyle of real women and girls is quickly gaining traction as we move into the mid-point of the decade.
Fantastic advocacy groups like Brave Girls Alliance have already begun to speed up the process of redefining how women and girls are seen in the public eye, a public eye that sorely needs more women and girls creating visible work that shows the female gender in an honest light.
…Trainor championed for this song, which no one, not even the pop star herself, saw as being a contender for one of the hit pop singles of Summer 2014.
The percentages of women working in media are abysmal, especially considering the ratio of women to men in the United States. The current American population is 50.8% female, but women/girls garner only a projected 17% presence in the television and film marketplace.
According to the Geena Davis Institute on Gender and Media, the ratio of women to male characters/performers in radio, film, and television are statistically similar to—you’re not going to believe this—the ratios offered after World War II.
(And we won’t even talk about female stereotypes in media right now. Oy. But you can read about it in this fascinating FAQ: Gender in Media: The Myths & Facts.)
Back to Meghan Trainor—it warms the thorny little cockles of my heart to hear that a promising young singer-songwriter like Trainor championed for this song, which no one, not even the pop star herself, saw as being a contender for one of the hit pop singles of Summer 2014.
In a July interview with Billboard, Trainor seemed awed by the power of her hit song, saying, “So, if other girls can relate to the song, it makes me feel even better. It’s unreal that I’m kind of helping people.”
LIKE THE SONG?
Purchase Meghan Trainor’s fantastic single All About That Bass on Amazon.
Trainor’s first EP will be released on Epic on September 9, 2014.
You can pre-purchase her upcoming CD Title EP here.