"New friends can often have a better time together than old friends."
Rich Americans living in Paris in the 1920's liked to have parties and they had a tendency to invite every single interesting person they had ever heard of. The result of inviting all of these magical people was that everyone was always meeting someone knew and learning something new and the parties were never boring. (Is anything worse than a boring party?)
In F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel Tender is the Night, a book he called his masterpiece, one of the main characters, the handsome Mr. Driver (married) throws a party and when the lovely young actress Rosemary (single) who says she's in love with him arrives, they find a quiet moment together and he tells her, "New friends can often have a better time together than old friends." Uh-oh. You can already tell this party is gonna start a lot of drama!
Since I'm currently reading this book and I'm new(ish) to Seattle, I decided to host my own random renegade dinner party last week. I invited 5 people I wanted to get to know and 3 were able to come. One person was my neighbor, a self-proclaimed cheesemonger, who brought over a Norwegian cheese called Gjetost (pronounced "yay toast") which reminded me of butterscotch fudge (you should try it!). Another guest told amusing stories about the two ferrets he owns, Stinky and Stanky. Great names, right? The other person, an up-and-coming nutritionist, is becoming a rock enthusiast and has just found a stash of geodes that she plans to crack open. I hope I can be around for that! My point is, we didn't really know each other before the party, but after eating a bit of Gjetost and playing this crazy fun card game called San Juan (an easier, gentler, and shorter version of Settlers of Catan which you can check out here), we were laughing together like old pals. It was kind of amazing.
But back to Fitzgerald's lines. Did I have as much fun with my new friends as I have with my old? Hmmm..., that one's a toughie to answer. But I do know this--I definitely had a blast and can't wait to get to know them more. I also can't wait for my next random dinner party adventure!
Renegade Thought of the Day: What about you? What do you think Fitzgerald's lines mean? Can you think of a time when you've had fun with someone you'd just met?
Renegade Challenge: Share a laugh today with someone you barely know!
"The magic is in me, the magic is in me. It's in every one of us."
Title: The Secret Garden
Author: Frances Hodgson Burnett
Although Lit Bandit can't claim any credit for commissioning this delightful little work of art from Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden, it was lovely to stumble upon nonetheless. If you're a regular at the Wallingford Farmer's market on Wednesdays, you might recognize it too--especially if you have children, as it is located on the edge of the playground near the market (hence the wood chips and the empty blueberry holder!)
My friend Pete and I don't have children, but it didn't stop us from happily jumping on a pair of swings to see if we remembered what to do (we did, but Pete's long legs made it a bit tougher for him!). It was wonderful to swing for a bit and to reconnect with the childhood magic left inside of us. In a way, the magic inside of us is what this website is about. For me, words are magical. (Ask anyone who's been to my apartment recently and they'll tell you about the hundreds of colorful letters I've spent hours cutting out by hand. It's a little eccentric perhaps, but each word I create brings me such joy, I can't stop!) Since books are full of words, I find them magical too, especially when I'm reading and I stumble upon a well-crafted sentence about life--you know, the kind of sentence that so perfectly captures how you see the world; the sentence you wish you would've written yourself! Maybe I'll be a famous writer someday and maybe not, but regardless of that, in the mean time I have this website where I can share these magical words with you!
Renegade thought of the day: What magic is inside of you? How do you share your magic with the world?
"And so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."
Title: The Great Gatsby
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Your yoga teacher. Your meditation practice. Your therapist. The friend you always turn to for advice about that same problem you keep struggling to deal with. Even Gatsby's friend Nick. They all suggest the same thing--stay present and let go of the past. As if it were that simple, right? Perhaps that's why I love Gatsby so much. Despite his wealth and parties and success, he struggles with this basic human problem of moving on from a painful past. And who among us hasn't looked back and idealized a moment in our past--a moment that, upon honest reflection, we'd have to admit probably wasn't quite as perfect as our rose-colored glasses would have it seem?
Renegade Thought of the Day: To what moment in the past do you tend to be ceaselessly thrown back?
Can you identify the "current" that knocks you back there?
In what ways is your memory of the past helping you?
In what ways is living in the past haunting your ability to stay and live in the present?
Bonus video: Official Trailer for The Great Gatsby: here's a hint of the crazy drama that can happen when you have trouble letting go of your past.
“Some things are hard to remember. I’m thinking now of when Stradlater got back from his date with Jane. I mean I can’t remember exactly what I was doing when I heard his goddam stupid footsteps coming down the corridor. I probably was still looking out the window, but I swear I can’t remember. I was so damn worried, that’s why. When I really worry about something, I don’t just fool around. I even have to go to the bathroom when I worry about something. Only, I don’t go. I’m too worried to go. I don’t want to interrupt my worrying. If you knew Stradlater, you’d have been worried, too.”
Title: Catcher in the Rye
Author: J. D. Salinger
In the words of every body's favorite New York City prep school flunky, "If you really want to hear about it" then read on, this is LitBandit's first official post, brought to you by J.D. Salinger's novel The Catcher in the Rye and Seattle's University Village Public Women's Restroom, Stall 3. After all, if there's ever been a place where anyone can find few minutes to just sit and contemplate literature, well, the porcelain throne has to be a top pick.
For me, this is one of Holden's most endearing moments. Sure, he says to hell with school and friends and all that phony stuff, but underneath that facade there's people he truly cares for and for whom he deeply worries. As Holden shows, anxiety can be paralyzing, even to the point of not being able to do something as routine as going to the bathroom.
Renegade Thought of the Day: Pay attention to those people who seem like they don't care about anything. Perhaps someone who appears to have given up on life. Dare to dig deeper. What stories are they afraid to share?
Renegade Challenge: Challenge yourself to be a comfortable place for these stories to land.