In which I discuss movies I have not seen

movies     I am absolutely terrible at seeing movies in time for awards season. People are always saying, “Oh god, this movie was so good, you should go see it,” and I say, “Great! I will!” And then I just… don’t. It’s not that I don’t have time, and it’s certainly not that I don’t like movies. Yet every year, February rolls around, and I end up making completely random, uninformed guesses on my Oscar ballot. (I’m sure it will not shock you to learn that I have never won. An Oscar pool, that is. It will shock you even less to learn that I have not won an Oscar.)

This year, I’d only seen three of the nominees for best picture: The Help, Midnight in Paris, and Hugo. Here’s a list of the things I knew about the rest of the films before the Oscars and the supplemental information I learned during last night’s (pretty unhelpful) awards show.

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A seventeen-syllable opera lesson

As you may remember from previous posts, I have a day job at the Metropolitan Opera. I’ve been a casual opera fan since I graduated from college and moved to New York, and I used to go two or three times a year. But now the most important part of my job is photographing all of the Met’s dress rehearsals. That means that in the last four years, I have seen nearly eighty different operas, some of them three or four times.

Lots of people tell me they’d like to try going to an opera, but they’re not sure which one to see. Fear not, hesitant opera-goers! To help you decide, I’ve made you a handy-dandy opera guide, written in haiku. This should save you hours and hours. [Read more…]

Meet four-year-old Alison

DadAlison and Dad in 1986When I was in preschool, my teacher thought up a list of questions and conducted individual interviews with each kid in my class. She wrote down everything we said verbatim, then sent the interviews home to our parents. My mom recently found mine and mailed it to me, and it’s so amusing that I thought I’d share it with you.



I was a couple months from turning four when this interview took place. [Read more…]

Everything will be perfect when…

outImage by stephaniedanI have a confession to make.

I suffer from “Everything Will Be Perfect When…” Syndrome.

When I was a young, naive, un-agented writer (i.e. seven months ago,) I was convinced that all the problems in my life would be solved if I could just get an agent. I spent a lot of time floating around in a pool of malaise, wondering why nobody wanted to represent me. I tweaked my query letter. I did more research. When it became clear that I wasn’t going to get signed with my first book, I wrote a different book. Every time a friend asked me how things were going, I would bemoan my lack of an agent. My constant refrain was, “If someone would just sign me, everything would be perfect.”

And then, in July, someone did. And it was AWESOME. Really, really, REALLY awesome. And I cheered and jumped up and down and drank champagne. For a brief time, things did feel perfect, and I was totally happy. [Read more…]