Saturday, December 2, 2023

Dolls & Bears Field Trips

Marz said, Why don't you write something like Bench Press about dolls and bears?
I'm starting to make a list of topics (skip down below).

Bench Press (Sven Lindqvist, Granta, 2003) influenced how I write (when I pay attention to how I write).
Lindqvist writes brief--sometimes one paragraph--essays on weight lifting, starting with his personal experience--he was a journalist of the "90-lb weakling" type-- of becoming strong lifting weights.
The writing is compact and purpose-built, like a bar-bell weight. It could be called dry--the reader's muscles bring the heat. 

I finished Lytton Strachey's Eminent Victorians last night. His writing is full juicy, and very fun to read, I think--and so well constructed--all the pieces slot together.

I put up a photo from Eminent Victorians yesterday because I was posting on my phone and didn't want to type it out.
But I love this sentence about life at Eton so much, I want to type it out here:

"Hundreds of boys, herded together in miscellaneous boarding-houses, or in that grim 'Long Chamber' at whose name in after years aged statesmen and warriors would turn pale, lived, badgered and over-awed by the furious incursions of an irascible little old man carrying a bundle of birch-twigs, a life in which licensed barbarism was mingled with the daily and hourly studies of niceties of Ovidian verse."

Could be trimmed (but why?), to something like...

Boys in boarding-houses endured licensed barbarism mingled with studies of Ovid, overseen by an irascible old man. Aged statesmen would later pale at the memory.
What fun would that be?


II Dolls and Bears FIELD TRIPS!

These are some field trips I want to take, to possibly write about what I see there.

1. To see the library's Japan-Minnesota Friendship Doll, Miss Miyazaki, from Japan, given in 1927, shunted away somewhere, and re-found and restored in 2017.

2. To see the bear and bunny statue a few miles away at the Edina Library, dedicated in 2022.

Wow--googling it, I see that sculptor Janey Westin carved the sculpture at the Indiana Limestone Symposium, near Bloomington-- that's the quarries we see in the movie Breaking Away! I loved that movie--haven't seen it in ages.

***BINK: You should look into going this summer to the limsetone-sculpting workshops--from one day to 2 weeks!

That's the sort of serendipity ^ you find via field trips.

3. I'm really excited about this one, which requires taking the train to Chicago. The grown daughter of a friend from art-college library days has got a job at the American Girl Doll Café in Water Tower Place.

We get American Girl dolls donated to the store--next time one comes in I will borrow it to be my guest--and she can take some of the girlettes as her guest!
Perhaps I need to rent a child. The photos on Trip Advisor show only CHILDREN (with parents) and their dolls...

Hm. Penny Cooper is turning her nose up at it. "It is very pink."
But I know who'd love to go:
THE DUQUETTES! They are the wild children who want to do EVERYTHING. "We'll graffiti it!"
No spray paint will be taken.
(Also, secretly, maybe SweePo would like to go...)

4. Doll Repair in town.

Mrs B's Doll Repair is famous.
"Mrs B's Dolls along Highway 65 has thousands of dolls, some dating back more than 100 years. Marlys Burgess has owned the store for nearly 40 years."
It's in Blaine--not very close. But how attractive this ramshackle builing is... Photo from Yelp:


Anonymous said...

i was just looking into doll repair the other day. i have several dolls from my childhood i want to put back together.

the ag doll cafe might be a fun trip!

i'm in the museum desert here in the midwest and not even any public transportation to kc which has wonderful art museums.


gz said...

Love the bear and bunny reading bench xx

Michael Leddy said...

This LS sentence is perfect -- it's the gaps between "hundreds," "lived," and "a life," each filled with horrors, that make the point.

Having been in two AG stores, I think you might find the experience, well, strange (not in a good way). But if you know someone who works there, that could be another story.

Fresca said...

KIRSTEN: A thrift store regular taught herself to repair dolls--not hard! A crochet hook and some fresh elastic will reattach limbs.

GZ: I am eager to see it in person, but might have to wait until spring when it warms up.

MICHAEL: Isn't it terrific? Thanks for pointing out its three movements.

I am a little dubious about AG Cafe, but it could be interesting BECAUSE it's somewhere I would never naturally go. And as you say, having some personal connection would make it another story.