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a bon vivant is as a bon vivant does

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I don’t know where I first heard the term bon vivant, but I do remember thinking to myself, “Now that sounds like something I could get used to being called.”

Or something to that effect.

I do, however, clearly recall a pass-the-time bar game I played a few years back which involved me and a friend sharing our intergalactic spy credentials (don’t ask). During the round where we revealed our alter-ego occupations, I boldly proclaimed that mine was: ‘bon vivant’. To which my friend replied (actually, scoffed) “That’s not an occupation.”

I was and still am indignant about the matter. Being a bon vivant is an occupation. In truth, a bon vivant is only ever occupied by one thing. Everything else is a diversion, or an experiment that helps the bon vivant excel in her chosen profession, which is a simple one: that of living life to the fullest. The bon vivant’s trade is one that should not be taken lightly, but often is. A rare few truly commit to and excel at the task, yet the masses generally treat the pursuit of a well-lived life as much more trivial than the pursuit of money or fame, vice or romance, power or success.

And so the bon vivant that we see in literature and film is often portrayed as the wayward dilettante, or the lascivious boozer, or even the hopelessly conniving dandy. Many of those who assume the moniker in real life also assume that it affords them the right to lift their noses a bit higher in the air. In my opinion, both are miscontrued notions of the term and the persona.

In searching the interwebs for a more accurate description of the bon vivant, I came across one delightfully simple but perfectly illustrative definition.

 

“If you love good food, good company, good times and something really, really good to drink, then you’re probably a bon vivant. In fact, if you love two out of the four, then you are most likely a bon vivant.”

The above quote is from “Are You a Bon Vivant?”  on the blog, Miss Lola Says…. Miss Lola goes on to explain what bon vivants bring to the… er, table:

 

“We all know at least one bon vivant. And this is how they make our worlds better:

  • They bring the lightness of life with joy, laughter and gaiety.
  • They introduce us to experiences and foods that we would not otherwise have an interest in.
  • They help us keep the goodness of life in perspective. And we all need goodness, right?”

Miss Lola Says… features well-written articles on etiquette and common sense manners that are suitable for intergalactic spies and bon vivants alike. As bon vivants are known for their refinement, the blog should serve as a handy resource should you need to remind yourself or a less-refined associate of the appropriate behavior in any situation.

I invite you to peruse some of my favorite posts from Miss Lola:

An Excerpt from “The Correct Thing to Do, to Say, to Wear” [1941]

 

Putting on Airs

 

HINTS TO KITCHEN MAIDS by Rufus Estes

 

Tips for Riding the Elevator with Me.

 

In the meantime, I’m working on a series of posts that will delve deeper into what it means to pursue the profession of a bon vivant – including some life examples of famous bon vivants, both real and fictional. Stay tuned.

 

cheers,

 

k

photo:A Chair-i-table Event 2011 by rwentechaney, on Flickr

spiderman saves obama's inauguration

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Just saw a USA Today article about a special inauguration edition of a Spider Man comic book.

Obama and SpiderMan giving each other a ‘fist bump’?

Wow. How crazy is that?

Furthermore, how crazy is it that I WANT one!?

 

cheers,

k

my other favorite dorothy – a song, a film, a book

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Everyone who knows me know how much I love Dorothy Dandridge, but not too many know of my love for the other Dorothy.

I suppose it all started with one of my favorite Prince B-sides, The Ballad of Dorothy Parker. I couldn’t have been more than 11 years old when I first heard it, and the song just struck me as even weirder than most of the others on the Sign o’ the Times album. At that time, I didn’t even know what a ballad was (I remember having to look it up in my big dictionary, you know…like we did before the internet), but I loved, loved, loved that song. Everytime I listened to it, I could envision Prince eating fruit cocktail and taking a bath with his pants on, while flirting coyly with some dishwater blond named Dorothy Parker who could throw him and everyone else in the ‘violent room’ off their game with just a few choice words. Oh, how I wanted to be Dorothy Parker.

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toni morrison releases 9th novel

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Toni Morrison has a solid position among the ranks of the the most influential African – American authors of modern times. And if her Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes weren’t enough evidence of that, the fact that our President-elect named her 1977 book, Song of Solomon, as one of his favorites ought to do it.

In every Morrison novel to date (and I’ve read them all) you can be sure you’ll find her unmistakable literary trademarks, namely:

 – rich verbal imagery that’s often so complex and intricately detailed as to leave fans’ heads spinning or to cause casual readers to denouce her works as impossible to follow or understand.

 – intimate, emotionally compelling black folk stories that illuminate a period or place in black history as it was lived, not a condensed version made to fit within a history book, and

 – her effortless blending of everyday life occurences with the supernatural

With all of that to bake into a single tome, I can only imagine that it must take a hell of a lot of crafting and sculpting for Ms. Morrison to come out with a finished work. Each of her 8 previously published novels had a span of no less than 3 years between them, and it’s been about 5 years since she released her last novel, Love.

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nanowrimo '08 – calling all would-be novelists!

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Beginning tomorrow, November 1, Nanowrimo 2008 will kick off for experienced and aspiring novelists all around the world.

I know so many people (myself included) who have their in-progress novel that’s been ‘in-progress’ for months or even years.  So many distractions get in the way of actually completing what seems like an insurmountable task – work, family, social obligations, etc.

But once a year, National Novel Writing Month (a.k.a. Nanowrimo) occurs, and spurs people from all over the world to quit procrastinating and knock out a 50,000 word novel in just 30 days. Think of it as a boot camp for novelists.

Think it’s impossible?

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the 15 project – atlanta gets its own talk show

I hear the wait for Oprah Winfrey show tickets is at least a couple of months. Tyra’s show? There’s nothing available ’til October (please don’t ask me why I know that).

Forget waiting. Be a part of a live studio audience this weekend and in your own back yard.

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april is national poetry month

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national poetry month

Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? Don’t feel bad…neither did I until a few days ago. But when I found out, I thought, “How fitting! Spring and poetry go together like peanut butter and jelly”. So I felt obligated to write a post in honor of the occasion.

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