…another re-post from last year while I recuperate, and a great book about an unsuspected side of Hollywood…
Chandler Burr has written several books, two on perfume, one on the biological origins of sexuality, and a novel: You or Someone Like You. He also has been involved in a series of interviews on scent that have been featured on WordPress. He speaks candidly and often on the intersection of design and scent,
and as the curator of olfactory art at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York he knows and shares a vast amount of knowledge on an emerging, but long abiding, art form that I have been barely exposed to.
How did I wedge myself into this conversation? Two of my dear friends are Lanier of SCENTS MEMORY | There is nothing like the smell of a man. and The Dandy of The Perfumed Dandy. | A gentleman all at sea on an ocean of female fragrance — and through Lanier, Mr. Burr got in touch with me after I had re-blogged his first WordPress interview. It came to his attention that I had read his novel, and he wanted my impression of it as he was adapting it into a screenplay.
As you know, I’ve been wrapped up in this edit and Sunday I shot off an email to Chandler and I got a response that brought tears to my eyes; not just for its eloquence, or for its perfect description of why we write, but because of its sheer, open, heartfelt beauty. Something I find in his writing, and something I’ve come to recognize in this Internet community almost everyday.
Before I descend into complete seclusion – I have to apologize. I wanted to talk to you about your novel after I had immersed myself in it again – but I haven’t had a chance and I don’t think I’ll be done with this edit until the end of October. I haven’t done anything but work on this book since my husband went on location and the Kid went off to study in Antwerp. It’s great to have the time, but it’s also a little hermetic.
Okay, I’m going to tell you what I remember about You or Someone Like You and what I loved about it. I loved the alternate take on Hollywood. I loved that the vehicle Anne rode through life was literature. I loved that the concept behind it reflected how books can change and expand cognition, change and expand relationships, and change and expand our ability to empathize. I was so irritated (in a good way) by Howard’s abandonment of his family into a religious retreat from reality (really P.O.’d, quite frankly). I admired the force of Anne’s love and her willingness to make their relationship whole again. I loved Sam. He was a kick.
I hope the adaptation of your novel into a screenplay is going well.
You know, I don’t even know you, but based on your book alone I have to say:
I realize that writers write for many reasons, but the two most fundamental must be money—and there’s nothing wrong with that—and a desire to transmit a deeply important part of ourselves, what we think or hope for or fear or whatever, that we’ve dreamed of expressing and struggled to do so, outward into space and hope that like radar we get back thousands and millions of pings of those conscious of what we’ve written. Even the negative and uncomprehending responses are worth something. But the responses like yours contradict the idea that we’re alone. We are and we aren’t, and if someone understands, in one way or another to one degree or another, this part of me that I put out there, they change my life as well.