Author Chandler Burr wrote a novel all about Hollywood (and gives some insight on why we write)

Still Life with Book

…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.

Museum of Arts and Design Presents First Museum Exhibition Exploring the Design of Perfume Opening November 20, 2012 | MAD Museum.

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.

From: Vickie Lester
To: Chandler B.

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:

Love, Vickie

From: Chandler Burr
To: Vickie Lester

Hi Vickie,

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.

Love, Chandler

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  1. September 27, 2013

    Wow! That is wonderful. I have even worse Chandler crush now. Thanks for sharing.
    Portia xx

    • September 27, 2013

      My pleasure! And thanks for listing the interviews. xox, V

  2. September 27, 2013

    This exchange of emails is lovely. As are your pear candles 🙂

    • September 27, 2013

      Gift from a friend, they are whimsical – the candles that is, the letter from Chandler is a delight!

      • September 27, 2013

        Yes, I feel it is something you might like to hug to your heart….if you do that sort of thing! I do 😀

  3. Heather in Arles
    September 27, 2013

    Oh my, his response deeply resonated with me. It brought tears to my eyes too!

    • September 27, 2013

      Just gorgeous, and a funny coincidence – I just put your friend, Anne Mah’s book in my Amazon cart a couple of days ago!

  4. September 27, 2013

    Dearest V
    Our words like little Voyager probes cast out into space waiting to meet a response and send it home.
    What a beautiful thought.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

    • September 28, 2013

      Voyager – now traveling through interstellar space – I get chills thinking about it!

  5. September 28, 2013

    Ping…. ping….ping… PING!
    Love to you and to Chandler….now I have to get back to what I was writing.

    PS….I think a negative response would fall under the category of …pong.

    • September 28, 2013

      Or… pish-tush! What’cha writing? Could it be a bedtime story???

  6. October 27, 2013

    Chandler expresses something there that is poetic,beautiful and true.Really moving and insightful I know that i will sneak back and reread it from time to time.

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