Thursday, February 05, 2009

Star Worship - Part Two

After untold discussions with Julia about how I didn’t think it was necessary for her to be so totally obsessed with Miley Cyrus and Hannah Montana, I'm not getting anywhere. So I have tried to stop. I know this phase will pass too. Soon she will be on to the next great thing. I myself remember being crazy about The Brady Bunch, Bobby Sherman, David Cassidy and The Partridge Family and I turned out alright. And as one commenter said, HM (the show) is pretty funny itself. She said it reminds her of "LaVerne and Shirley." I am thinking of the slapstick in "I Love Lucy." For me, it is the Disney machine that I object to mostly - pushing all the Disney stars down every little kid's throat and crushing all the independent artists and kid caring thinkers.

Having these discussions with Julia made me think about “hero worship” and how - depending on who you are, where you live, what your hobbies are - everyone has their own "stars" in their life. We all look up to personalities that we'll never meet. And that's okay. After all, there has got to be someone to look to for ideas - people who are more skilled than you are in favorite areas of your life. I do worry about the role the media plays in all of this - knowing that there are lots of talented people out there who don't have a voice because they aren't famous.

This has made me think about the different people I have idolized over the years and also who I myself “star worship” in my current life.
So here goes – Here’s who I currently look up to. They are in no particular order.

•Julia Child – for her no nonsense attitude about food and diet. I love how Julia didn't begin real cooking until she was 40. Look how far she got and how long she lived. What a great example she is to so many women and men.

Jon Katzfor his wonderful photos and stories about his life on the farm he records on his blog. He makes me think somedays with his insightful posts. I wish I could write like that. Oh well. And his books are great too if you are a dog lover.
Patricia Wells – for her fabulous cookbooks full of wonderful meals. If you go to France, you must take her "Food Lovers Guide to France."
•E B White – for his wonderful way with words. Right now I am reading "One Man's Meat" from the 1940's and it's amazing how well it has stood up. I read his biography a while back - fascinating.
Charleston House in Sussex, England - home of the artists Duncan Grant, Vanessa, Clive, and Quentin Bell. I visited there a few years ago with my good friend Sally and it was so great to see and feel the creativity in the walls of that beautiful home. Kaffe Fassett's latest book was photographed there - what a visual feast - his sweaters, their home.
Pierre Bonnard, Henri Matisse and many of the other Fauve artists
•Tricia Guild and her Designer’s Guild team for their inspirational books. It's amazing how they keep creating fabulous collections of home decor and are able to run a successful business. Oftentimes, the two don't work.
Maira Kalman - the fabulous illustrator who has a blog at the NYTimes.
•My Mom - the fact that five girls turned out relatively okay is amazing.
•My sister Laurie - her dedication and the care she gives her handicapped daughter Elloise is astounding, not to mention Olivia and her husband Bruce.

I asked The Farmer to make a list of his stars…. Here's his short list. I've got to get him thinking more about this. He's been too busy with all those lambs to have much time to think.

Wendell Berry – The farmer, author and poet

Garry Trudeau
Gene Logson - the Author of "All Flesh is Grass" and he has a blog.

I’d love to hear who you “star worship.” Leave a note in the comments if you have time and the energy.

And not to have a day without a lamb picture, here you go.....

The Farmer Behind the Flock

Julia Communing with the Heat Lamp and the Lambs

Another Mouth to Feed

Note that new Carhart insulated jumpsuit. He's one happy guy now. The other one was shredded and tattered.


Patricia said...

Hero worship

1. You, I have always admired and envied how you put together a design, have a theme and boldly use color. It was what attracted me to CE and I have followed your career ever since.

2. MFK Fisher
Wrote about living here in the US and abroad with the theme of food running throughout the essays.

3. JKRowlings Harry Potter fame
I love that at age 49 I can get lost in her books. Bad news about the economy out comes a book.

4. Edith Wharton
Talked about class and women and their struggles. Not always happy endings but enlightening as to where we have been and how far we have gotten.

Laura from beautiful West Michigan said...

I just found your blog and I am so happy I have. I've begun reading from the beginning, and I don't want to do anything else - and I'm at work! Thanks so much for letting us suburbanites into your farm life!

Kate G. said...

Wendell Berry is up there for me, too. His poem The Mad Farmer's Manifesto was a true guide during a difficult time.

Terry Pratchett the British author and creator of the Discworld series. He's the best at slapstick! (And he has a great series on a girl witch "Hat Full of Stars" in case Julia is interested).

And my Dad. I know everyone's Dad is a hero, but this guy was absolutely my personal best.

Linda Urban said...

Count me as another Wendell Berry worshiper.

I also look to children's book writer Sharon Creech for inspiration -- steady, inspired writing, and she never gets all caught up in the hype of it all.

And my daughter's kindergarten teacher. She' patient, curious, kind, and funny. How she does that every day in a roomful of six year olds just amazes me.

Jocelyn said...

I gotta say that I had the exact same obsessions that you had! I look back and laugh now :-). As far as Julia goes - it's totally age appropriate. I'm kind of suprised that my 11 yo isn't more into it. It's pretty benign as obsessions go (IMHO) except for the fact that those Disney Channel shows drive me insane with their snarky talk and infuriating laugh track. I always say to my kids that you can watch (almost) anything you want, but only if you can separate what's appropriate behavior for a *fake* television show and behavior that is appropriate with us or other *real* people. Occasionally, DD's behavior would, um, deteriorate, and she would have to turn off these shows. It was like a light switch. There would be a dramatic improvement almost overnight. It's not a problem anymore.

I agree with a number of your adult heroes :-)

Pamela said...

my mom raised 5 girls too and we turned out so normal - all thanks to her. I love L.M. Montgomery for giving us anne and dianna - what a better example then those kindred spirits to show us how to treat our friends. you're inspiring. pamela

Wool Enough said...

Hero worship? For me it's Karen Armstrong, who overcame all sorts of personal problems to become a celebrated author of popular books about religion. The first book of hers I read was "A History of God," 700 pages on the development of monotheism, and every page totally fascinating. She has a gift for taking complex stuff and making it interesting and understandable.

Beth said...

Of course, the Farmer would love Wendell Berry. He's one of my personal favorites. I just finished reading the third of his novels in as many months.

And the horse farmer daughter up in Hoosick Falls loves hers, too. Can't live and work outside in New England without them!

ElvaUndine said...

Echoing the Wendell Berry love. I'm Very much in a W.B. phase at the moment.

Dawn Brocco said...

You! Your color sense is so much more adventurous than mine.
Norah Gaughan - love everything she designs. Wish i had her talent!
Lily Chin - her grasp of fashion in knit design.
JK Rowling - I too, at nearly 50, stop all to read a HP book! Wish I had her imagination.

Jennifer and Steve said...

Wendell Berry is one of my favorites well as Terry Tempest Williams & Barbara Kingsolver - those ladies rock my reading and thinking world every time. So many more, but that's good for a tired brain. :)

Turtle said...

Hmmm, not sure really on the hero worship. I have lots of respect for some folk (mom included) but worship may be the wrong word. Wendell Berry is not familiar to to search amazon!

Marie said...

We share two heroes right off the bat: E. B. White (check out his "Letters of E. B. White" to really give you an idea of his fascinating life) and Julia Child. I would add to that Elizabeth Zimmermann, for opening up people's minds beyond knitting; Ty Murray, for grit and determination and talent coming together in a perfect storm to make him King of the Cowboys (also a good read); Bela Fleck for being a kid from NYC who applied his particular genius and artistry to the unlikely instrument, the banjo; my Dad, who always honored his word--you could count on it. He never backed down from his promise, no matter the obstacles--and as parents, we can appreciate how tough that sometimes can be.

Diane H K in Greenfield said...

Some of my heros:

- My grandfather. He was a tremendous, caring, creative, loving individual. He lived through very difficult times, yet remained an optimist. He was the greatest influence on me, more than anyone else. I miss him every single day.

- Rita Buchanan. She taught me to spin, and I can never thank her enough for the things I learned from her.

- Stewart O'Nan, author. I've seen him interacting with people, and he is very patient and respectful. He writes very well, too.

- Peter Falk, actor. I admire his style, wit, and integrity.

barb :0) said...

My Mom ......... she was the biggest influence on my life.

I love seeing The Farmer in his new Carhart !!!!! I live in a very small, rural town in Kentucky and that is where Carhart is located !!!!! It is one of our biggest employers, and they are wonderful to the community !!!! So it is great to see it !!!!!

Kathleen C. said...

My parents... who have just celebrated their 50th anniversary. they had a lot of stresses and worries (we were military, moving all the time, Dad overseas in Vietnam, Mom home with 5 kids, 1-7 years old), but they raised 5 good strong individuals who know how to give and receive love... because we learned from them.

Other than that I have artists I admire (Martin Hayes, Irish fiddler, for his wit and amazing musical talent; Mary Cassatt, for being a female painter in a time when that didn't happen and in a style that was scoffed at at first; you for balancing family, farm life, and work and for bringing to everything you do a sense of vibrant color), but I wouldn't say I "hero worship". Not in the way I did at 11 (Jack Wilde for me! Yum!).
I see my adult admirees as real people... not heroes. It's better that way really.

Kristi said...

Goodness...I don't know many people who know who Wendell Berry is. I have been a huge reader/fan for decades. I also love the work and writings of Wes Jackson at The Land Institute, Salina, KS.

chicory cottage said...

one of the folks i look up to is mary jane butters of mary jane's farm. and also my weaving instructor, catharine ellis.

mascanlon said...

I admire my Mother, raised 4 of us pretty much alone and we all turned out to be OK productive folks with strong families.
2)My daughter Jen and her partner Liz who have 10mo adorable daughter. The are the epitome of grace and love and role models for all young GLBTs finding their way in this complicate world.
3)Anna Maria Horner and Alicia Paulson both crafters, writers and bloggers who balance family and creativity and find time to share.
4)And you, for all the reasons in 3 above plus your fabulous photos of a life we in the burbs all to often forget.

Sarah said...

Thank you for the Maira Kalman link. I loved her inauguration post. I don't subscribe to many magazines--but my parents do and they have KEPT them I always return to the arts and crafts magazines--Bungalow, Old House Journal, etc. I also find inspiration in historic houses and old book illustrations.

JackieLemon said...

I'm glad to find another mother who is not a Disney fan. For Christmas, I tried to find shirts to send my 3 granddaughters. Every store had tops with Hannah Montana on them and very little else. My grandkids are home schooled, watch very little TV and actually have no idea who HM is! I don't know how long that will last, but I'm loving it that they have so far escaped the Disney teen machine. They are 10,7 and 5 by the way. Having raised 3 daughters (and now watching them raise their daughters)I know how hard it is. Keep on saying, "This too shall pass"

Anonymous said...

Jane Weir -- I always wanted to be like her, and for awhile, I was.


AlpacaLindy said...

Just be glad that Julia hasn't yet discovered "Twilight." My 13-year-old daughter is completely obsessed with EDWARD!