By all accounts good old Dorothy was a self-destructive, sarcastic, lunatic. She was horribly fantastic at seeing life for what it really was — love it or hate it. And she certainly knew how to live it. A great many writers seem to have an unrealistic, or overly optimistic “seize the day” style pep that simply irritates any sensible person. Dorothy’s writing often bears that message of living as though you may find yourself dead tomorrow. However, she doesn’t have that nauseating tone of a born again rainbow salesman. Which as a die hard realist, I certainly appreciate. Live how you must, but do it now. That’s ultimately the underlying, idealistic fuel for a life of experience, exploration and exhaustion. Wouldn’t you agree? For example,
On Cheating The Fiddler
“Then we will have tonight!” we said.
“Tomorrow — may we not be dead?”
The morrow touched our eyes, and found
Us walking firm above the ground,
Our pulses quick, our blood alight.
Tomorrow’s gone — we’ll have tonight!
I had considered “Enough Rope” as the title of this very site in honour of Dorothy. A sober point that it’s very easy to throw out your baby with all that bathwater. The freedom and wherewithal to shrug off the nine to five and be independent for a living really is just enough rope to hang yourself, isn’t it? Note: should anyone ever wish to give me a treasured gift, I’d eternally swoon over an Enough Rope first edition. Just saying. Ultimately, it came across as a bit too sobering of a title for what should be a fairly sunny genre of writing. So I opted for nonsense instead.
If you ever have the opportunity to acquire a copy of The Portable Dorothy Parker I highly recommend seizing it. As I got down to the very last handful of items in my apartment to toss, I came across my copy. As one of the only books left on my shelf I was torn over what to do with it. My old back says there’s no way I’m toting it around in my backpack, but my bloody heart says that it surely must come with. At the time of this writing it rests tentatively on the “pack me” pile. We’ll see. I leave you with some of Dorothy’s shorter and more famous quotes. Good day.
“Drink and dance and laugh and lie, Love, the reeling midnight through, For tomorrow we shall die! (But, alas, we never do)”
“I don’t care what anybody says about me as long as it isn’t true.”
“Lips that taste of tears, they say are the best for kissing.”
“I shall stay the way I am because I do not give a damn.”
“I wish I could drink like a lady / I can take one or two at the most / Three and I’m under the table / Four and I’m under the host”
Finally, my very favourite, “You can drag a horticulture, but you can’t make her think.”