I Lit A House On Fire (Just To See a Painted Sky) CH2
“and every night my mind is runnin’ around her…”
A day later, Lydia Martin woke up in her queen sized bed, pulled on her robe and padded barefoot into her own bathroom away from her parents and did not think of the boy on the cliff.
Three days later, she sat in a classroom in the proud building of St. Mary’s School for Girls and took notes on molecular biology, drew shapes and constellations and trees in the margins and did not think of the boy on the cliff.
By the time a week passed and Lydia had started and completed all the essays that were due in a month’s time, she’d still not thought about the boy on the cliff.
She’d studied for her physics test, made Malia help her shop for new shoes at the mall, argued with her mother exactly twenty four times and watched her father sneak back into their home when the sun hadn’t risen yet.
She’d cleaned her room, colour coordinated her wardrobe, fell asleep with her headphones on as her parents yelled into the night and had not thought about the boy on the cliff.
And then she would close her eyes and surrender to the night and the darkness that her duvet brought, slid her way down her sheets until cotton and her own mint and lime shampoo surrounded her.
She would think about how he had looked like summer and smelled like rain, a human version of those April showers that left rainbows on the roads and in the skies, the ones that make navy grey clouds a little bit brighter.
But she didn’t think about the boy on the cliff.
Of course not.
She stayed away from the forest and the cliff and the overlook that was her throne above the town. She stayed away from the night skies and tried her best to sleep under blankets instead of the stars. But the late night hours created a hum in the air that was electric and it refused to let her sleep.
And when family dinners with parents seeped past seven o'clock, bitterness and resentment leaving more acid in their mouths than the wine, Lydia would leave the table and walk past the melting raspberry gateaux in the kitchen, sit in her garden instead. She’d shred blades of grass with her fingers, turn up the volume on her iPod until her mother and father were screaming silent curses at each other from behind their double glazing.
The girl would sigh, watch with boredom and resentment and familiarity as her mother clattered their fine china into piles, half eaten dinners scraped into the bin as the man she called her father followed, red in the face and lying through his teeth.
Lydia was smart, she was clever, intelligent beyond her years. And at nine years old she was learning French, solving equations developed for high school students and living with the knowledge that her father had sex with women that weren’t her mother.
When she grew older, she realised that her mother must have known too. Because Natalie Martin was sharp and knew secrets that weren’t her own, kept them close to her chest like a weapon that she wouldn’t use until she needed to.
So Lydia would watch her father come home with lipstick smudged on his shirt, smelling of perfume that she didn’t recognise. He’d avoid her gaze, spend hours in the shower and let his wife scream at him until the night turned into morning and a new day came round. It would turn from dark to light, Monday became Tuesday, the earth rotated on its axis and the same thing would happen the next month.
Except, a week later, when her mother was yelling and her father refused to be remorseful, the older Martin woman would be wearing a new diamond necklace and throwing the latest Chanel clutch from the Spring/Summer 2017 collection at her husband.
Because, you see, Lydia’s mother believed in marriage before love, but not sex before marriage and everything was statuses and popularity contests. Who had the best outdoor pool? Who had the biggest summer home? Susan Jancarski across the street had eight pairs of Manolo Blahnik’s but Natalie Martin had eleven. Susan also had a husband who loved her but apparently that wasn’t as high on Lydia’s mother’s list of priorities.
But she had a five bedroom home, two and half bathrooms and a foyer that boasted a crystal chandelier that Mr Martin purchased after his long “business” weekend in Cancun. Her outdoor pool was heated and her fridge boasted a magnificently expensive collection of wine.
Imported silk curtains in every room.
Egyptian cotton pillows in the lounge.
The best champagne from France.
Pearls from Singapore.
Leather handbags from Italy.
It only made sense that her daughter attended the most prestigious school in California. The grand building of St. Mary’s school for Girls held the best of the best, talented girls who were hidden from boys and the treacherous gazes that they had.
Because, marriage before love but not sex before marriage, remember?
And from Monday to Friday Lydia pulled on her plaid burgundy skirt, inched it higher with every passing year she attended the school. Paired with the knee high socks and buttoned up shirt that hugged all the curves she grew as she powered her way through elementary, she was a walking, talking hot mess of irony wrapped up in a tight sweater emblazoned with a emblem of a saint.
Mrs Martin didn’t want the white picket fence dream, she aimed higher - wanted more. The Martin household was a white brick and marble manor, a blue lagoon pool and custom made gates with their family name engraved on a plaque.
It was a castle.
Natalie was the queen.
And Lydia was the cliché.
The long haired princess with a dirty mouth who was fucking dying to escape her ivory tower.
Stiles dreamt about her.
The one he saw in the dead of night.
He had spent all week trying not to think about her. How her hair was impossibly bright against the night sky. How her eyes were so green they stood out against the backdrop of stars and lights. How her legs were long and smooth and splayed out lazily across the rock he spent his early morning hours upon.
She’d stolen his private sanctuary, taken root, stubborn and pretty like the wildflowers that grew in the summer months.
He’d walked the hilltop every night, spent hours above the town with the stars even higher above him and a book in his hands. She had never shown up.
He tried to night after he first met her and the night after that. He tried at two am, stayed until four before giving up and following the white lines in the middle of the road back home. Four nights later he sprawled himself in the middle of that big rock, still slightly warm from the sun that had set only an hour or so before, he watched the colour fall from the sky, smiled as lilac leaked into navy. Then the stars came came out and somewhere way, way up high Venus shone a little brighter than usual.
But the girl didn’t show and suddenly the night didn’t seem all that worth it anymore.
So the boy spent his night in his bed, slept until late morning and wondered why the hell rose coloured curls had gotten him all caught up. She was a fantasy, a fleeting moment in the magic and darkness of the night. In fact, sometimes when Stiles was staring at his ceiling, he wondered if she was even real.
Then he remembered her smile and quick words, sharp and cutting with a pretty, pink switchblade to match.
He padded around his house barefoot on Saturday mornings, waited for his dad to come home from the station so they could eat lunch together. He spent his Sundays in the towns auto shop with his jeep, trying and willing to piece it back together.
During the week he spent his time in between the classes he was supposed to be attending, passing his tests with flying colours when he did show up. He collected books from the library to read late at night, spoke about lives left behind with Scott on the courtyard floor, took shit from Isaac and gave it back with a smirk on his face, drove Kira home from lacrosse practice when it got too late after school.
And the whole time he tried not to think of the girl on the cliff that he met in the middle of the night. By god, he really tried not to.
But when the night came round again, familiar and dark and the air still smelling sweet like summer, he thought of her.
He didn’t see her again. And in a town as small as his, he marvelled at the notion that this girl was almost lost forever. He’d considered asking his friends about her, describing her to them. Then he thought better of it and kept her tucked inside his mind, just for himself. Stiles had decided she wasn’t from here, a visitor, a stranger, someone on vacation probably.
Valiant Comics just released an app that is a one stop shop for everything Valiant
It is currently iOS only. Bummer, but it’s the reality of the mobile app market at this time. I’m hoping the Android version is not too far away. I am surprised the Valiant tumblr account hasn’t posted about this yet.
The app offers day and date purchasing of the entire Valiant library, along with low cost bundles. Along with everything in the current universe, they are offering a comprehensive collection of the classic Valiant Universe as well. I’m guessing it is not the total library due to rights issue with Magnus Robot Fighter, Solar Man of the Atom, and Turok Dinosaur Hunter. I will be great if this eventually evolves into offering a subscription service like Netlfix or Marvel Unlimited.
I’m Gung-ho for this. It shows Valiant is looking at ways to evolve the distribution model, adapting to the world as it is, and not as it was. At the same time is grows their potential pool of customers, putting their product in front of millions of new eyes.
And if you haven’t looked into Valiant, this is a fantastic time to do so. Their stable of artist is top notch. The writing is well thought out, and the universe is intelligently connected. Crossovers occur that can truly be understood only reading the titles you already collect. But read the whole thing, and you get a richer picture of events.
It is a captivating and diverse world. It doesn’t require the overhaul Marvel has struggled with to evolve its characters and themes to fit our modern culture and society, because that was cooked into its foundation. For real, check them out,
Qualifications: Responsible, hard worker, great swimmer, social, nice, can enforce rules, very enthusiastic, reliable, people person, certified as a Lifeguard / First Aid and CPR / AED as of 5/28/2010, quick learner, CPR certificate June 18, 2011.
Jobs and Experience:
Summer Camp 2008
-Was a camp counselor in which I monitored the kids and made sure they were safe at all times
-Enforced safety rules of the camp
Yayla Rug Store 2009
-Manual labor, carried rugs and helped out customers
After a wildly prolific decade of screenwriting and directing that made him the king of teen comedy, John Hughes receded from the cinematic landscape, his legend preserved by the classic 80s trilogy of Sixteen Candles,The Breakfast Club, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Following Hughes’s sudden death, at age 59, last summer, the author delves into his intense connections and sudden breaks with his Brat Pack actors, as well as the essential anomaly of his brief Hollywood reign.
By David Kamp
John Hughes (in white pants) with the cast of The Breakfast Club: Judd Nelson, Anthony Michael Hall, Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, and Ally Sheedy.
John Hughes never stopped writing. He was notorious for this trait, especially in the 1980s, when he churned out screenplays faster than Hollywood could make them into movies. The script for Sixteen Candles came forth in a two-day burst during the 1983 preparations for The Breakfast Club, so impressing his studio overseers that it jumped the line to become Hughes’s directorial debut, in 1984. By 1987, the year of Planes, Trains & Automobiles, Hughes had already written and directed the “teen trilogy” for which he would be most celebrated—Sixteen Candles,The Breakfast Club, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off—as well as a lesser teen comedy, Weird Science, and the movie that would actually come after Planes, Trains & Automobiles on the release schedule, the expressly post-teen She’s Having a Baby. Somewhere in this time, he had also managed to write a further two teen pictures, Pretty in Pink and Some Kind of Wonderful, that were off-loaded to another director.
Writing was, for Hughes, not so much a profession as a condition of life. The thoughts that germinated in his brain took a direct path to his hands, which filled notebooks, floppy disks, and hard drives with screenplays, stories, sketches, and jokes. When he wasn’t writing creatively, he was writing about how much writing he was doing. A spiral-bound logbook from 1985 finds Hughes keeping track of his progress on Ferris Bueller. The basic story line, he notes, was developed on February 25. It was successfully pitched the following day. And then he was off: “2-26 Night only 10 pages … 2-27 26 pages … 2-28 19 pages … 3-1 9 pages … 3-2 20 pages … 3-3 24 pages.” Wham-bam, script done. All in one week.
A box of demo tapes and mix tapes that Hughes gathered while deciding which music to use in his films in the 1980s. The tapes pictured here include temp scores (selections of existing recorded music used by directors to convey what they want in the final score), submissions from bands, and personal mix tapes of various genres that Hughes used to generate ideas for music cues.
In recent years, as he withdrew from filmmaking and ceased to maintain any sort of public profile, an air of mystery came to surround Hughes. He had been such a force; what had happened to him? He last directed a movie in 1991—the forgettable Curly Sue—and by the dawn of this century he was no longer sending new screenplays to the studios, though any studio would have been glad to have him.
Yet, in his absence, Hughes’s cultural stock only appreciated. His best movies, the teen trilogy in particular, transcended their origins as light 1980s entertainments to become, first, lodestars for such developing talents as Judd Apatow and Wes Anderson, and then, as these pictures proved their durability on TV broadcasts and DVD, outright classics. It was remarkable enough that a baby-boomer born squarely in the middle of the 20th century had somehow laid claim to the title of Teen Laureate of the 1980s; more remarkable still was that his movies turned out to be a renewable resource, with a reach far beyond the generation for which they were originally intended.
So when Hughes died suddenly of a heart attack while out walking in New York City last August, at only 59 years of age, it wasn’t just the 25th-reunion crowd that fell into mourning and remembrance but nearly the whole of movie-watching America. Duly and fondly recalled were the tragicomic romantic trials of the coltish young Molly Ringwald; the jittery patter of gangly Anthony Michael Hall; the stalking menace and flared nostrils of moody Judd Nelson; and the fictional community that their characters inhabited, Shermer, Illinois, which was at once an Everytown for every teen and an explicit homage to Hughes’s home turf, the North Shore suburbs above Chicago. And again the question arose: What had happened to Hughes—where had he gone, and what had he been up to?
Two pages from one of Hughes’s Moleskine pocket notebooks, from 2006.
The answer, to some degree, lay in the wisdom of Ferris Bueller, who, as played by Matthew Broderick, delivered the most epigrammatic of Hughes-isms: “Life moves pretty fast. You don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
At some point, Hughes stopped and looked around, and he realized that he didn’t want to make movies anymore. He wanted to be at liberty to spend as much time with his family as he pleased, to work the farm he owned 75 miles northwest of Chicago, and to exult in the resolutely uncoastal ethos of his beloved Midwest. And by 1990, with the release of his highest-grossing movie, the Macaulay Culkin sado-slapstick comedy Home Alone, which Hughes wrote and produced but did not direct, he had the means to put Hollywood and the movies behind him.
For all his success in pictures, Hughes’s directing years turned out to be an aberration in his life—a shortish stretch that required him to do uncharacteristic things like be in L.A. and keep the company of actors. The one normal aspect of this period for him, consistent with the rest of his life, was the compulsive writing. It was a habit that dated back, appropriately enough, to his teen days. “You know that assignment you always get in high school when you’re reading Walden, to keep a journal?” he said in a 1988 interview. “Well, I just kept doing that.”
The shoulder bag used by Hughes during the filming of Sixteen Candles. When the production ended, this bag was boxed up with several personal items related to the shoot and remained untouched until family members came upon it in August 2009. The bag’s contents were perfectly intact, down to the script pages from the final scene of the shoot, a newspaper, train and airline ticket stubs, and a package of Life Savers.
Last autumn, I met with Hughes’s two sons, John III and James, to discuss their father, his movies, and his post-filmmaking afterlife. We convened at a hotel in Lake Forest, Illinois, not far from their parents’ home. The brothers, born in 1976 and 1979, respectively, explained that their mother, Nancy, was still too grief-stricken to join us, though she had given them her blessing to talk. John III is a musician and producer who owns an independent record label in Chicago. He is married and the father of three young children. James, who until recently was based in New York, is a writer and the managing editor of an independent cultural magazine called Stop Smiling. He is married and became a father for the first time last June. It was during Hughes’s second trip to visit his new grandson that he suffered his fatal heart attack. James and his wife are now in the process of relocating to Chicago.
Among the first things John and James showed me was a little red Moleskine pocket notebook, three and a half by five and a half inches in size. Each page within was covered in their father’s neat, extraordinarily tiny handwriting—the cursive equivalent of three-point type. In his later years, Hughes never went anywhere without one of these notebooks on his person, the better to record anything that popped into his head at any time he wished: observations, incidents, editorials, inventories, theories, vignettes, overheard conversations. Sometimes his thoughts erupted into drawings: densely crosshatched caricatures of real-life figures such as Barack Obama and Sonia Sotomayor, or wiggy flights of fancy that variously evoked the styles of Saul Steinberg, Gahan Wilson, and R. Crumb.
“This is extremely representative of what he was like in recent years,” James Hughes said. “Where you have the Smythson of Bond Street attaché case with multiple Moleskines within, and the Pentel fine-art pens he used.”
John and James have found, so far, more than 300 pocket notebooks among their father’s effects (some Moleskines, others Smythsons), and these are but a drop in the bucket of what Hughes left behind: archival papers, old correspondence, personal journals, thick binders containing works in progress, and gigabyte upon gigabyte of computer files.
Going through all this material, said John III, has been “as comforting as it is horribly sad.” The brothers had also discovered a cache of letters that Hughes had prepared for each of his four grandchildren, to be opened and read when they’d reached certain ages. Even James’s little boy, eight weeks old at the time of his grandfather’s death, has a stack of letters awaiting him.
The canvas backing from Hughes’s director’s chair from the set of Sixteen Candles, signed by members of the crew and cast.
Hughes, his sons say, reveled in grandfatherhood; he relished the concept of growing old and shifting into the role of eccentric paterfamilias. Whereas, in the 80s, he had hewed faithfully to the fashion conventions of the time, collecting expensive basketball shoes and wearing his hair in a rococo power mullet, in his last decade he pointedly dressed in a suit nearly every day, favoring Brooks Brothers and the custom tailor Henry Poole of Savile Row. “I think it bothered him that people his same age, of similar means, were wearing sweat suits and Twittering,” said James. Though he still kept up with new music—Hughes had been a legendarily voracious record buyer in the old days, admired by rock snobs for the acuity of his soundtrack picks—he now viewed it as his primary duty to be, in his younger son’s words, “the curious, engaged grandpa in the seersucker.”
The creative writing he continued to do was, therefore, not necessarily for public consumption. In recent years, he worked in a variety of formats: memoir, short fiction, and, yes, screenplays. But he was content, John III said, to “pump the stuff out for his own satisfaction, comfortable with it never going anywhere.” He’d had his say, and it was time for others to have theirs.
This mind-set was, as contradictory as it may sound, consistent with the one that led Hughes to become the sympathetic voice of teendom in the 1980s. One of his major hobbyhorses—“a constant topic,” in James’s words—was the attention-hogging egotism of his own generation, the baby-boomers. In his view, the boomers did not know when to step aside and cede the stage. “He was kind of upset not to see more people of his generation passing the baton,” John III said. “He wanted to give youth a voice.”
A sample of one of the young Hughes’s pitches while working as a freelance joke-writer, pulled from his personal files. This particular set of one-liners was sent to Phyllis Diller in 1972, when Hughes was 22. Also stashed in the file were photocopies of the checks Hughes received from Diller ($10 per approved gag).
Avatars and Surrogates
Hughes’s own youth has been the subject of much speculation. He was so expert at delineating archetypes—“You see us as a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal,” as Anthony Michael Hall’s voice-over letter to the mean principal goes in The Breakfast Club—that viewers have naturally been moved to wonder which type represented the author himself.
In an op-ed piece published in The New York Times six days after Hughes’s death, Molly Ringwald speculated that she and Hall, both of whom appeared in three Hughes-written teen films, were his avatars, “acting out the different parts of his life—improving upon it, perhaps.” Ringwald specialized in playing the sensitive, conflicted, sexually naïve, deeply romantic ingénue who kept posters of alt-rock bands on her walls. Hall was impressively resourceful in playing three distinct iterations of the common geek. So that would have made the teenage Hughes a kind of geek romantic outsider, right?
But then, the DVD commentary for Ferris Bueller’s Day Off features a telling interview from 1986, the year of the film’s release, in which Hughes describes the dynamic among the consummate winner Ferris, his beautiful girlfriend, Sloane (Mia Sara), and Ferris’s sad-sack best friend, Cameron (Alan Ruck), as “this classic third-wheel situation, which I was always in.” You expect Hughes, whose lanky build and soft features weren’t a world away from Ruck’s, to cop to being the third wheel. But what he proceeds to say is “I always had my girlfriend … and some guy in the backseat saying [dopey voice], ‘What’re we doin’?’” Wait! Hughes was the popular kid?
A business card for Del Griffith, the John Candy character in Planes, Trains & Automobiles, that was designed by Aaron Draplin, of Draplin Design Co., in 2008. (Draplin, the creative force behind the popular Field Notes brand of memo books, was a late-in-life friend of Hughes’s.) A small run of cards was printed up, intended for circulation among Hughes’s friends and (somewhat subversively) in places where business cards are collected, such as community bulletin boards and the “goldfish bowls” that cafés and small businesses put out.
“When you know a little bit about John’s history with Nancy—they met in high school. He was a penguin that mated for life, and so was Ferris,” says Broderick, who, naturally, thinks his character is the most ready stand-in for Hughes.
The truth is that Ringwald, Hall, and Broderick—and Ruck—were all Hughes’s surrogates: refractions and distillations of various parts of a very complex character. Throughout his life, Hughes was at once an old kid and a young fogy. He was a child of the 60s who got married while barely out of his teens; a stolid adman who mischievously and semi-surreptitiously moonlighted as a humor writer; and a homebody midwestern dad who effectively created the Hollywood clique that came to be known as the Brat Pack.
To read more of David Kamp’s Article Head over to Vanity Fair
Sims 4 Guru 1:“What are the most beloved features that customers enjoy most about Sims?”
Sims 4 Guru 2:“Well there’s the iconic swimming pools that simmers have enjoyed through Sims 2 and 3, well known for their funny deaths and cool water slides.”
Sims 4 Guru 3: “Don’t forget the toddlers that add a whole new aspect to the games, giving a deeper more in-depth feel and realism into the family role-play, enjoyed greatly by many simmers who love to watch their toddlers age while learning important life skills from their parents, it brings a warmth to see them succeed they say.”
Sims 4 Guru 4:“Of course, and the freedom in Sims 3 was a complete success, many simmers loved the new features of an open world and where hoping for more openness in the next game by removing rabbit holes.”
Sims 4 Guru 1:“Hmm, well there seems to be only one thing we should do to appreciate and listen to our loyal customers, completely eliminate pools, toddlers and open worlds and replace it with crap like dying from laughing and if we decide to have pools and toddlers, we can just make them pay for an expansion pack, brilliant!”
I was dimly aware that my hands were going to be bruised, but I kept pumping anyway, long since unable to count out loud due to my lack of breath. I felt like there was no oxygen in the air, which struck me as somehow ironic as I leaned down and force air that I didn’t have out of my lungs. All the sounds of the world around me were muffled, as though my ears were full of cotton, but I could still make out the important ones. Screams, mostly. Someone on a phone finally making that call. A trill in the distance coming to relieve me.
I leaned my head down and listened, straining. With my left hand, I felt desperately for that warm expulsion of air on my damp skin. Nothing. Shit. How long had it been? If I had to ask that, it was probably too late. No, fuck that, I KNEW it was too late. But my hands found their mark and then I was pumping again, the purplish bruises already spreading like fire across my pale skin.
I didn’t stop until the EMTs arrived, but all I’d succeeded in doing was cracking the elderly man’s breastplate. Even with that force – a force that shocked the EMTs – his mouth hung slack and his skin turned gray. Despite my best efforts, there was no saving him.
He was the only swimmer who had ever died on my watch.