Stephanie Karlik

Category: Book Excerpts

Autobiography Insert

Roy Horn of Siegfried & Roy was getting his hair done next to me at the salon today. He was the one who was mauled by the tiger during a show. He barely survived and is in a wheelchair, helped by an assistant to get around.

I overheard him say, “You have to have passion!” to a stylist in conversation and gave a little fist pump for emphasis to go along with the statement.

That a man who has endured so much can say that was pretty inspirational to me.


Dotty as a Dumpling

From Roald Dahl’s Going Solo:

Miss Trefusis was all bones and grey skin, and when she walked her body was bent forward in a long curve like a boomerang. She told me she owned a small coffee farm in the highlands of Kenya and that she had known Baroness Blixen very well. I myself had read and loved both Out of Africa and Seven Gothic Tales, and I listened enthralled to everything Miss Trefusis told me about that fine writer who called herself Isak Dinesen.

“She was dotty, of course,” Miss Trefusis said. “Like all of us who live out there, she went completely dotty in the end.”

You aren’t dotty,” I said.

“Oh yes, I am,” she said firmly and very seriously. “Everyone on this ship is as dotty as as a dumpling. You don’t notice it because you’re young. Young people are not watchful. They only look at themselves.”

“I saw Major Griffiths and his wife running round the deck naked the other morning,” I said.

“You call that dotty?” Miss Trefusis said with a snort. “That’s normal.”

“I didn’t think so.”

“You’ve got a few shocks coming to you, young man, before you’re very much older, you mark my words,” she said. “People go quite barmy when they live too long in Africa. That’s where you’re off to, isn’t it?”

“Yes,” I said.

“You’ll go barmy for sure,” she said, “like the rest of us.”

Like Going to Mars

Katie Roiphe’s In Praise of Messy Lives:

in the beginning it was very hard to get the voice of her upper east side upbringing out of her head, to separate the flock of preppy spence girls in their green plaid uniforms, the blocks of doorman buildings and tulip-lined avenues, from the amorphous entity she was beginning to think of as her self. those first days in the dungeon, wearing latex, whip in her hands, she hears a voice call her trashy, a whore, a loser, but she doesn’t know if it’s her voice.

then somewhere she crosses over. the world she has moved into is so extreme, so profoundly and flamboyantly unacceptable that it frees her from the narrow or confining definitions of a successful life she was struggling with; it’s not like failing a little, or not fitting in a little. it’s like going to mars.