M.J. Fievre is a Haitian expatriate who lives and writes in Florida. Fievre wrote an essay in TNB Books’ new collection, The Beautiful Anthology, about her beautiful mother and her father’s unpredictable and violent mood swings. Here, she discusses beauty:
What is the biggest surprise when it comes to beauty?
I’ve found that some people are so physically flawed that they end up being beautiful.
How can we make the world more beautiful?
If we can ever learn how to be more comfortable with ourselves—inside and out—and allow other people the same courtesy, that’s a good start to helping make the world a more beautiful place.
Elizabeth Collins is the editor of The Beautiful Anthology, and she is also a contributor who has essays published on The Nervous Breakdown. Her memoir, Too Cool for School, releases later this summer.
What are you sick of hearing or reading about when it comes to beauty?
Probably articles in women’s magazines about doing a “smoky eye” with peacock-hued eyeshadows applied half an inch below the eyes. As if anyone could pull that off in real life without scaring people.
Tyler Stoddard Smith is a widely published humorist and the author of the forthcoming book Whore Stories. He is also a TNB contributor featured in The Beautiful Anthology, where he wrote a humorous essay that is not based on his real life.
What is your personal definition of beauty?
Growing up with artists, I learned to look at things critically all the time. Everything is up for review–clothing, landscapes, food. Our house has become one long meditation on beauty which evolves over time. Right now I seem to be obsessed with the beauty of tiny microenvironments, terrariums and aquariums.
Greg Olear, author of the novels Fathermucker and Totally Killer, is a senior editor at The Nervous Breakdown and a contributor to TNB Books’ new collection, The Beautiful Anthology, where he wrote about the beauty of imperfection.
What is beautiful that is also ugly?
Ann Coulter. She is clearly on Lucifer’s payroll. She’s distractingly attractive, especially for a Republican, which makes the things she says even more repugnant. Bill Maher is enamored of her; have you seen her on his show? He’s usually relentless, but she turns him into a puppy dog.
J.E. Fishman, author of the thriller Primacy, and the forthcoming novel Cadaver Blues, is a featured contributor in TNB Books’ new collection, The Beautiful Anthology, where he wrote about the most beautiful tennis serve he ever hit.
Most beautiful writer/artist?
Michelangelo. His David and his Pietá can’t be captured in a photograph; you have to see them in real life before you die. Creativity is such a delicate thing. To think that these works began in someone’s head and found eternal perfection in stone, of all things—hard stone—it stops the world when you see them.
Jessica Anya Blau, author of the acclaimed novels Drinking Closer to Home and The Summer of Naked Swim Parties, is a contributor to TNB Books’ new collection, The Beautiful Anthology, where she wrote about feeling self-conscious about her nose.
What are you sick of hearing or reading about when it comes to the general idea of beauty?
Nothing. Beauty fascinates me. I love looking at celebrity plastic surgery photos. In general, they make me never want to have plastic surgery.
June 09, 2012
Few things put more doubt and insecurity in us than our physical attributes and our own taste for what is attractive, and yet beauty still holds the power to reveal the sublime in the seemingly banal. For some, beauty comes face-to-face in a single arresting instant. To others, it is found in contrast with something else, observed over a period of time. Some of the contributors in Beautiful reclaim their definition of beauty; others recognize it in places, objects, and motion; still for others, finding their own beauty is a continuing process. In her introduction to The Beautiful Anthology, editor Elizabeth Collins considers our conflicting opinions of beauty, “how one person’s beauty, or what one finds beautiful, is not always appreciated by others.”
Zoe Zolbrod, author of the novel Currency (OV Books), is also a contributor to TNB Books’ The Beautiful Anthology, due out next week. Her essay in the anthology, “Pai Foot,” recounts a love affair she had in Thailand.
James D. Irwin has been writing for The Nervous Breakdown for several years. He is 23 years old and lives in England. Irwin’s writing is featured in TNB Books’ THE BEAUTIFUL ANTHOLOGY, on sale June 9 wherever books are available online.
What is NOT beautiful to you?
The majority of modern art. I went to a gallery once and somebody had smeared cake on a table. That isn’t art. It’s a good afternoon tea spoiled.
Nora Burkey is an emerging writer featured in TNB Books’ new collection, The Beautiful Anthology. She currently teaches English in Korea. Burkey, who wrote a politically charged, feminist essay about the beauty of the poor students in Cambodia, answers a few questions:
Robin Antalek, acclaimed author of The Summer We Fell Apart, is featured in TNB Books’ new collection, The Beautiful Anthology, where she wrote about her daughter’s tattoo. Here, Antalek answers a few essential questions about beauty:
What’s the most beautiful place you’ve even been, and why is it beautiful?
The moment right after giving birth, when the pain is gone and the baby is healthy. Everything stopped, and nothing mattered but the now.