"Idols of March" -- art and words about idolatry, hero-worship, and putting people on a pedestal. Share your stories of meeting bigwigs, being fanboys, and autographs.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Ten Amazing Secrets About Lists of Secrets

By Ellen Grafton

1. Adding numbers to mundane facts makes them compelling.

2. People like to procrastinate.

3. Nobody fact checks numbered lists from the internet so long as they are quirky enough to remember and plausible enough to believe.

4. Unusual uses for household objects are not secrets.

5. Instructions for how to turn a scarf into a belt, a shirt into a dress, or a pair of men’s basketball shorts into a one-shouldered dress are not secrets.

6. Adding avocado instead of mayonnaise to a sandwich is not a secret.

7. An observation paired with a GIF is not a secret.

8. A secret is something your best friend whispers into your ear on the school bus. A secret is something your lover says very quietly from the pillow next to yours. A secret is a moment of quiet beauty you observe when you are alone, and you know that you will never tell anyone about it. 

9. Those secrets will never be published by Buzzfeed.

10. This list contains no secrets.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

I've Got a Secret, I Can't Tell You.

By Sandy Caribou

There’s something about the show GIRLS that makes me squeal and sigh with the absolute pure feeling of truth and understanding. What is it about Lena Dunham’s writing and direction that makes all of the events happening to all of her characters perfectly relatable to the minutiae of my own life? From feeling like an aimless, hopeless, artistic novice after graduating a small liberal arts school, Hannah bops from job to job, writing sometimes, drinking lots of the time, searching for her raison d’ĂȘtre. She deals with issues of wondering how to pay her rent, selfishly searching for worth in her relationships and friendships, trying to figure out what it is she should be doing for herself to take her on rightful path.

I relate to this every day of my life, well most days. via NSMBL
Season three spoke to me in ways that are impossible to convey – but the very story arch mirrored my life in such an uncanny manner, that I was left having to pick my jaw up off of the floor. Hannah finds herself excited about her e-book, forming a close professional relationship with her publisher and boss, who promises her everything she could have hoped for. And then, he dies. Suddenly. Hannah does what any normal person would do, mourns in her own way, then asks about the fate of her book. This is the aha moment for me, because I lived through a similar experience last year, and seeing the story unfold on screen was entirely therapeutic for me. I lost a colleague and mentor, mourned in my own way, then came back to the table to see what was left for me. I asked for a raise, I asked for recognition, but what I got in return was a shrug and a thanks for the hard work I’d put in.

So I did what Hannah did, I took a job in a corporate environment. Albeit her corporate environment was stylish and chic, full of endless free snacks, and buzz words – mine is a little bit lackluster to say the least. But what Hannah and I have in common is that we are both able to rise above the corporate bull, stand up at the table, and say to our colleagues, this is bull. We are better than this, I am better than this. And then we do what any fired-up human would do, we search for our "true authentic selves" and we find it somewhere else. In Hannah's case, she quits, on the spot, mid-meeting. Declaring "You can't fire me, I quit!"

Hannah and Joe hard at work, coming up with buzz words at GQ. via GQ
And what better time to quit, when she is following her secret pursuits – which are unveiled in the finale of season three. Hannah comes home, casually checks her mail, and receives an acceptance letter to the Iowa Writers Workshop – the best MFA program in the country. This whole entire time, she had a secret. The secret pursuit to apply to graduate school far away from her insular Brooklyn world, unbeknownst to her friends or family. And she succeeds.

Hannah clutching her acceptance letter to Grad School via vulture
So, you might be asking, what does this have to do with Sandy? Well here I am to publicly announce to the blogosphere a secret of my own. After graduating from a small liberal arts college, wandering from job to job, worrying about rent, mourning the loss of my mentor, finding a job that doesn’t stimulate me creatively or emotionally… I too have secretly applied to grad school, and I too have been accepted. I have had to keep it a secret for professional and personal reasons, but the secret burns to fiercely in my heart, that I am using the safe space of Side Dish as a platform to announce that I am have found a hole in the universe the exact shape of myself, and I plan on filling it up with everything I’ve got. UIC Museum and Exhibition Studies Program Class of 2016, hear me roar

My own acceptance letter of sorts, which I am metaphorically clutching to my chest

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


“And when at last you find someone to whom you feel you can pour out your soul, you stop in shock at the words you utter— they are so rusty, so ugly, so meaningless and feeble from being kept in the small cramped dark inside you so long.”  - Sylvia Plath
“If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.” - George Orwell
“Secrets, silent, stony sit in the dark palaces of both our hearts: secrets weary of their tyranny: tyrants willing to be dethroned.” - James Joyce

April's Side Dish theme is SECRETS: kept, released, festering, blooming. Share your secrets, someone else's, or no one's at all. 

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