The Feed: @gladysandnorma

By Elizabeth Gracen:

Image: By New York Sunday News - This file was derived from:  Marilyn Monroe in 1952: Public Domain

The Feed is a monthly series that takes a closer look at the unique, fascinating, and individually curated Instagram feeds from around the world. It is a fast, fun and easy platform where creators share personal stories, studies and passions through images and brief text. The content is varied and vast with eye-catching appeal, and I absolutely love finding out about the creative minds behind some of these feeds.

This week we focus on the Instagram feed of @gladysandnorma.

EG: Your @gladysandnorma Instagram feed is fabulous! Marilyn! Tell our readers a little bit about yourself and the description on the account: "Dwyer Tarantino here to share the inspiration behind my second novel based on a fictional adventure between Marilyn Monroe and her mother Gladys."

DT: Many thank yous, I never thought it would get more than a few followers when I first started on this journey. I didn't expect it at least, and I am enthralled to have gotten to this point. I had just finished the first book I wrote and, due to family obligations and moving, I wasn't able to find a publisher. Granted, I didn't look too long, for I had very little strength to summon. I knew I wanted to write about Marilyn, and diving into a new book seemed to bring me more comfort than the clinical world of trying to publish! I started the Instagram account hoping it would bring me inspiration, and it most certainly has, from the friends I've made to getting an unofficial degree in Marilyn Monroe studies—the information on her and the dedication of her fans on Instagram is amazing.


The book I'm writing (it's almost finished) focuses on Marilyn as Norma, a wide-eyed teenager, and her mother, Gladys. It's fictional. I have them meet and go on a small journey when Norma Jean is 15 years old. I guess it stems from the fact that my mother and I were displaced and homeless when I was 15. We were trying to survive. The only book I had saved was a fun novelty book on how to do your makeup like Marilyn Monroe's. It had some information about her life, and I clung to it, especially because, in my vulnerable state, I felt so connected to Marilyn, who had lived a hard childhood. Mine had just collapsed; she became my patron saint, so to speak. Over the years, I've wondered how much her mother might have played a part in who she became; perhaps there's a lot more to their relationship than people know. And so I started writing and researching and reading. As I'm trying to still get stability in life, my desire to write is constant, and given a little more time, I hope to publish either my first book or this one soon. After all, I went to school for many years (I'll be 34 next month), and I feel it's the right time to start a career, a new beginning. I'm comforted by the fact that so many authors—especially my favorites (Edna Ferber, James M. Cain, Edith Wharton), and authors in general—often don't start a career til their mid thirties or forties or beyond!

Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, left, join Marilyn Monroe's all-girl band in Some Like It Hot. Photograph: Ronald Grant Archive

EG: The sheer number of images of Marilyn on your feed is stunning. Where do you find all of them? How and why do you choose the images that you curate? DT: I have seen so much of Marilyn's life in photos that I almost have a photographic memory of her life in chronological order. I can usually tell from a photo