Wednesday, September 29, 2010

the uncontained ones.

the one on the train
the one walking by the side of the road
the one walking on water
or striking toward the sun
the one writing, collapsed,
arm, head to sand
the one who travels
the one who doesn't know
the one who can't say
the one in flowing clothes
or sweat-stained
or smelling of
horses and juniper
the one playing cello in concrete canyons
the one who stands on the sand
facing sunset
the boy that jumps both feet high in his joy

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

some combination of these factors...

what i have been doing instead of writing here:

riding a train to san luis obispo to wander in yarn stores, read up on personality theory, and spill the beans to my sometime-boyfriend about The Way Things Are.

having my wallet lifted on the bus home. no money, no credit cards, no i.d. But lots of id.

taking 12 credits of classes, all in the evening, and returning home most nights past 11...with four hours worth of homework.

deciding to go to court for full custody.

planning the trajectory of a life and the birthday party of an almost-6-year-old simultaneously.

finding more questions than answers in each new thing I learn.

and yes, I know ALL about repression, denial, and rationalization thank you very much. I have a quiz on them tomorrow...

Monday, September 13, 2010

some things i have noticed:

children love to watch fish.

strangers, when you flash them a wide smile, almost always glance over their shoulder before daring a smile back.

NPR goes with everything.

people's secrets generally make them more interesting, in direct proportion to how cleverly they are concealed.

those who are brave enough to be disliked or even unlovable tend to advance the understanding of the human race.

it defeats the purpose of taking a lover if you are going to choose one that lives 5 hours away.

an entirely free day never turns out to be as fun as a day that is entirely free except for one commitment.

true thing: I don't think I am ever entirely honest with anyone.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

une femme de genie ayant l'existence d'une femme ordinaire.

That is what Proust believes makes a real-life heroine: a woman of genius leading an ordinary existence.

When I read this for the first time I felt stunned and slightly sick. Because Proust did not say this is what makes a woman fulfilled. He did not say this is what makes a woman happy. He did not say this is what makes a woman powerful. He said that this is what makes a woman heroic.

The women that I love--and there are many--are all women of genius. They look at the world in ways that would break its heart if it knew. They have ideas I cannot wrap my mind around. They create beauty as if it were a reflex. Given time, and space, and financial backing, I have no doubt that these women could create entire worlds of their own, peopled with rich ideas, unusual music, new thoughts and traditions, provocative poetry...

...and some already do. But most of us do this in the snatches of time found between all of the other wearing daily obligations that don't seem to get us anywhere. The floor that always has to be swept, for all the good it will do you. The clothes that still need to be hemmed and washed and folded, though they'll be back in the hamper almost instantaneously, ready for another go at your lifeblood. The food to buy and cook and stow away and wipe up. Toilets to scrub. None of this is news. But---somehow---there are women who submit to all of this, these all-consuming claims upon their time, and still manage to write heartrending poetry. Paint. Coin philosophies. Run for congress. Dream up new ways of being in this world. LIVE.

These things are heroic precisely because they demand everything of us. Maintaining a life that requires routine, drudgery, paperwork, scheduling and yet finding the space somehow for thoughts that are untethered, amorphous, shifting---finding space for the new and brave and bold and unorthodox---finding space to love new people, change, alter, bend---this is the ultimate tightrope act. This is where the revelatory art is, the most fraught poetry, the deepest experience. Everyone can relate to it, that search for meaning amidst the dross of day-to-day dulness. WE ARE IT. We are the heroines of this time when nothing seems important enough to be heroic.

I don't know if there is a way to hold onto those moments when I can FEEL life, when there is intimacy on every level, when the world makes sense even as its incessant complexity forces me to struggle along, keep up. They don't happen so often. I don't know if such a state is even sustainable; it could get exhausting. But I don't want to fall into the dulness either, to accept a routine that replaces my curiosity and craftiness and potential with an easy schedule.

But we are equal to it, aren't we? We are heroic. We have to be. Even when it is perplexing and it hurts.

True thing of the day:
I am more myself when I am with friends than when I am with my children.

C'mon, now, you lily-livered blogreaders. If you're out there--tell me something true.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

tell me something true.

One unexpected side effect of the weekend-long role-playing extravaganza was that my brain got so involved with creating my fictional character/persona that it used up all my deception. That meant, there was no dishonesty left to play roles or games in my "real" life, and all my interactions got a lot more straightforward. I had some great insights into my own life because I didn't even have the deceptive energy to hide things from myself!

Which was a lovely change of pace. And the sense of opening up, of rampant possibility is a little heady right now.

So I am going to say a truthful thing here, every day, and I invite you to do the same. It's good for you!

Here goes:

I wanted to cry on the bus ride home yesterday but I was too intimidated by the driver. So I held it in, walking as quickly as I could to get home before it spilled out. But when I got here I didn't feel like crying anymore. I was really disappointed.

Your turn...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

finding the art.

the shadows xir's hair makes against the pillow when he sleeps.

the tiny rivers of silt that pattern the pavement after i water the vegetables.

the emails, by turns stilted and effusive, that chronicle a budding relationship.

the colors my mind makes on the inside of my eyelids when it is trying to capture something preternaturally difficult.

the position of people's hands while they ride buses.

the books i choose to read, the clothes i choose to wear, the thoughts i choose to think. the music that plays while someone says something hurtful.

the framing of a memory.

Friday, September 3, 2010

playing the role.

Did you know that neurologically speaking, there is no fiction? That our brains cannot discriminate between actions that originate in our own free will and actions we make only because we are following a script? This is why laughter therapy works. When we laugh long enough, however false that laughter might be, in time our brains begin to manufacture and release the chemicals that provoke/are provoked by genuine laughter. This is why so few method actors can maintain long-term relationships. Their brains cease to recognize their roles as separate from their personalities.

Is it just me, or is this really really scary? Doesn't the ground get slippery? What, if anything, is left as the basis of our personalities? Or is the personality itself simply a construct, easily altered at a whim?

All of these questions are bubbling up after a 3-hour workshop I just attended. The workshop was to get us prepared for a grueling weekend of live-action role playing/performance art at the Hammer museum. Based upon self-actualization workshops that enjoyed great popularity in the 1970's--think "Be Here Now" meets Scientology--this performance will recreate such a workshop, with one vital difference. No one is really participating in the workshop. Everyone is attending in a role, and we will remain in character at all times throughout the weekend. Every interaction will be undertaken through this role; whatever psychological breakdowns or breakthroughs might occur will occur only to the character.

Interesting, right? Or maybe really freaking crazy? I can't decide. There is so much to think about, on so many levels. I have chosen to undertake a character radically different from my inherent persona. The primary difference is that she does not care what impression she makes on others, doesn't care to make friends or soothe or placate people. She doesn't smile much. She prefers intellectual discussion to any kind of emotional display. And--big surprise--she's got a house, a car, a 401k, and no progeny. I will be wearing mascara, people.

I tried her out during a few practice exercises this afternoon and found it very, very hard to maintain at first. But oddly enough, her assertiveness and overdeveloped self-confidence became almost second nature by the end of the day. I actually had to remind myself to smile at people on the bus ride home.

Whoa. Is it possible, through sheer force of will, to suddenly attain characteristics that one NEVER HAD? If so, what on earth keeps us from doing this all the time?

And yes, I realize that just a few posts ago I had promised myself that I would try and integrate all my personas and stop the role playing. But that was just life...this is ART!