Monday, October 29, 2007

and I said, "I am."

I've never liked Demetri before (he's no Rob Cordry, if you know what I mean) but this, from some random knitter's blog, cracked me up.

And again - I'm wasting this on October. I should save it up, but, like Scrooge, "I'm a martyr to m'own generosity."

in which I am a genius.

I set my recipe book on fire this evening.

I was not cooking at the time...well, kind of. Charon, on her way home from a gig, stopped by for a cup of tea. I switched on the burner, and withdrew to the eating part of the kitchen (by which I mean 'the storing promotional dvds, magic props and stuff to take to the Goodwill part of the kitchen' - it just looks like we should be eating there because it has a highchair in it, and, somewhere under the pile, alledgedly a table). We're chatting away about her gig (a wedding reception) and My Adorable Child and this and that and eventually we begin to wonder why the room seems to be COMPLETELY FILLED WITH THICK GREY SMOKE.

She heroically picks up the journal, and tosses it into the sink, dousing the flaming cover but, unbelievably, not messing up any of the hand-written recipes.

I, meanwhile, shout for the World's Best Husband to come out and help us open windows while I unhook the smoke detector.

Actual transcript of conversation:

me: Honey! We've had a little fire! Come out to the kitchen and help us open windows! I'll unhook the smoke detector!

World Best: (no response at all.)

Me: Honey! Fire! Fans! Windows!

World Best: (no response at all.) (He's watching Masterpiece Theatre. The Amazing Mrs. Pritchard. I might not have responded either.)

Me: Fine, we'll just do it.

(Another minute or so passes.)

World's Best: (running into the kitchen.) Smoke! The house is filled with smoke! Open a window, for heaven's sake!

And my deepest regret is that this happened during October. Because you can bet I'll be dyin' for this kind of material during NaBloPoMo.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

What are you doing in 5 weeks?

Because we will TOTALLY be here!!

woo fuckin' hoo.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

the paradox

An interesting thing happened to me the other day.

I think I grew up.

I'm not sure I understand it yet. This I can say: several times in one day last week, I experienced the thing that I have pretty much devoted my life to avoiding. Much as I talk a big game about being all postmodern and comfortable with ambiguity and holding a web of interconnected beliefs and all that crap, the fact is that certain kinds of strong conflicting emotions have always been pretty much physically unbearable for me. They make me anxious in a way that I cannot bear.

This comes out mostly when people who I care about tell me they are unhappy with something - anything from the quality of my work to a decision I made to the amount of mayonnaise on their deli sandwiches - and I cannot fix it for them. Right then and there.

This, in the past, has set up a wail in my head that blocks out everything else, until I can shut it up, usually with some kind of rationalization - some way I can convince myself that that mayonnaise is really, truly, on a deeper level when you look at it this way, BETTER.

Of course I have other specialities - mostly ways of shutting down the unhappy conversations before they get to the part that needs fixing. I don't even TRY to do this. It's deep in some sub-cortex. Afterwards, I always feel ashamed, and usually find some way to rationalize THAT.

So first, I had a meal with someone from our church, and part of the conversation - a fairly short part, mixed in with travel and family and bands and gadgetry talk - was him telling me that he was badly disappointed in some things about church. My things.

And for some reason - for maybe the first time in my 45 years of being me - it was okay. I listened. With a few deeeeep breaths, I was able to keep the wail quiet for a while. I didn't try to stop the conversation or defend myself or minimize it or laugh it off or give off those subtle signals that suggest that my mental health was way too fragile for this topic today.

We really talked.

I didn't fix it.

And I didn't die.

And then another friend emailed me and asked what was going on with me.

I am disgusted with church – not Church, not God, not even this particular church, despite our current challenges – I just have no idea what we are supposed to be doing around here, with Sundays, don’t know why people go to church or what God expects from it. I want to program nothing for a Sunday, and have people gather and see what happens. I want to close for a month and just have dinner parties. I want to turn off the electricity and see what happens.

And yet I’m excited about Christmas.

The good part of that struggle (which moves in and out of the foreground, and is foregroundy right now because I was just having lunch with _____) is that I’m not struggling alone, and no one is saying to me “Oh! It’s THIS! Obviously. Duh, You’re stupid to wonder. What’s wrong with you anyway?”

Some parishoners might think that, and of course they’re welcome to think whatever they like. But among the people I talk to daily, this is not considered a stupid question. (Take just a moment with me and recognize how beautiful and unusual that is, and breathe a quick ‘thank you’.)

So, though it’s hard, and it’s noisy in my head, I would say this disgust is kind of…energizing. It’s kind of an exciting disgust.

... I’m not saying it’s a day at the beach for me. But I feel like it’s the question, and also the paradox – like, it’s the question I was designed at ask, and keep asking, and other questions feel tangential and ditzy.

And yet I know that, even if I invest my life wondering…I won’t get to the whole, real answer. Ever. Probably not more than a glimpse of a corner of the shed in which the answer is kept.

And at the moment, that seems all right. Kind of.

So perhaps I have grown a new part of my brain, which is capable of holding more things in tension.

Perhaps having a child has shown me - on a literal, physical level, a bloodstream level - that I cannot fix much, and certainly not completely, and certainly not at a moment's notice.

It's interesting.
It feels like the beginning of a long long hike, on a nice day.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


Blair asked about the u2 video that I posted the other day. She, too, was trying to figure out why it was so moving, and she asked what I thought Bono was trying to say.

Hell, I don't know. I saw it linked on the blog of Jonathan Carroll, a novelist. He quotes an email from a friend, who says
Bono is singing With or Without You on a catwalk stage, in
front of thousands upon thousands of people. And it feels like such a
naked song, about this woman he loves, or has loved. And he reaches
into the crowd, and pulls a woman up with him, and he lies down with
her on the stage. He is on his back, singing into the microphone
quietly, and holds her against him, her head against his chest, so she
is hearing his voice first, through his rib cage, around his heart,
before it reaches the thousands of people watching. And it is
perfect. The whole room becomes a bedroom, and this man becomes naked
and simple-- in his art for this other woman, he has somehow made this
intimacy universal, exposed himself, and translated a deep part of
himself to all these other people

Well, that made me want to watch it. And it is a kind of shockingly naked moment, even on tape.

The thing that got me, though, was the woman's expression. They lie side by side on the catwalk, looking up and singing, as if they are singing under their breath with the car radio. And it just looks like 2 people who haven't kissed yet, looking up at the stars, trembling the tiniest bit against the pull of the future. The bigness of the next thing.

It occurs to me that the feeling of being starstruck and the feeling of infatuation are barely distinguishable from one another. And that's why she, without acting at all, creates this monsterously evocative moment.

And she is undoubtedly saying to herself just what one would say, lying in the grass, feeling the pull, holding one's breath:

I will never forget this.