Worked with Sculpture Jammers group today for about 4 hours today doing stuff I've not done before like bending rebar around a tree trunk, using tools I've never used before like something called a sawall (even though I'd first wisely decided not to try for fear of severing my fingers or toes), became brave and superman-macho-feeling after successfully using said sawall tool. Am too tired to type coherently. Would probably be better to delete this. Too tired to check for typos + grammar. Probably too tired to delete. And yet. And yet. I still must try to finish creating The Cosmos so that it can maybe be installed tomorrow. Photos will eventually follow.
Prime ingredients for a lazy morning (which is how I like all mornings to be): *coffee and fruit bread or a muffin *the local newspaper (and especially the crossword puzzle) *a cuddle blanket and, of course,
Michael Jackson is alive, at least at a number of local theaters where I live. Compelled by its four star rating, I went alone to a 3:35 p.m. showing of "This is It." I was the first to enter the screening room in which it was shown. Another woman, also alone, entered shortly after, first sitting in front of me then switching to a seat behind and two seats to the left. In our pre-film chat, she said that she felt badly for the performers and crew who had these sought after jobs snatched away from them with MJ's death. Of course the MJ Industry continues, but without them. MJ, dead, makes more in a single week than most of us have made in our lifetimes.
Some of the performers were interviewed at their auditions. Many had tears in their eyes, grateful just for the opportunity to perform with MJ watching. I can only imagine the exultation of the eleven dancers who made the cut. Enlarging this for just a moment, I think of times when people feel particularly blessed by good fortune and how one doesn't really know how things will turn out. Certainly the teacher who was chosen for the ill-fated Challenger mission must have been awed by the journey that awaited her. How did those who also competed but remained earth-bound feel when they saw the Challenger engulfed in flames? We are beholden to the uncertainties of our existences. A small plane crashed into homes in a very nearby tract when I lived in Southern California. It ended up in the playground of my children's school. A resident in one of the homes was killed. Who could have imagined dying in a plane crash in one's own living room?
As to "This is It," I found it entertaining, worthwhile, magical. thought provoking and sad. Its pace was slow at the beginning, but with each moment, became increasingly compelling. I've never been a huge MJ fan, but have enjoyed his performances when I've seen/heard them. For all the obvious reasons, I've viewed MJ as a tragic figure. This film shows how hard he worked. I left with a sense of melancholy. All the intense effort of so many many people came to (almost) nothing with the death of this very talented, strong and fragile man. When the film was over, I avoided turning back to chat with the woman with whom I'd talked earlier. I wanted to be enveloped in my own silence.
Yesterday was one of the best days for me in a very very long time, maybe even years. This is not because of a poverty of good days, but a testament to how really great yesterday was.
For the first time in a very very long time, Matt, Ben, Rachael and I were home together, just the four of us, the nuclear family sans a spouse, a granddaughter and a boyfriend. This was an unexpected treat, the result of Rachael's earlier decision to come up for a few days and Ben's asking her if she was planning to make the trip some time soon.
Rachael arrived on Thursday and I was able to have some very special time with this very amazing young woman; Ben joined us yesterday at around 3:30 p.m.. While it was still light, the two of them wrestled a heavy desk that we no longer use from our over-crowded storage room into Ben's SUV. They worked together in flawless harmony as they did this, then positioned an old TV stand next to the desk. With these new acquisitions, garage sales, Craig's List and hand-me-downs from Ben, Rachael's new home has gradually been getting furnished.
Ben's update tour followed: my glass studio which has taken over the garage, the empty kitty litter containers that I have been saving to use to build marvelous superstructures with Maddie when she is older, an insect corpse for when she is even older (if her interests take such a turn), an amazing collage created by a young visually handicapped and schizophrenic woman, the photo of which is at full power so that you can see its intricacies by clicking on it.
And then it was on to the family room and Ben and Rachael reminiscing about the very recent (and first) conversation between Ben and James, Rachael's boyfriend, about finding joy in the small delights of lavender scented body soap and eucalyptus oil in the shower. We laughed about the non-masculine tenor of this conversation and how neither men could be found lacking in this quality. Ben mentioned seeing Paris Hilton sweep through a Vegas night spot; we talked about the joys of anonymity. Rachael showed us her design for turning her four bedroom house into one with three bedrooms, one of which would be a master suite which is currently lacking, and why this would be a fabulous idea in terms of its resale value. This led to the dreary subject of mortgage defaults and unemployment and the still sucky state of the U.S. economy. And on and on the conversation wandered. At leaving time, I told Ben how much I appreciated his taking this time away from his family to be with us. And so he left and then this morning, at 5:45 a.m, so did Rachael, headed for an early morning meet up with some friends to go surf kayaking.
Today, in the precious silence of their absence, the joy of their visit lingers. This morning I was startled by the realization that it was a day without photographs. And startled again when I realized that this was good. There is a freedom to sometimes living beyond the reach of the lens.
These are some books I've recently enjoyed to varying degrees. I'm challenging myself to keep my comments brief.
My favorites: In sync with the theme of the book, I've pretty much forgotten the plot line of Stefan Merrill Blocks's The Story of Forgetting. Even so, it is a compelling, powerful, extremely well written book, easily worthy of a second read.
Benjamin Wallace's The Billionaire's Vinegar: Fun fun fun. And a true story. A glimpse into an extravagant, dare I say decadent, world in which a bottle of wine is sold for $156,000 and may not even be "the real thing."
I'd read anything by these two authors: In the last few pages of another wonderful book, The Senator's Wife, Sue Miller creates a scene of incredible poignancy. I didn't expect it, yet realized that the entire novel was building to this point.
I thoroughly enjoy Garrison Kellor's writing style. Love Me is a totally fun book. It has a plot, but I'd love it even if it didn't.
A trio of books about Ireland: Frank Delaney's Ireland is essentially a series of short stories told by an iterate storyteller. I began to cry for Ireland and better understand its recent history.
Leon Uris' Redemption has lingered on my shelf for years. At 867 pages, its story would be strengthened by some well placed nips and tucks. Even so, there are scenes that are burned into my memory and the book is well worth the sometimes weary ride. Again, I cry for Ireland (and shake a fist at imperial England - not the common man making his way as best as he can, but the power hungry decision makers who made a misery of the lives of those they conquered).
Of this trio, I most enjoyed Robin Maxwell's The Wild Irish. Based on true events occurring from the 1590's through the earliest years of the 1600's, this is a story of two amazingly strong women, Elizabeth I and the pirate, Grace O'Malley. More than the other two books, this gave me an understanding of why the Irish were so vulnerable to mighty England.
Not all that great: I should have remembered that Chris Bohjalian is not one of my well liked authors. With The Double Bind, he not totally unexpectedly disappointed me. The heralded surprise ending was of the type where the protagonist wakes up and the whole story turns out to be a dream. More importantly, this author has writing tics that drive me crazy, repeatedly referring to the main character as "the social worker," for instance; misusing (twice) the word "irony." Even so, the book kept my attention. I must remember not to buy another book by this author unless I'm desperate to read something and nothing else even semi worthwhile is available.
A question I am asking myself: Why is it that I've written the most about the book that I like the least? Hmmmmmmmmm.