Thursday, July 29, 2010

Adrienne Rich (not Plath or Sexton)

I am choosing
not to suffer uselessly and not to use her
I choose to love this time for once
with all my intelligence.


1.

My body opens over San Francisco like the day –
light raining down each pore crying the change of light
I am not with her I have been waking off and on
all night to that pain not simply absence but
the presence of the past destructive
to living here and now Yet if I could instruct
myself, if we could learn to learn from pain
even as it grasps us if the mind, the mind that lives
in this body could refuse to let itself be crushed
in that grasp it would loosen Pain would have to stand
off from me and listen its dark breath still on me
but the mind could begin to speak to pain
and pain would have to answer:
We are older now
we have met before these are my hands before your eyes
my figure blotting out all that is not mine
I am the pain of division creator of divisions
it is I who blot your lover from you
and not the time-zones or the miles
It is not separation calls me forth but I
who am separation And remember
I have no existence apart from you


2.

I believe I am choosing something now
not to suffer uselessly yet still to feel
Does the infant memorize the body of the mother
and create her in absence? or simply cry
primordial loneliness? does the bed of the stream
once diverted mourning remember the wetness?
But we, we live so much in these
configurations of the past I choose
to separate her from my past we have not shared
I choose not to suffer uselessly
to detect primordial pain as it stalks toward me
flashing its bleak torch in my eyes blotting out
her particular being the details of her love
I will not be divided from her or from myself
by myths of separation
while her mind and body in Manhattan are more with me
than the smell of eucalyptus coolly burning on these hills

3.

The world tells me I am its creature
I am raked by eyes brushed by hands
I want to crawl into her for refuge lay my head
in the space between her breast and shoulder
abnegating power for love
as women have done or hiding
from power in her love like a man
I refuse these givens the splitting
between love and action I am choosing
not to suffer uselessly and not to use her
I choose to love this time for once
with all my intelligence.

Precious

The precious jokester says "go home"
The nagging scourge: "come back, come back"
Of course, of course, which horse you'd ride
To where, how far, what end, what lack...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

It's the Dad Life

How cute and clever is this!

My favorite lines:

"Gas station glasses, don't care what the masses think about me and my sweet goatee..."

"Hydrangeas, begonias, crepe myrtles, ornamental turtles!"

"Yo, the greens got nothing on my manscape!"

"My whole entourage hops out the mini-van..."

"I got dozens of dollaz..."


"I would prefer not to."

Oh my god. It's happened. I've actually turned into Bartleby the Scrivener!

When I first read this Melville story back in college in the '80s, the professor asked for a show of hands from the class to see who approved of Bartleby's attitude. About 1/4 agreed with his behavior; 3/4, including myself, did not. I disliked Bartleby because I thought he was lazy as hell! And he wasn't being treated unkindly by his employer; in fact, the lawyer went waaaaay out of his way to try to accommodate Bartleby's failure to get motivated. Interestingly to me, the professor then told us that when he taught the story in the '70s, most students saw Bartleby as an anti-hero of sorts, protesting society and "The Man" by refusing to work for "him"!

What I once disliked, I have become! I simply cannot get motivated to look for work! Not protesting society or anything, but I just don't feel like it. And it's a curious sensation to observe my "not feeling like it" and to wonder when exactly I will "feel like it." I used to "feel like it." I'm certainly not happy lying around the apt. either watching TV or sleeping all day and night. It's a very curious sensation. I keep waiting to "feel like" snapping out of it! What if I don't ever?? My apologies to Bartleby for my quick dismissal of him in the '80s! :)




Bartleby the Scrivener

"...The narrator, an elderly Manhattan lawyer with a very comfortable business helping wealthy men deal with mortgages, deeds, and bonds, relates the story of the strangest man he has ever known.

At the start of the story, the narrator already employs two scriveners, nicknamed Nippers and Turkey, to copy legal documents by hand. Nippers (the younger of the two) suffers from chronic indigestion, and Turkey is an alcoholic, but the office survives because in the mornings Turkey is sober and Nippers is irritable, while in the afternoons Nippers has calmed down and Turkey is drunk. Ginger Nut, the office boy, gets his name from the little cakes he brings the two scriveners. An increase in business leads the narrator to advertise for a third scrivener, and he hires the forlorn-looking Bartleby in hopes that his calmness will soothe the temperaments of Nippers and Turkey.

At first, Bartleby appears to be a boon to the practice, as he produces a large volume of high-quality work. One day, though, when asked by the narrator to help proofread a copied document, Bartleby answers with what soon becomes his stock response: "I would prefer not to." To the dismay of the narrator and to the irritation of the other employees, Bartleby performs fewer and fewer tasks around the office. The narrator makes several attempts to reason with him and to learn something about him, but Bartleby offers nothing but his signature "I would prefer not to." One weekend the narrator stops by the office unexpectedly and discovers that Bartleby has started living there. The loneliness of Bartleby's life impresses him: at night and on Sundays, Wall Street is as desolate as a ghost town, and the window in Bartleby's corner allows him no view except that of a blank wall three feet away. The narrator's feelings for Bartleby alternate between pity and revulsion.

For a while Bartleby remains willing to do his main work of copying, but eventually he ceases this activity as well, so that finally he is doing nothing. And yet the narrator finds himself unable to make Bartleby leave; his unwillingness or inability to move against Bartleby mirrors Bartleby's own strange inaction. Tension gradually builds as the narrator's business associates wonder why the strange and idle Bartleby is ever-present in the office.

Sensing the threat of a ruined reputation, but emotionally unable to throw Bartleby out, the exasperated narrator finally decides to move out himself, relocating his entire business and leaving Bartleby behind. But soon the new tenants of the old space come to ask for his help: Bartleby still will not leave. Although they have thrown him out of the rooms, he now sits on the stairs all day and sleeps in the building's front doorway. The narrator visits Bartleby and attempts to reason with him. Feeling desperate, the narrator now surprises even himself by inviting Bartleby to come and live with him at his own home. But Bartleby, alas, 'prefer[s] not to.'

Deciding to stay away from work for the next few days for fear he will become embroiled in the new tenants' campaign to evict Bartleby, the narrator returns to find that Bartleby has been forcibly removed and imprisoned at The Tombs. The narrator visits him, finding him even glummer than usual. As ever, Bartleby rebuffs the narrator's friendliness. Nevertheless, the narrator bribes a turnkey to make sure Bartleby gets good and plentiful food. But when the narrator visits again a few days later, he discovers that Bartleby has died of starvation, having apparently chosen not to eat.

Some time afterward, the narrator hears of a rumor to the effect that Bartleby had worked in a dead letter office, but had lost his job there. The narrator reflects that the dead letters would have made anyone of Bartleby's temperament sink into an even darker gloom. Dead letters are emblems of man's mortality and of the failures of his best intentions. Through Bartleby, the narrator has glimpsed the world as the miserable scrivener must have seen it. The closing words of the story are the narrator's resigned and pained sigh: 'Ah, Bartleby! Ah, humanity!'"

Monday, July 26, 2010

How to tell the neighbors to shut up

OK, once I moved into this $545-a-month place, I understood that, though I was 44 and long past my own loud college years, I was, nonetheless, also geographically going back in time, to a place where people, in 2010, did indeed live in $545-a-month apartments -- college kids and really poor people, i.e., people who tend to be loud.

I had a house that I rented in Austin from 2000 to 2007. From 2008 to 2010, in NJ, I lived in a duplex above a 70-year-old couple. There were rarely any noise problems. (In Austin, I bitched about a neighbor's band once, and about a DJ living next door who came home from clubs and played loud music after 4am several times. The guy moved after a couple of months. In NJ, sometimes groups of teenagers would sit on the wall outside the duplex in the summer. When that happened, I'd go outside and smoke a cigarette on the porch. Nothing chases away teens like an adult just... sitting there.)

Since I moved into this apartment in late June 2010, it's been pretty quiet, considering the environment. The neighbors below and to the right are completely silent. (Does anyone even live there?) The neighbor to the left... I heard him having loud sex with his girlfriend once. And in the 5 weeks that I've lived here, he's cranked up his music to annoying levels maybe twice a week. But always during reasonable hours: In the afternoon, or in the morning after 11am, or at night around 9pm. Those hours seemed reasonable to me. No reason to complain.

Tonight (Sunday night), though, the guy came home after 1:30am and turned the stereo up... I sat here, while on my computer, listening to his bass pounding through my walls and wondering what to do... After all of my years of living around others, here's what I've learned: Usually, when you knock on a neighbor's door to complain, they're hostile. However politely you state your case. They're hostile. 80% of the time. (God bless the 20% who say they're sorry for disturbing you!)

After living with my extremely anal mother for over two months, and after acknowledging internally that I was now living in a cheap apartment and not in a house and so I shouldn't expect any quiet, I'd told myself that I was NOT going to complain about any neighbors... I did good about this guy's stereo up until tonight at 2am...

Finally, I broke my non-complaining vow and went and knocked on the neighbor's door. I was apologetic -- "Hi. Sorry for bothering you" -- and then: "I live next door. Can I ask you a favor?" He immediately said: "Turn it down?" I gratefully nodded: "Yes. Thank you." He smiled, shut the door, turned down his stereo. No bad vibes.

Whew.

p.s. At 3:30am, the bass through the walls started up again; I had to go back over to the neighbors' at 4am, this time banging on their door a little louder and being a little less polite. I'm trying in my life to be a little more Buddha-like, but... and here's the sad thing: Sometimes Buddha doesn't work and you've got to fucking hit people over the head with an old-school/Old Testament Christian verbal crowbar -- IT'S 4AM! SHUT THE FUCK UP!

On Freaks



On Freaks, both physical and psychological:

"Most people go through life dreading they'll have a traumatic experience. Freaks were born with their trauma. They've already passed their test in life. They're aristocrats." -- photographer Diane Arbus

"Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive." -- writer Josephine Hart

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sunday, July 25, 2010

What a difference a day makes

Wow, did I just say "fuck you" to God?

Mighty bold. I guess I meant it at the time, but I guess I don't REALLY mean it. Sorry, God.

I have been moping around the apt. for over 3 weeks now, doing little but watching continual TV and getting on the Internet every other day or so. My mom has a pool in her subdivision and I love to swim and sun, but my attitude has been that I'll be damned if I call her for anything. I am still SOOOOO angry at her for the way she treated me when I lived with her. I still feel poisoned by it.

But I guess that, too, shall pass. Like today, my anger at my brother/sis-in-law passed when they called to invite me over for dinner. How nice it is to be invited somewhere! And to just hang out for several hours and eat, drink, and chat. To feel like a normal person instead of like a fucking pariah. (AMC has been running "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and "The Shining" all weekend, which I've been watching multiple times. Not good for the mood!) :)

As I mentioned below, I'd had one beef with the bro's family for not inviting me over to watch the World Cup games at several parties that they hosted. When I went over tonight, they still had their World Cup country flags hanging around the house. Which gave me a non-argumentative opening: "Oh, I wish you had invited me over to watch with you! That would have been fun!" Their mutual, honest response: "Were you interested in watching? Oh my gosh! We didn't know you even liked soccer! We would have called you!" Me: "[sigh] Yeah, I watched the games by myself." More sincere apologies. Whew. The air is now cleared on that one. And I was also able to admit to them that I'd been totally isolated since I'd been back in Austin, that it was so great to be invited to dinner, to be around people again... It felt good to be emotionally honest and to just come out and say, "Hey, I'm extremely lonely. Invite me over more often, wouldja??"

So, one emotional weight has been lifted. My birthday's in a couple of weeks, so I'm guessing that I'll see my mom then and a bit of the poison will have dissipated by then, then more still as more time goes by. It is emotionally draining and harmful to your self to keep dwelling on hatred and hurt and anger, even if the cause for hate and the hurt and anger are real.

(And let me reiterate: Do NOT watch "The Shining" and/or "Cuckoo's Nest" if you're trying to get yourself out of a funk! Though 1956's "Miracle in the Rain" was one good one that I saw today! It was so corny, but I nonetheless cried and cried...the redemptive power of love! I kept hoping that Van Johnson would come home after the war, after all!) :)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

LMBWISB (Fuck you, God.)

When I was up in New York/Joisey, I kept praying: "limby-wisby" -- "let me be where I should be."

And even if that meant that I should come home to Austin... still, "let me be where I should be."

Now that I'm back in Austin, though, LMBWISB is a joke. There's no way in hell that I should be here. Any more than I should be back in Azle, Texas. There are no people here who love me, no reason at all for me to be here. I love New York and Weehawken. I miss being there with all my heart.

Fuck you, God. Fuck you for sticking me here where I know I don't belong any more.

The One-Room Blues

You think the world is wide.

There is nothing here for me.

I worked at K-Mart when I was 16 because I lived in Azle, Texas, and that was all that was available to me.

Since then, I've lived in Austin, San Francisco, New York City. I've gotten a Master's degree in literature, gotten world/life experience, worked for national/international companies.

And now that I'm unemployed you expect me to go back to the K-Mart to earn $7 or $8 to pay my new $545-per-month rent...

I'm interested enough in daily things to not kill myself. I like TV, reality shows. I like working on my Joan Crawford website.

But if I weren't interested in these things, I'd shoot myself in the head. There's something not right here. I've earned my keep. I've been working since I was 16. I worked 20 hours a week when I was in high school, and 30 hours a week when I was an undergrad, and when I was in grad school. I earned $20 an hour before I left Austin and $28 an hour when I first moved to New York. I could survive when I was being paid survival wages.

Fuck these non-survival wages. Fuck this whole situation: A 44-year-old with a Master's degree and over 10 years of publishing experience forced to seek $10-an-hour jobs, like a fucking sweat-shop worker.

There is something extremely wrong here.

Crappy Family

After 5 weeks of no grocery shopping, I finally ran out of everything except spaghetti and finally caught a bus to the supermarket today.

When I first moved into my new apartment in June, with no car, my mom took me to the grocery store at the time.

I thought that after that, I'd get a call from either my mom or my brother/wife (all of whom live under a mile away): "Hey, I'm going to the store. Need a ride there?"

I wasn't just stubbornly waiting for them to act nice. I've been pretty independent all of my life, not asking anyone for anything unless I was desperate.

Wouldn't you think, though, that living within a mile of me, they'd think of me and at some point wonder if I, having no car, needed to go to the grocery store?

Nah.

My first grocery trek after 5 weeks was fine. A half-mile walk to and from my bus-stop, sweating like a pig each way. I made some friends at the bus-stops. On the way there, I sat next to "Simon." We talked about not having a job. After he determined that I had a "good personality," he suggested I apply to the State Hospital, which is hiring at $8 an hour. We also talked politics: Who am I for, Bill White or Rick Perry? "God, not Perry. I can't vote for a former male cheerleader." On the way home, grocery bags in tow, got asked if there was an ice-skating rink at Highland Mall. And how nice was the mall. I only wish I knew.

I actually don't extremely mind making conversation with these random guys. I don't mind taking a bus anywhere (except for the uber-sweating in these temperatures). When I was in NYC, I, like everyone else, took the subways, talked to others in whatever park. (I can't count how many times I was sitting on a random bench and making random conversation with a person next to me.)

Up north, though, I was alone. I was trying to make it on my own. Down here, I've got my own mother and brother living under one mile away. All know my situation. That I've taken an apartment for $545, that I have no car, no job. (Despite my past history of nice apartments, cars, and jobs.) I gambled when I gave up everything to go to NYC and I lost. Now that I'm back home in Austin... An example: During the World Cup, my brother, whom I've always gotten along with, held soccer-viewing parties at his home. My nephews later told me about them. And I wasn't invited.

My family sucks.

Horses sense fear.

I've never liked horses much. Growing up in the country, I grew up with a few of them. I rode them bareback, et al. But I never really liked them. They were always doing mean shit. I've been thrown a couple of times, just for their hell of it. I've been sitting on one, perfectly calmly, and had her run off with me. I've had horses purposely step on my foot and then not get off, despite much pushing and prodding.

I don't like them.

And then there's the trope that I was just thinking about, that "people, like horses, sense fear." True enough. The purpose of that "self-help" trope was to get people to "act" so that others could not sense their fear. You know what? That's bullshit. People, if you sense fear in others, then... DON'T run off with them. DON'T throw them. DON'T intentionally step on their feet and hurt them.

Horses suck. I'll be goddamned if I "act" in any way to get those shits under control. I've never ridden with a saddle, never ridden with a bit. Just a bridle. And the horses took full advantage.

Fuck off, stupid, sadistic horses. Fuck off, stupid, sadistic people.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Most Interesting Man in the World

"People hang on his every word -- even the prepositions."
"He lives vicariously... through himself."
"His mom has a tattoo that reads 'SON.'"

:) :)

Hope springs eternal

Thank you to Astrocenter.com for this tiny ray of hope! :)

Your horoscope for July 21, 2010
You tend to be rather sensual, STEPHANIE, but today you could surpass even your own expectations. You may have been feeling stressed and exhausted, yet at the same time restless, and an intense romantic encounter may be just what you need. There could be pressures around you, however, that demand too much of your time. Do what's most urgent, then make the time to be alone with your mate. At this time especially, it can be very healing.

Gee, maybe the guy at my beer store will be available Wednesday when he gets off work! ;p

Stressed, exhausted (from nothingness), restless... You betcha. I feel like I've been completely without any MOJO whatsoever for the past YEAR! It's deadening just "existing" instead of "living." All of the recent "Sandra stuff" was especially draining emotionally. But upon thinking about it: It was usually, not just recently, more of a one-way energy exchange -- me giving, not getting much back, then getting mad about the lack (the anger also draining me). Not very healthy a'tall.

One thing to look forward to: In a couple of weeks, I should be venturing up to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area to spend a weekend with an old junior high/high school friend. She and a group of other of my old friends get together for a "girls' night" once a month -- this time, I'll be her "surprise guest"! :) I'm REALLY looking forward to it! I've been so isolated for so long. While in NYC, the beauty and novelty of my surroundings helped to assuage my loneliness. Since I've been home in Austin, I've been almost completely by myself, with nothing external to help counter my inner isolation. It's been hard. What I REALLY need now is a weekend of reconnection/staying up 'til all hours with old friends talking and laughing. Sad, but right now I can't even imagine ever feeling GOOD again. Everything's been so desolate lately.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

How nice is this?!

I have a Joan Crawford website, and just got the below message from a new reader. Things have been so shitty for me psychologically recently... Good wishes like this, about my work, give me the heart and courage to go on whenever I feel utterly despondent: "Something I do is good and worthwhile and helpful to people!" Thank you, C.!


Isn't the internet a trip? Your Joan site is surreal. I just discovered it a few moments ago! Last night I watched Mommie Dearest for the first time in almost 30 years. I know it's unflattering to Joan's memory and a lot of her fans probably resent Christina for writing the book, but by god is it ever camp! I laughed my butt off, it was SO over the top.

So this morning, with the images of Joan's twisted cross eyed face still fresh in my mind, I thought I'd look up Christina on the net. I was curious to find out how/where she is today and if life has been kinder to her in the past years, and that's how I found your site! And what a gem! I can't believe how comprehensive it is.

It's people like you that make the internet a fabulous place to explore. I tried to fight the computer age for as long and as hard as I could, but alas it was stronger than me, I had no choice, I had to give in. So here I am today, looking through your fabulous work and feeling grateful that the machine won out! :o)

Another aspect to your site that I especially love are the great friendships that have no doubt been found among the fans who all have their love for Joan in common. It's a really beautiful thing don't you think?! No matter where we look, we're confronted by so much that is wrong in the world today. Having a place to go where the common thread is the shared love of a movie star from the Golden Age of Hollywood has created the perfect refuge for so many of us "out here" who are fed up with so much of what's wrong "out there"!

An interview given by Christina to Redbook Magazine in 1960? Are you kidding me? I thought for sure it would be nothing more than a few lines or even just a few photographs that accompanied the original story when it was published. So I gave it a look and it was THE WHOLE interview! From 40 years ago?!! Unreal.

I'm sure your work has produced so many wonderful things beyond just being a site devoted to Joan's life and career.

I can't wait to sink my teeth into it today!

Love C., a fan in Toronto!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Oh Kathy! I feel your pain! :)

"Every woman has been where I am today. Raw, emotional and in full hair and makeup. For you broken-hearted people across the world and in parts of lower Wasilla, this one's for you! Keep the faith, keep your swagga. Kathy Griffin"

Thursday, July 15, 2010

We Used to Fuss

Two Hoots and a Holler at the Continental Club in Austin, 2009. Singer Rick was banned from this club 'til just recently. I know the song from the early days of the Black Cat club in '90/'91.

Good Used Heart

A couple of weeks ago, I begged someone to go see my favorite band with me at Ruta Maya. She wouldn't. Here's my band -- Two Hoots and a Holler -- singing "Good Used Heart" at Ruta Maya.

Reminds me of when I was madly in love with someone in the early '90s, begged her to go see my favorite band with me -- Two Hoots and a Holler. She never would.

I pick mean people to like! But good bands to like! :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Role Model


I was feeling the lowest of the low over the past week following July 4th, hooking into the bad vibes of a woman that I loved who didn't want me, then lying around reading Plath, Sexton, plus "The Executioner's Song" (about killer Gary Gilmore, by Norman Mailer), and then an account of Gary Gilmore's awful childhood by his brother, Mikal.

Plath, Sexton, Mikal Gilmore's accounts are all profound and legitimate. I do feel their pain, too much.

It's just that I am not ready to die just yet. I'm curious about other things, still. I WANT other things, still.

Plath was hooked into the very cosmos, yet she killed herself over a man. Sexton killed herself because she was middle-aged and she'd divorced her husband of 20 years and didn't have a man who was in tune with her. Gary Gilmore shot two men because his 20-year-old girlfriend had dumped him. While I've been mightily upset over lovers in the past, I've never been THAT distraught over a lover...distraught enough to be depressed, but never distraught enough to die.

I was reading and reading all of that misery while lying in bed moping and identifying. A little light finally went off: What the fuck is your website all about? WHO is your website all about? And WHY is it about her?

Ultimately, Joan Crawford is like a clear drink of water.

She struggled up through the darkness and darkest, even when she was a kid and had to sleep with assholes and fight against her mother's hatred to make it through. (By age 24, though, she was making her own money, and would do so throughout the rest of her life.) Even after she'd made it, she was counted out time and time again, and had to keep fighting and fighting and fighting, up until the very end.

When I was lying around moping this past week, I eventually started to think of Joan, and the website I'd devoted to her. Why the fuck did I ever work on a website about her if I didn't believe in what she stood for?

In the past 23 years that I've been interested in her, I've NEVER been depressed when I've thought about Joan Crawford or looked to her for inspiration. NEVER. I'm amazed when I think about that. NEVER has she failed me. She's goddamn amazing.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Nine out of ten

I see you, my funny friend
and my heart laughs, glad to be close again.

A soul mate comes once in a lifetime
so I'll run with the chance
to laugh and dance and sing
and let you know
that nine out of ten are always there for the breaking!


(My first poem for Ginny, written in the spring of 1983, when I was 17; we'd been talking about which of the Commandments we'd either already broken or would probably eventually break; both of us said no killing. To this day, I still haven't killed or committed adultery or borne false witness, so...I'm currently at "seven out of ten.")

http://www.the-ten-commandments.org/the-ten-commandments.html

Another brick in The Wall

Speaking of "The Wall" and Loss...

I was just thinking of something that happened between me and a girl I was in love with when I was 19 or so, the summer after my freshman year in college.

Ginny was a year younger than me, so I "left" her when I went off to college in '83. That fall, she ran away from our small town to be with me in Austin. After a weekend, she realized that I was stuck in my dorm-room contract, and so couldn't get an apartment with her. So she called her Daddy to come fetch her back home. A month later, she had a new "best friend" and stopped writing and calling. I saw her at Christmas that year -- an awkward meeting, with her parents and her BFF present.

Anyway, when I came home from school the next summer, I tried to reconnect. Very annoyingly, she refused to do anything with me unless her new BFF was present. (All of us were still completely in the closet. But isn't this all so very annoyingly lesbian-girlfriend-ish and ex-girlfriend-ish behavior!) So, OK, I asked them BOTH if they wanted to go see "The Wall" with me at a midnight show. (I'd been turned on to the movie in college, that fall or spring. Was deeply impressed and moved and eager to share the what-was-for-me profound experience. Share it with Ginny, that is, but if her BFF wanted to come, then fine. Grrr.)

Ginny made it nearly through the whole thing without incident. With about 10 minutes left in the movie, though, all of the scenes of violence finally got to her and she bolted out of her seat. As I looked after her in amazement, her BFF followed her. I was puzzled, but also slightly irritated, and finished watching the movie alone. Afterward, the two were waiting for me in the theater lobby. When I asked Ginny what was wrong (had she gotten sick?), she explained about the scenes disturbing her both mentally and physically, and I drove us all home (those two to Ginny's parents' house, me to my mom's house) in relative silence.

A couple of years later, when Ginny was still waffling between me and the other BFF (Ginny was soon to die of then-unknown-to-me heart complications, but still not sure which of us she wanted with her at the end), she revealed to me that the "other" BFF going after her when she left the theater during "The Wall" while I remained to see the end of the movie helped make up her mind.

For me, there had been mitigating circumstances: For one, I was pissed off to begin with that Ginny had insisted that her other friend come along. Had Ginny and I been alone, it's a 50-50 thing -- if she'd been by herself, I might have gone after her. Seeing the friend jump up, though, froze my blood: "I'll be damned if I get in a Sympathy War." But, like I said, it was 50-50: Even if we'd been by ourselves, chances are that I would have thought she was being silly and stayed right where I was. I loved that movie, and was vaguely personally insulted that someone would jump up and leave something I admired so before it was over.

As I write this, some quarter of a century later, would I do any differently? Even knowing how Ginny regarded that moment, even if it might have turned the tide in my favor, loving her as I did? Probably not, given that she had dragged another girl along with us to the movie. I wasn't feeling that loyal toward her, or that caring, at the moment, and I still am irritated today when I think about it. But a second question: What would I do today? With a woman that I was ALONE on a date with? Say I took her to see "Gone With the Wind" -- my absolute favorite movie -- and she became irritated, just for an example, by the way blacks were portrayed in the movie and got up and left? Would I go after her?

I still don't think so. I think I would think she was being silly, and would stay right where I was until the movie was over. I think I am more loyal to art that I love than to irrational tests of loyalty by people that I love. (Though... are "irrational tests of loyalty" actually tests of real love? I suspect that they might be. I suspect that they might be an indication of one's ability to give up one's self... = real love.)

Friday, July 09, 2010

Gary Gilmore's Eyes (Adverts, 1977)

Killer Gary Gilmore donated his eyes upon his killing by the state. And his pituitary gland to his niece. (Where's the "pituitary gland" song??)

I am not alone.



No, I don't have a "Death Wish," as the Newsweek cover proclaims. Nor, though, do I at the moment have a particular "Life Wish." When you're as saddened as I am, perhaps best not to read, as I have, over a 3-day period of time with no other stimuli, Anne Sexton's poems, a biography of Sexton, "The Executioner's Song" (about killer Gary Gilmore), and "Shot in the Heart" (Mikal Gilmore's history of his broken, literally haunted family).

In my state of mind, to be simultaneously horrified, yet enlightened, in such a profound way...like I felt when listening to Pink Floyd's "The Wall" and seeing the movie when I was 18, when I was desperately wondering if anyone else in the Universe had ever felt as utterly sad and hopeless as I did.

All of what I've been reading continually over the past several days answered both of the questions that I'd been asking: (1) "Yes, life can indeed be this bad." but also (2) "Yes, there is other sadness out there as great, or much greater, than yours. You are not alone."

Here is the last paragraph of Mikal Gilmore's book (after he wakes up crying from a family nightmare):

I get up and look at the clock. It is four-thirty in the morning. I go into the kitchen and pour myself a glass of whiskey. I go back and sit up in bed in the darkness. I sit there a long time. I finish my whiskey, slip under the covers, pull a pillow over my head to keep out the horrible morning light I hate so much. I curl up and I tell myself: "It will never be all right. Never. It will never be all right." I say this to myself over and over, until I find enough comfort in the words that I am able to fall asleep again.

---------------

Wow. The realization that, despite what I write or what videos I post, it really will never be all right. It will never be all right. I'm stunned. Always thought I was so honest and tough. Always thought there was the possibility of healing. Nah. Here's real honesty staring me in the face. In the face of "it will never be all right," can I truly carry on?

Mikal Gilmore breaks my heart. Gary Gilmore breaks my heart. Anne Sexton breaks my heart. Sylvia Plath breaks my heart. "The Wall" breaks my heart. Sandra breaks my heart. My parents broke, and break, my heart. My heart is broken. I am broken.

But I am not alone.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The Mary Tyler Moore Show



One of my absolutely happy childhood memories was watching this show with my mother. (And the opening taught me how to STRIDE!)

Goal

We'll see how this goes...

My Austin apartment lease runs through March 31, 2011. Between now and then...god help me get a job appropriate to my Master's degree and subsequently get enough money to go back to New York/New Jersey.

I can't stand the heat down here. I can't stand the Ugly. I can't stand the Nothingness.

Truthfully, I gave up on my 3rd job search in 3 years up North because I was bored and disgusted with trying to sell myself 3 times. But also because I wanted to come back home and see what might have been between me and Sandra. Just learned this past July 4th weekend that there was nothing there. That given... Sans any human connection, I'd like to go back to the geographical place that I discovered I love.

The glamorous fall trees in New York and New Jersey call my name! :) As do the New York City subways and buildings. I'll make do with where I am, but... I hate where I am. And I want to go back to where I was for 3 years.

We'll see what happens.

Walls and Bridges

Listening now to John Lennon's "Walls and Bridges," from 1974.

Whatever Gets You Thru the Night
Going Down on Love
Old Dirt Road
Bless You
Scared
#9 Dream
Surprise Surprise
Steel and Glass
Nobody Loves You When You're Down and Out

I first discovered this album, when I was 15 years old, in the summer of '80, along with all of John's other solo albums, months before he was shot in December.

A Thank You to My Computer Geek

Last week, my computer went out, and I had to call a "Computer Geek" in. (No offense -- the company is called that: "Computer Geeks"!)

I give thanks not only 'cause the man was able to fix the minor problem for only an hour's charge, but also 'cause... While he was sitting there fiddling with my computer, he also asked, "Are you a writer?"

When he asked that, I was surprised and a bit flustered: "Well, I used to write, I got my Master's in a creative writing program...What makes you ask that?!"

He'd been looking around at all of my poetry books that were shelved, and all of my other books still stacked on the floor, waiting to be shelved... He'd guessed that I was a writer...

I guess in soul and heart and past I am. I guess today "officially" I'm not, other than Joan films that I review and publish for my website.

While he worked on my computer, he and I then started talking about writing, about the newspapers we'd briefly worked at (he, for a Chicago weekly; me, for the New York Sun); about the writing classes we'd taken in school; about how we were struggling now... Him doing freelance computer repairs; me, doing freelance educational publishing copyediting... Both of us trying to furnish our apartments via cheap or free Craig's Listings! He was about 10 years younger than me, with a wife and 3 kids already... But we connected. It felt so good to me, after 2 months of living with my mother, whom I couldn't talk to about anything; after years of my and Sandra's cross-purposes.

Just to talk to someone like a normal human being, about something interesting! Wow! Thank you! :)