partly in response to electric firefly’s recommendations in honor of Upcoming Unnamed Romantic Holiday and partly because I’ve been in a movie renting phase again, I’d like to offer up a recommendation of my own.
In the Land of Women. I sort of dislike posting trailers because too often they spoil the surprises and good stuff– I love it when I go in to a movie knowing and expecting virtually nothing and am swept up into the reality it creates– I also think that trailers are a very specific medium separate from and wholly different from the feature-length films they supposedly represent, such is the power of editing and pacing. this movie is not what the trailers would seem to sell it as, a romantic comedy– it’s a lot more thoughtful and quirky and therefore, I think, lovable than that. the strengths are really good writing, superb pacing, and beautiful performances, even if you may or may not have preconceptions about meg ryan from her previous roles. and, really, what’s not to love about adam brody?
twice in the last few days I’ve had people remark to me on how I’m always moving, work hard, etc.– this from random folks who have no real stake one way or another in flattering or insulting or really passing any sort of judgment– they’re just commenting on something that looks weird and noteworthy to them, one of the the samples ladies, one of the shipping guys– and I’m sure part of it is cultural: I’m a whitegirl, driven by that ingrained protestant work ethic fer shizzle; but part of it is also personal– I’m just like that– a few years ago I articulated it for the first time: I have two speeds, Go and Idle. lately I’ve been spending my downtime in wicked Idle, like seriously– mostly hanging out in bed, reading, snacking, watching movies, reading and reading some more, snoozing. and then I get up and Go again. lately I’ve been thinking a bit about how I don’t do all of this very strategically or smartly– I could, say, take some of that downtime and allocate it to rather less down activities, in my own interests, say, improving myself, my station in the world, and so on. I’m quite sure that a lot of other people with my amount of education are working a lot smarter than I am, and this troubles me somewhat, that I runrunrun but not to any particularly chosen or outlined ends, only expending energy and then recovering and doing it all over again. but, too, this is a particular phase– I am nothing if not superduper phasey. generally speaking, the last few days I’ve felt remarkably calmer and more peaceful and even happy with the course of my life– it’s nothing that I’ve envisioned or plotted or planned and it’s awfully hairbrained and kind of pointless in some ways and could use some tweaking and tucking, but really, yknow what? it fits. this is the way I am. and it’s not all bad. hello, perspective from today.
I was just lying here in bed, browsing around the neighborhood, with charlie tuna purring away on my shoulder as is customary, when in barged iggy for some pets and love. this is his m.o.– he’s queenly and standoffish until he’s ready and then by golly you’d better be ready. for several years this only happened while I was sitting on the couch, and preferably late in the evening– only recently, since the new mattress on the floor which george now braves, does iggy follow his lead and come to demand his pets from me here. he’s a funny cat– he was the lone survivor of some farm kittens whose mother died, and in those early days he was tiny and ferocious– nearly feral, I suppose, so in part I feel that living with him is a kind of slow process of taming. he’s got this long luxurious fur that’s crazy soft and clings like the dickens to anything– your nose, clothes, furniture, hand while petting, itself– and he requires grooming, as the shorthair charlie tuna does not (but likes it)– iggy looooooves to be brushed, which is a good thing, as he gets wicked mats– I’m unable to keep on top of them, but I try a bit and then throw up my hands to lion cut in the summer– it’s like starting from scratch, like a cat crew cut after a chewing gum episode. I tend to gently, lovingly manhandle my pets– I pick up the cats whenever I feel like it, cradle them like babies, carry them around for a bit, then put them down again, so they’re used to handling– I also give them their space to meander, but I feel that some amount of cuddling is required for any being’s optimal health– and I forget and am sometimes rudely reminded that others have different sorts of relationships with their pets– not too long ago while staying at a friend’s house I unthinkingly bent down and picked up her young cat and got a freakout and faceful of claws into the bargain, only belatedly realizing that of course she would maintain a more respectful personal space policy with her cat, she’s like that. I have a hard time not rescuing or adopting every stray I see or hear about– that is simply the cloth I am cut from– but having gone the rounds with way more big dogs than I can actually afford to feed and care for, I’ve now set a limit of three creatures at a time for myself. which is not to say that I wouldn’t love to also have a parrot and some goats and some chickens and several more dogs and some more of those awesome swoopy goldfish and a koi pond and a cow and a horse to ride and heck may an elephant or two. if I ever win the lottery maybe I’ll become one of those weird old eccentrics with a live menagerie. but for now I’ve got my boys, and they make my home and life much brighter, more companionable, amusing, hairy, and warm.
this morning I suddenly feel better. I didn’t expect to feel better, still not having done the Big Things on my sword of damocles to-do list– but apparently I have done other things and other things have rolled around somewhat– and there is, I think, a lesson in this which I offer up to you out there in case it gives something good at a time when you might need it.
some of us, who knows, maybe many of us, have a lot of monsters in our heads. all sizes and shapes with very pinchy snarly teeth. sometimes they get the upper hand and you see all the world through their grinchy little eyes: you look up into snow falling under streetlights in the evening, and you do not think how beautiful— instead you think I am as fleeting and insignificant as one of those flakes of ice. you find no consolation in the complex architecture of frost. you say to yourself I MUST pull myself up by my boot straps! only to argue physics and logic with yourself.
there are different kinds of forward propulsion. I had some significant figures in my younger days show me a lot of the fist-down-on-the-table variety. boom boom. you WILL do x or y! to which it was all too easy to conform on the surface while underneath saying no, I WON’T— thereby splitting myself in two time and again.
I am trying to learn another kind of forward propulsion: the loving open hand on my own back, propelling me forward; the hand in my own guiding me, walking with me. and, yes, I know how late it is in the game to be learning, to be studying these things, and there is shame and embarrassment in such an enterprise– but by golly I’m fighting for my life.
and so the lesson I am taking this morning, once again and all over again for the hundredth time as if for the first time, is this: gentle steps. rather than setting up the To Do list monumentally in such a way that it will make me, once again, dig in my heels and retreat under the covers with a book, going la la la, I’m not listening— instead. small steps. like writing in the paper journal every morning, once again. (it’s been much much too long.) allowing myself some timeouts without belaboring the self-recrimination. keeping getting up in the morning and going to work, where sometimes I do some things that feel good and right and leave me feeling stronger with important realizations about myself. keeping looking up at that snow under the streetlights– in time I will see it again in all its glittering splendor and realize I am breathing and breathe.
- too much pasta, just prior to bed: wolfed
- one weekend of sheer avoidance
- 6-8 issues with no apparent solution
- stacks of unopened mail
- one more monday looming
proper emulsification depends critically on knowing and then repeating to yourself exactly what you really should be doing, while not doing it.
slosh & ferment.
wake at 3:45 a.m. & enjoy!
someone I love lies sleeping, invisible to me, leashed by dreams.
I’ve walked in circles clockwise and still can’t seem to unwind.
all the loaves are stone and the sky is bitter with wine.
the stairs are so small I can’t step confidently,
and the flight disappears up and up around a bend.
I’m in the middle with no choice but to climb
or slip and maybe tumble. I’m afraid of falling
and all the spiny things like what birds carry
to build their wicked nests in bare treetops.
the sky hangs above, snagged by a thousand fingers
that drag down the grey light into evening.
somehow engines and lights roar through the dark
on flightpaths surpassing my understanding:
I’ve stood in those terminals, proceeded
faster than the floor moving under me,
and still failed to arrive. my baggage
begins to feel like ballast, so much sand
sealed up to stow against a flood. if I heave
it over surely gravity will let me go.
how is it my hands are so roped
to the necks of all these bags,
canvas sodden under my palms?