Friday, July 8, 2011
The lazy susan turns
As the lazy susan of my mind twirls, what, I wonder, do these dishes contain?
Must I accept the last flight of the Space Shuttle, possibly the last American-directed manned mission into space? Am I futilely wedged in the past, wanting us still to be the fearless, imagination and science-fueled pioneers we once were? I heard John Glenn on the radio the other night: I want our astronauts to ride in OUR rockets, too. Something feels deeply, dangerously wrong about this.
Reading for the first time E. M. Forester, beginning with A Room with a View and only in Chapter 2, I marvel at the fact civilization survived those stiff-necked times when persons of a certain station could not speak to strangers, or be spoken to by them without collective gasps and intakes of air. Think of the blogging world under such constraints. We are only strangers until we speak, then our words and thoughts allow us to flow into one another. We step away, altered and enhanced.
I am capable of being the most stifling, inhibiting, spirit-crushing party-pooper to my creative, especially my artist, self. Luckily I lunged for this particular dish as it nearly swept past: I have, oh reincarnation of the scowling, scolding parent, kept myself from reclaiming my drafting table from disorder because there is other disorder in our midst and someone who is doing it right would take care of the other messes first. Art is play: no work, no play. (sound of screaming) In that dish, along with mixed sweet pickles which I thought they didn't make anymore, I found the note that reminded me - assume the whole castle has fallen into a fugue state, a Trance of Forgetting - that when I let the art come first, everything, repeat everything will be better. How easily I/we slip away from our centers and mistake ourselves for unhappy drones in human skin. I do not assume that mechanical devices are non-sentient beings.
For the past two nights, my son and I have watched, on Hulu via the PlayStation, samurai movies from the 1960s. They are part of the vast catalog of titles Hulu offers from The Criterion Collection. Conclusions we have reached through our extensive research of these and previous subjects: Japanese filmmakers in the 60s, likely reflecting what would have been sentiments of the time in which the films were set - say, the 18th century - had no respect or anything close to it for quasi-government functionaries, cruel warlords, their toadies and people who were likely to ride in sedan chairs and collect taxes. It causes me to wish we had movies with such themes today, and the impoverished, vagabond samurai who seem to have been placed on earth to champion the underdogs and send evil fleeing. In my fantasy, enough of these roving swordsmen might, just might, turn things around. I have taken many steps back from politics, feeling that any emotion I put into even thinking about health care or education is energy wasted. Ah, but with the samurai on the side of what will benefit the people most...They seem to enjoy wine, when available, and may be content with porridge when that's all there is. It is not an unpleasant dream.