Saturday, August 7, 2010

Must be demon rasslin' time

Yo-Yo Ma James Taylor - Hard Times Come Again No More

Charles Schulz' Pigpen could raise a cloud of dust atop freshly-fallen snow. I can raise a cloud of crazy walking from one room to another. Some moments, the mind is a trusted ally; I seek its counsel and follow, without question, its non-linear illumination of byzantine connections. Then, without slowing to pat the handkerchief in its breast pocket, it transforms into a pack of shrill yet snarling dogs and I seem to have left the box of distracting treats elsewhere.

Because I do not see myself or this situation as unique, I believe we are stalked, followed, eavesdropped upon, satellite-scanned and grabbed roughly from peaceful moments by demons. No matter if it is the demon of unwritten thank-you notes or the lamenting wraith who carries old trauma and loss like a bouquet, like something you might have left behind by accident and might be happy to see again.

Demons can be gnats; they can be the heavy equipment needed to rebuild war zones. They are the one-time friends whose habits caused you to neglect giving them your new address. They are reminders of our least perfect moments and whether or not we had any role in creating them, demons want to be sure we don't forget.

So we rassle them. Yes, it is a word...wrestling with even fewer rules and a Southern accent. I suppose we could sell tickets - you come and watch me rassle, then I'll come over and watch you. But I don't imagine there would be much to see. If the ugly little pustules would manifest as opponents that could be grabbed by the hair or if they possessed fingers that could be bent backward painfully, then we'd have a match. Buying tickets for an anxiety attack or a hand-wringing gloom fest sounds like money poorly spent.

A swap meet find which I've already owned for 40 years is a poster, advertising THELMA NICKLE, CASTING OUT DEMONS, SIGNS - MIRACLES - MULTITUDES HEALED. Oh, Thelma, you'd have to show me some moves that the federation wouldn't approve.

Once, because all else had made no difference, I helped my mother take her best friend, in her last months of lung cancer, to a shameful circus called a faith healing. Held in the Shrine Auditorium - site of Hollywood award shows, which tells you something - it was standing room only. We were banished to the nosebleed section, not having had the presence of mind to use a wheelchair. I do believe in miracles, I know that impossible and unexplainable things happen. I just don't believe they are things you can obtain with money. We are left to fend off our own demons by whatever means we can.

It is a Haagen Daaz Rocky Road or slice of red velvet cake with cream cheese icing sort of celebratory day when the demons are still. Perhaps they hibernate. They are party crashers. I swear it, all is peace and contentment, bliss and gratitude and they arrive, welcome as a whopping cold sore. Time to suit up, reach for your fiercest lucha libre mask and accept that ass-kicking season is here for real. And we can always hope that this time, once rassled, they won't get up again.


Claire Beynon said...

Dear Marylinn - you have just written the self-same pages I've been tussling - rassling - with, saying the things I've been trying to say but haven't been able to. I'm surrounded by piles of crumpled paper! Eurgh. Elation and fury come back-to-back these days. One is guaranteed to arrive within minutes of the other. The ground heaves and sighs, it throws up boulders one minute, swallows them the next. I am a calm and loving angel one minute, am irascible, tirading bull the next. I keep glancing over my shouder to see if I can catch the demon/the angel in the act of changing shoes. But no, there are no warning signs to guide. It's quite a dance, to say the least. And pretty darned tough.

I wish you an armoury of fine, loving, fierce (fierce can be excellent) and effective tools... You're terrific, Marylinn. Thank you for your insights and your amazing gift for synthesizing these realities.

Take care over there. May you soar.
Love, Claire

Kass said...

This writing is so good - so universal - things we all deal with, but put in a way that makes me feel intelligent reading it. I think you are more of a miracle worker than Thelma.

Kass said...

...and the Yo Yo Ma, James Taylor # is perfection. That cello line makes me cry.

Robert the Skeptic said...

The one thing that I know about demons is that they are of our creation - and therein lies our only hope of defeating them.

Sultan said...

Isn't Yo Yo Ma wonderful?

I am rejecting the demos even as they consume me metaphorically.

Have you ever read The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall?

Radish King said...

I rassle my demons to the mud and they hop up again. Or I hide. They're usually dressed in stained sweat pants and t shirts with slogans on them they're usually bill collectors. Their knock strikes FEAR into my pinched little hear. Thanks as always Marylinn. Thoughtful and makes me feel not so alone.

Anonymous said...

perhaps mine and yours are on the same seasonal roster - the autumn/winter ones.
Mine come in May and leave end of June.

RachelVB said...

It must be August. Summer's shadow or perhaps the death of summer.
August is full of plans that never materialized, mosquito bites and 5 tons of laundry and the hope that in the last bits of sunny days the light will bleach all our stains away.

Marylinn Kelly said...

I am sorry for not responding yet to all your thoughtful, welcome comments. Tomorrow, the 11th, so help me. I do not take one word of them for granted. Thank you all. Love, M.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Claire - If you can catch them changing shoes (I've tried mirrors, dental tools) we could say Ah Ha! But they are too quick, too sly. Thank you...I was pretty sure I wasn't in this strange land alone.

Kass - Thank you. I don't imagine Thelma is still among us to arm wrestle (rassle) me for any titles and I'm glad you liked the music. Once my son became a fan of Chinese martial arts movies, I noticed the prevalent use of the cello which, to me, conveys the mournful so well.

Robert - That is the hell of it - they are our creations. I frequently wonder why our minds seem to have it in for us as they do. Yet it does give hope, if they don't wear us out first.

Laoch - I like the visual of him, the blissful look on his face, a man doing exactly what he is here to do and finding the joy of it. No, I haven't read The Raw Shark Texts, had not heard of it until your mention but reading about it at the NPR site, I sense the connection and am interested to read it. Thank you. If you succeed in rejecting the demons, please let me know.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Rebecca - Thank you. The only thing worse than the demons are the moments when we think we, alone, are being plagued. The stained sweat pants and sloganed shirts (barely covering midsections, in my vision) take some of their power away. A well-dressed demon would really lower my self-esteem.

Denise - Sadly, mine seem to be seasonless, no time of year when it is possible to be certain of peace. But it may be that that they find August irresistible.

Rachel - Oh, for a sun strong enough to bleach all our stains away. I think they know the heat depletes us and make their moves accordingly.

Anonymous said...

My g'd! your writing here, this, speaks volumes to me - to a T. may I ask, where are you?

cold comfort
for change.

For me it seems to have started after conversing with someone on the net who'd said they were into finance
trust accounts.


I had NO idea.

thanks for sharing


Marylinn Kelly said...

Anonymous - Yours is my first anonymous comment. I am glad that you found something that resonated...I really do think we have more in common than many care to admit...and how welcoming it is when we find others who do own this non-linear, irrational aspect of existence. I am in a suburb just east of downtown Los Angeles. Thank you for commenting. Please come back.

Frenchy Pectoralis said...

I have lived in Loss A since 2000
consciously - and it is raining still - though this is not the worst... more-so it is that some seem to revel in the mock of it

thanks for the in
again -


Marylinn Kelly said...

Frenchy - Thanks for checking back in. I wonder that Joan Didion never thought to call this place Loss A. It certainly qualifies as a mixed blessing.