Saturday, September 29, 2012

Pop music under the full moon

1980s pop on the morning jukebox, breakfast at the homesick restaurant.  Today I wish the present moment did not find me with a self-assessment of worn and scruffy, attributes for an ideal studio assistant (see earlier post: Rosa Mira, etc.), without quite so many incoming messages yet to be decoded and rather less seized up of body than the Tin Man.  Today I wish the present moment held a spot for me as somebody's baby.

Yesterday's Gumby vs. Frozen Charlotte consideration took a literal turn with the word "yoga" appearing in emails and comments.  What I was seeking was poster children for that sealed-in-amber feeling of having stopped saying yes often enough to sources of tearful joy, giddy anticipation, dizzying flashbacks.  My belief in the inseparable nature of mind/body/spirit may at times create a murkiness - what IS she talking about?  But getting unstuck in one realm is a foot pulled out of the tar pits in another.  It is truly all connected. 

Reading today at Cafe Astrology about what any of this may mean or even signify, I found:
"With the Moon full and bright in the sky, symbolic "illumination" occurs in our own lives. However, these new feelings and revelations are emotional ones, as there is a sense of emotions bursting forth into our consciousness. It's time to express ourselves, and to let things out of our systems. Of course, we might want to exercise some care while doing so, knowing that what is coming out of us is new and not particularly rational as yet.

"This Full Moon activates the Uranus-Pluto square, reinforcing the "battle" between the need for companionship and the need for independence. There can be a sense of surprise, shock, or frustration involved with our emotional discoveries. Certainly, there can be a strong urge, or need, to break free from old patterns in our relationships."  (FYI, Cafe Astrology will prepare, for free, a natal chart for you.  It is a generous gift for those interested.)

The "new and not particularly rational" information about the need to break old patterns describes my flailing and teetering here, trying to tell what I seem to know, trying to put words to how it feels.  There are emotions bursting forth and thoughts race past of how I need to draw, draw, draw, not necessarily to illustrate what is being illuminated, floated to the surface.  It is more about drawing - as with writing - whatever comes and trusting that what appears is relative, essential to the process.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Bendy, that's a state I want to know better

From Frozen Charlotte

To flexible Gumby
in a mere 67 years, give or take.  If we don't learn to bend, to own, to dive in, to go through (the only way out, by the way), we shatter or seize up.  Word of the day: limber.  If only.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Please, let the grieving begin

Not morning jukebox but dream music, as in, I was singing this and sounding just like Linda.  I know I played the grooves flat on HEART LIKE A WHEEL and went on to abuse the cassette.

What story the song wants me to tell isn't clear.  The dream was fading, the music remained vibrant.  Whether they have anything to do with each other or not, I am being enlightened on how little I know of grieving.  Lucky for me, I don't think there is only one right way to do it.  The operative words, though, are Do It.  Where do I begin when the years and the losses have been so numerous?  I feel like the unintentionally dammed creek, logjams, clogs and impediments, fresh water reduced to a trickle and everything downstream parched and gasping.

Grief unacknowledged is trying to live a full life in smaller and smaller boxes.  It is default adapting just to keep from dwindling to no movement at all.  I've tried to reshape it into a problem with an intellectual solution and it will not cooperate.  Unaddressed, it will never leave.  My best guess is to start writing about it.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Rosa Mira, Ratty and the studio assistants

Ratty illustration by Penelope Todd.

In August, Penelope Todd and Rosa Mira Books offered an illustration of Ratty, the publishing house's sales manager, with any purchase. One could select from existing art or have a personalized work created. I was happy to choose Ratty aboard a raft of color pencils. Instead, Penelope drew the clever rodent juggling for the amusement of my studio assistants, old toys whose photo I had posted. He is only appearing now as it took me this long to figure out how to reduce him to a blog-friendly size.  Don't even ask.

A visit to the Rosa Mira blog will introduce you to their catalog, outstanding reviews and close views of Ratty, his home and work lives.  Please visit, comment, shop, become a blog follower and tell your friends about this New Zealand-based company.  Ratty's adventure, and they are not timid, have only begun.  Penelope's drawings, even before Ratty's emergence, charmed me and called me back to delight in the depth of personality she can bestow on the most functional household objects.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

"More questions are on their way."

If the palm readers are of divided minds on which hand tells the story, how do we begin?

The life line in my left palm has a faint and tentative beginning.  Along its journey it becomes shallow, a washed out road, the sort for which warnings are posted about the force of running water.   As this is taking place, tracks from the north appear, run parallel and then merge to form a more emphatic crease which grows deeper as it nears my wrist.  The corresponding line on my right hand is more uniformly deep.

How is it that neither blares, at least to my untrained vision, the events that became crossroads, the fissures where life broke away from itself?  There are no islands I can find that say this is where the temblors struck, setting portions of the land adrift in a sequence of time best identified by change and loss.  Fewer than six years have produced a transformation I can only liken to entering hibernation as a bear and waking up as a collection of parts from three Volkswagens, uncertain if we have what we need to produce, with tools and skills not provided,  one semi-reliable vehicle.

We have, we are, it is all mystery, seeming as unknowable at the heart as around the perimeter.   We trail the poets and gather clues, artifacts of self that we tie up in our hems or handkerchiefs.  At night, the knots undone, we look for meaning in the potsherds.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Summer and space

"The summer had inhaled and held its breath too long..."

I run from tv news, even local programs for anything other than weather forecasts, having lost trust in their ability to tell wheat from chaff.  While I spent this last full summer morning visiting with a life-long friend on what we call the stoop of our apartment,  actual news was being made as the space shuttle Endeavour took its farewell aerial tour above California landmarks en route to LA International Airport and its eventual home in LA's California Science Center.  I caught up with its flight as it made a final circle above LAX, then  began the six-mile last leg from the Harbor Freeway to touchdown.  I loved every minute of coverage I saw: the jumping, cheering children on school playgrounds; teary space program fans lining roadsides and elbow-to-elbow at Griffith Park Observatory; low-level passes above the Hollywood sign, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Santa Monica Pier; a tour of the 747 which impossibly ferried Endeavour across the country one last time.

There is not enough in the news that gladdens my heart.  Today was another creature altogether.  From my junior high science class and our first successful satellite through today's curtain calls for one incarnation of the U.S. space program, I have been among the awe-struck.  I choose to believe that our most extraordinary advances in space exploration await.   I've heard of a 100-year plan being put into effect, something so bold that the phrase "bending the space-time continuum" has been used in conjunction with it.  Possibly apocryphal or my own wishful thinking, I have no reason to doubt that it could be true.  Already I envy the wide-eyed. leaping students who will be here to cheer that mission's completion.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Follow the music

As long as they visit me and until I change my mind, I'm going to post my morning internal jukebox songs.  If the day's volunteer music doesn't offer an intuitive prompt for an essay, you will just get the music, for which there must be some meaning, else why would it be nudging my brain as I wake up?

 It was Freddie Fender's voice that I heard.   Other worthy versions exist.  Today, this is the one.
We look at ourselves and the rest of what we assume is reality through a veil, a scrim, constructed by experience, expectation, the presumed safety of not thinking and disbelief in the vast and pervasive role wonder plays in our lives.  Its opacity is an illusion.  On stage, a back light reveals it as the distraction through which we see what is really going on.

I am occasionally,  mysteriously bruised about the arms and legs.  My doctor says it is part of aging, which I find a bit dismissive and insufficient as an answer.  How would I respond if he said my continual bumping against old beliefs, looking for a way beyond them,  left me spotted with patches as green and purple as any black eye?  I'd sure as hell know we weren't in Kansas anymore.

Finding balance in all things might be the greatest component of peace.  Longing, dreaming, striving, planning; wishing for more or different, in our circumstances, in ourselves.  Where is the sky-hook that will lift me out of here, out of myself and chaos I believe is of my creation and lower me gently into those calmer, greener fields?  Once again, turned back with a smile and a pleasant encouragement to BE HERE NOW.  Eventually the choices narrow until one is left with finding not only the good but the answer in what is.  That's a teaspoon of what I may know today.  Guidance or something like it from the morning jukebox.  

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Morning jukebox

It doesn't matter if anyone else sees it the way you do.  It doesn't matter if nobody gets it or hears you or trusts you to know your own truth.  It will not match anything in the prevailing paradigm and it requires no more than showing up and doing, yes, the next indicated thing.  Well, that and tuning out everything that doesn't support IT.

We each have a calling, a mission.  It may be the funkiest,  most bizarre and unlikely assignment ever conceived and all we want to do is list the reasons why we're sure there's been a mistake.  There is no mistake.  No one dialed the wrong number.  Yes, it's you and yes, it's now.  Grab it up, your heart filled with doubt.  Think - quietly - of everything that seems small and foolish and unimportant about the task you've just been handed and remember, in listening to our own precious truths, there is nothing, ever, that is small or foolish or unimportant.  Go on with your bad and sacred and authentic self and do it.  Tom Petty agrees.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Soul food

The Friday morning cabeza jukebox featured this:

Other tracks of the mind wanted vintage eye candy in the form of Liberty of London prints.
Our hearts, our spirits know what we need.  We know, too, if we listen carefully enough.  It was definitely Neil Young and not a bag of Cheetos, a stack of Liberty prints and not anything else.  Correction:  it could have been a stack of faded vintage floral cotton, washed hundreds of times and somehow reaching back to touch a grandmother's apron, the nearly-flat heart-shaped pillow on her bed, sewn of a cloth so soft its touch brought tears..  The two bedrooms had a different wallpaper pattern on each wall, another on the ceilings.  I wish I'd taken time to count how many separate prints she used in the double wedding ring quilt.  We can't know until it arrives which magic carpet will transport us to our true home on any given day.

In another life there was a husband and recreational/useful, necessary thrift store shopping.  How those French cotton, tailor-made shirts reached Ventura remains on the list of wonders.  As does their price: fifty cents, the same cost as the Liberty of London tie, petite flowers in ecru and yellow with faint leaves in pale olive.  I guarantee no one else in the newsroom then or any other time in his life had one that even came close.  The pleated-yoke fronts of the formal, french-cuffed shirts were transformed with embroidery and paint for days away from the office, pairing with the patched, striped bell-bottoms.  The 70s were a love affair with DMC thread and its many applications.

This week I received a link to, as it turns out, a local astrologer/lecturer whose one video sent me to see if there were others.  Heidi Rose Robbins may be found on Facebook, and suggested YouTube as a better source for her multiple talks.  When I visited her FB page a few days ago, the newest topic was Mars in Scorpio.  In an alarming over-simplification of her description, I understood that we are in the throes of an epic internal struggle between personality and soul and that soul must be the victor.  If we are not that well acquainted with our soul, its needs and its mission, the odds of a good outcome diminish.

She suggested beauty - among other things which I cannot put a name to at the moment - as a vehicle to lift us above the worldly demands of our mind, our considerably less exalted self.  While I could proclaim myself as a daydreamer almost without peer, when the inner DJ is playing "Mr. Soul" and, between songs, talking about the visual, tactile fresh air of old cotton, I listen and obey.  Worldly - earthly - matters work on me like water over stone.  I don't want to end up but a nubbin of my true self, having let the bickering mind congress define my presence, masquerade as my purpose.  What I have to share today is that we must listen, listen deeply.  We need to follow the most odd and "other" urgings that send us off like 1950s teenagers on a scavenger hunt, innocent, no trace of cynicism, breathlessly excited to be racing down sidewalks after dark with new friends in search of a crocheted potholder or an ashtray made in kindergarten.

We really are all weirdos, as the Firesign Theater said, "We're all bozos on this bus."  Ram Dass told us, "We're all just walking each other home."  He also realized, “In most of our human relationships, we spend much of our time reassuring one another that our costumes of identity are on straight.” Not any more.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Time trio with a soundtrack

Poster by Fred Babb


Here is the site with the original footage from which the Booker T. video by kiddysoulgirl99 was borrowed, featuring Cab Calloway, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, Lena Horne and the Nicholas Brothers.  Which tells me in this exploration of time we are also acknowledging timelessness.

Original art by Pretty Scruffy
I rest my case.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

HOMELAND unofficial Fan Club: Sign up here

Mandy Patinkin, Claire Danes and Damien Lewis of Showtime's HOMELAND
Okay, HOMELAND.  We watched the two-part finale of season one last night.  I've been dreaming HOMELAND.  Just now I saw a promo for the second season which begins on Sept. 30, with this as the background music.  Well.

We who do not see the better shows on their original channels arrive at the party a little late.  Still, late is just fine.  It was a week that began with the season finale of BREAKING BAD,  concluded with HOMELAND and housed numerous DR. WHO episodes from season six, one of which contained my favorite scripted quote in a long time.

     "You have a time machine.  I have a gun.  What the hell, let's kill Hitler."

There are moments when I wonder at an involvement with fictional characters that is Pavlovian, salivating and everything.  Then I listen to how much more truth there is in the words they are given to say by people who can write and who do not go all Uriah Heep when the truth is required.  David Simon - creator of THE WIRE, TREME and GENERATION KILL  - was a guest on Craig Ferguson's show Thursday night and mentioned the tiny audience he feels is attracted to his series.  I say not so.  Many of us miss them first-run in our cable-free existence but become zealots as they are made more available.  The fan base for intelligent television is not small, it may just be a bit behind the overnight ratings.  Which reminds me, BBC's THE HOUR will reappear this fall.  See what you can learn from Vogue magazine's September issue?  But it will be spring, I understand,  before Mr. Cumberbatch returns as Sherlock Holmes.  Based on my relationship with time, that could feel like a week from Tuesday.  Meanwhile, we will prowl until we find new-to-us treasures with which to become obsessed.  Can't wait.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Extreme Parenting Video Project

On her Friday, August 31 blog Elizabeth Aquino posted the result of The Extreme Parenting Video Project.   The greatest gift a blog gives its author is the chance to share what is meaningful with whomever has happened by or chosen to be a follower.  I keep myself cheered along this journey by sometimes showing the work of artists whose sensibilities nourish mine.  We are not separate from what we create, yet there are some who model a seamless flow of living that is especially vivid.  Elizabeth is one of them.

"Published on Aug 30, 2012 by
Families of children and young adults with disabilities were asked what they might have told themselves on the day their child was diagnosed. This is what they said.

"Thanks to Patty Griffin for the beautiful song 'Heavenly Days.'"

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Just answer yes or no

Unless we are defended against them, sandbaggings and other weighty misfortunes loiter above the paths we wander and will flatten our gratitude and sunny appreciation, snap.  Just like that.

Yesterday and today, like the silent journey of an earthworm, creepy meaningless stuff that is such a chintzy sliver of reality was burrowing toward me, foretelling gloom and that awful steamrollered flatness that may be depression.

So I looked for reasons, reasons that could make this a response to externals and not a true reading of the interior state.  Some options:

Heat - climbing and growing more humid.  Two days of not running the air conditioner was a reprieve, though possibly brief.

Politics.  Need I say more?

Perhaps too much stillness and separateness, though I become easily overwhelmed and quiet is peaceful.

What feels like a compass gone awry, magnetism or other fluxy tricks obscuring a clear direction.

September.  If there was a pop quiz, I'd have guessed April.  Time.  Sigh.

An almost complete absence of answers to any question, other than "I don't know."  Aren't we meant to be more certain, more fixed and drawn to one pole or another, aren't we just supposed to know if the WD-40 will work on that rusted fixture or the hard water marks will disappear with a product I refuse to research on Google?  Aren't we supposed to know (a) that this all comes out and (b) how that happens?

I am relieved to say that all sources consulted say the answer is no.  Just no.  And no makes whatever this is alright.  No becomes tomorrow's maybe.  No leaves enough air in the room to breathe and even laugh.  No means I can read through Julie Whitmore's blog, stare at her painted bluebirds and hollyhocks, her spring photo of wild sweet peas and pretend I can still walk around safely in shoes without laces and sturdy soles.  That I can still wear those pewter-color ballet flats and picture butterflies landing on my arms, in my hair.  All is not as it appears on television or, help us!, the internet.  There is dangerous subversion in distilled magic, disguised as color pencil shavings and painted faces no larger than M&Ms.  Better still, there is the simplicity of beautiful unknowingness.  No.  Just no.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

In the pumpkin patch

For all the people and places in this hemisphere for whom autumn approaches, meet Julie Whitmore Pottery.  The piece shown is called There's A Bluebird in My Pumpkin Patch.  Her work has been described as French Faience style.  Each piece is hand-built and therefore one-of-a-kind 
Additional examples of Julie Whitmore's original art are here.
Don't you just want to go bake a pie or at least put on an apron and striped stockings?  I do and it's nearly 100 degrees here.  Her work is just that persuasive.