Archive for September, 2011

Preeminent Pleasure

This was my old commute.

This was my old commute.

Quite awhile ago, I wrote a post on how driving changes you.  I considered the fundamental shifts in thinking engendered by long hours living between two rows of dotted lines.

Although I am still dutifully staying between the lines, now, I’m happy to say, I have been transported (at least momentarily) into a whole other world: my commute has changed.  Now, I am no longer masculinized by a swift, hard, competitive, linear, and stressful penetration into the city’s center.  I am rocked back and forth in the feminizing curvatures of  local country roads, enshrouded in riotous foliage that sparkles with the morning sun.  And, I’ve seen the change in my attitude towards work!

I arrive at my employment in the kind of inspiring state of mind that makes it easy to believe that I am there to engage with real people, solve problems that address their immediate needs, and provide a stabilizing presence in their harassing daily errands.  I am singing in the car again; not cursing.  I am laughing with the windows down; not holding my breath against the fumes and exhaust.  I am taking the long way, just to swerve down the arcs of asphalt; not constantly recalculating the shortest distance between myself and my destination.  I am choosing my course based on pleasure not preeminence.

And I’m lovin’ it.

THIS is my new commute.

THIS is my new commute.

Advertisements

My Linen Should Be Laundered

How high are we?

I was bound to run into the glass ceiling.

Or maybe it’s a box.

Well, whatever shape it is, there are planes and angles involved.  It’s a structure that encases my thoughts, and, if you are the one standing on the other side, you may see me yelling and hear nothing.

You may see me yelling and hear nothing because I haven’t opened the window.  Yes, there is a window my in box.  But it’s currently only open for business once a week.  Lucy is going to crowd me out of the market.

The past month or two, I’ve only been blogging every seven days.

Although it may come as a shock, however, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been saying things.  Like I said, I just haven’t been open for business.

Lucy, will you help me?

Lucy, will you help me?

There are so many thoughts that shuffle between my ears every day.  Well, actually, my thoughts feel less like they shuffle between my ears and more like I can still hear them screaming at me across the room–from under five pillows, a set of headphones, and two squishy ear plugs.  They pound away at my head all day long, intertwining and running over themselves in their eagerness to command my poor little Self’s attention.  They jostle for affection and tenderness, and my poor Creativity has run away.  I think He is hiding in a corner until all the yelling stops.

But what’s funny about blogging is that I can’t let you in on that conversation.  I can’t let you in on that conversation because it’s not politically correct—or even polite, for that matter.  You would be offended, and then I would be offended at you, mostly for interrupting my eloquence with a *gasp*

I can’t let you in because you don’t care as much as I do.  My screaming voices are only a whisper among your screaming voices.  And we really all simply want peace and quiet.  The only reason my little window is comforting to you or to me is because it channels the energy; everything has to mush into a square to pop out the window and onto the other side of my glass box, or triangle, or quadrangle, or hexagon, or parralleogram, or rhombus.   (I think I secretly always liked the rhombus best.)  That little window of “a blog post” can do wonders to solidify the thoughts swirling around.

Perhaps it’s like those hurricane machines at the shoe stores from the nineties where the really loud salesman with the obnoxious and oversized company polo shoves you in to make a spectacle for the other innocent shoppers; you flail your arms about trying to catch on to something you can walk away with.  My thoughts aren’t like single paper dollars, though; it’s the whole roll of linen tromping around in gale-force wind.  They’re all connected; that’s why, if I eventually throw one end out of my glass window, the other end will eventually catch up and go sailing out into the great Beyond.

What if I am the Woman in White---does that make me crazy?

What if I am the Woman in White---does that make me crazy?

And that’s why it’s hard to blog.  I don’t want all my dirty linen out in the great Beyond.  I want it safely at home, where it’s regularly laundered, cut and dried.

So, accept my deep regrets: you may not hear from me for another week.

CHaoTic ORDER

One of my dear friends sent me a link to beautiful pictures of snowflakes.

As I sat there looking at the perfect structure and order at the microscopic level, I was stunned by the thought that the swirling chaos of our lives—especially our inner thoughts—always manifests itself in structure at the minute level.  Perhaps it is not as “perfect” as cause and effect, but the repetitious decisions that we make every day, the thoughts that we repeated absorb into our consciousness, render us as who we are.

For example, my life profoundly changed when I  decided to quite being ashamed of loving my two parakeets.  It seems a childish indulgence, but when I embraced my fancy for what my parakeet fancy was (a haven in world preoccupied with impressing itself on as many people as possible), it became a delightful source of joy.  I no longer fought with my natural inclination to smile when an image of their antics flitted through my head during a particularly intense business meeting.  And, as the State Farm (?) ads in which they show a chain of cause and effect, from a friendly smile to saving a life or what have you, my little smile in that business meeting probably made someone else’s day brighter.

My voice has been muffled of late by all the deluge of responsibilities and projects I am currently juggling, so I imagine that this post seems somewhat uncontrolled, unpolished, and unrefined.  But! I will not let myself be discouraged from thinking and smiling and writing.  In the end, all the little actions, the little consistencies in how I respond to my daily life: they will emerge as beautiful, regular, and yet unique expressions of my Self in all its swirling glory.

a little swirling snow

a little swirling snow

Ed Wood’s Masterpiece

After many recommendations from friends, I finally got to see the movie Ed Wood last night.  It was fantastic!  I don’t think I’ve ever been so attached to cinematic characters in quite a long while.  Martin Landau’s and Johnny Depp’s performances were heart-wrenching.  I know, love, and work with people like them; people who have such a heart and passion for storytelling, such a clarity of vision and sense of purpose: and no money or help to make it happen.

I would argue that most artists have a sense of the sensation of their own lives.  In a hyper-reactive way, they can commune with the drama of their Selves, and, in the act of doing so, they pull out the drama in each Other.  My own heart comes alive in new ways when I read a story or view a film that touches a chord in my soul that’s hidden away from the glaring light of the working day.  Creatives like Ed Wood are the unfortunate canary in the cage—their own demise is a signal of the loss of breathing room in our culture’s search for riches.

No, of course Ed Wood’s films aren’t a gold mine.  And they should probably never be remade—-not because they are the worst films of all time, but because they are valuable exactly as they are.  Tim Burton’s rendition of his life puts it right up in your face: every person’s voice and story is important, simply because it exists.  Not because you can make money off of it.

How do you cut yourself free of the Puppetmaster Dollar?

How do you cut yourself free of the Puppetmaster Dollar?

But, in the same moment, making money is absolutely vital.  And the film shows with unflinching sorrow the merciless Puppetmaster Dollar, pulling the strings of Ed, Delores, Vampira, and—most agonizingly—Bela.  And the show goes on.

Not the shows that we want to make, but the show of our lives.  As the title of my blog indicates, this life is not a dress rehearsal.  It is the big performance.  There is no going back.  You are on stage and the cameras are rolling, and it doesn’t matter if you’ve never done improv before, everybody is already watching you.

Tim Burton maintains an excellent conceit to help us understand this concept in the film: everything about the movies that Ed makes (or anyone else for that matter—Vampira, Criswell, etc.) is devastatingly realistic.  And everything about their real lives (the morphine, the cross-dressing, the self-promotion, the Brown Derby fundraisers, the premiers, etc.) is over-the-top dramatic in the delicious generic vein that Ed Wood tries so hard to create in his pictures.  The intense pock-mark lighting, the extreme camera angles, the alienating long shots, the high contrast black-and-white, the outrageous props hanging on the fringes of the frames—-all these glorious tricks of the trade make you stare in awe at the drama of the mundane.

The ultimate crushing irony of Ed Wood is that his life itself was the best picture he ever made.

Ed Wood's glory and failure: he couldn't see himself for what he was.

Ed Wood's glory and failure: he couldn't see himself for what he was.

Hello Twitterverse

hello September

hello September

Twitter trends crack me up.

10:02 p.m. #Goodbye August

10:41 p.m. #Hello September

Isn’t is amazing that we can now track what thousands and thousands of people are thinking about?  And even with all the tracking, there are so few surprises.  We all have the same basic rhythm, the same primary needs, the same mood swings.

It reminded me of when I first started working retail.  It was like all our customers coordinated a full-on assault!  Out of nowhere, suddenly there would be 20 customers needing personal attention.  Then, as quickly and supernaturally has they appeared, they would vanish, leaving carnage of tried-on clothing in their wake.

Yup.  People are people.  August is hot and slightly inspirational; September is moody and evocative—and slightly annoying, because you suddenly realized that you overcommitted yourself in back in inspirational August.  We think of ourselves as being different…but we’re not.

who's gonna lead the army?

who's gonna lead the army?

Maybe I’ll ask my friends from Australia: are they are predictable as we are?  Do Australians feel about September the way Americans do?  Are there such things as global trends—because the universe as scientists know it is expanding, but the Twitterverse is shrinking, pulling us closer and closer until we’ll all be the same.