Friday, June 30, 2006

toothbrush


I swore I'd never do it again.

Nuh-uh, not ever. I am a rock, I am an island. I am the only name on my lease.

But why would I put miles between our dreamtimes? Why would I abbreviate mornings full of waking up slowly and warmly? Why would I not want to share this window?

Shocking, that in the wake of wrongness there is so much right.

material


"He was still too young to know that the heart's memory eliminates the bad and magnifies the good, and that thanks to this artifice we manage to endure the burden of the past."
- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera


I went through my closet yesterday, stem to stern.

It's amazing, the story a small collection of clothes can tell - and I, yesterday, became its editor. The story of my body; the story of my aspirations. The story of my travels, and my friendships, and my lovers, and my family. Of what I like and what I do not like about my long, pale body - its bony escarpments and cushiony protrusions and shaded hollows. My insecurities, my confidences, my practicalities.

The dress I wore to that wedding at Beaulieu when I was just barely sixteen - one of the only long dresses I own, and I wore it barefoot that day to walk through the English rose garden on the vineyard grounds. The fireworks of exploding Champagne flutes when the dozens that had been carelessly set on the dance-floor heatlamps simultaneously exploded. I remember the dress catching my calves as I was tossed around, whizzingly, to that swing band. I knotted that skirt up in my hand to ride home perched on the window-ledge of the old beige Mercedes, and screamed with joy at the wind in my hair and on my skin and at someone holding my ankles to be sure I didn't fall out onto the road. And I cast it on the floor to the strains of that old Bakenaked Ladies album (Gordon, I'm sure it was. Hello, city.) playing softly, as I wiggled into a swimsuit and we all piled drunkenly into the hot tub on the back deck, toasting the advance of early-morning fog. I hadn't fit that dress for years, but when I slid it on yesterday it was 1996 again.

And then, the enormous pleasure of the purge. Conservative suit after conservative suit, collected from years of pursuing a job in corporate animation and TV. Suits collected with the wallet I fattened at CBS with my own lifesblood. Suits that represented who I thought I wanted to be but really, really didn't - black and camel armour for a pointless war. As I put each one on, I became unrecognizable to myself, draped in georgette hanging benignly over my curves and buttoned up to my neck. Get out, old self. Get outta here.

Out go the holdovers: This never fit well, but he gave it to me. This isn't my colour, but she lent it to me and I never gave it back but now she's gone. This really doesn't suit me, but it makes me remember this one moment in time that I like to think about. The pile grew in the middle of my bed, and I was struck by a glance I caught of it - this represents so many of my past iterations. My not-quite-right doppelgangers, locked in bondage to people and pursuits that were doomed to sputter out. And another pile, slightly to the left, of clothes that are ready to be nipped and tucked and tailored to suit the creature I have become.

This morning, much of my closet is possessed by clicking, empty hangers - like a mobile made of ribs.

I am at home, here, now.

Monday, June 26, 2006

on wanting


The last two videos I've worked on have involved a gaggle of women in very revealing clothing grinding around in ecstasy as they listen to the subject band.

I'm reminded of a lecture I listened to in film school about the theory of the male gaze. This particular shoot's content was interesting to frame in the context of that theory, just by the nature of its content. The short form of the project's treatment is this: the band performs in the stage space of a nasty red-light-district peep-show booth (the sort where you sit in a chair to watch the show and you pay by the minute to lift the opaque screen from the window between you and them). A sequence of hottie girls pay for the chance to peep at the band as they play and work themselves into a sweaty frenzy over the performance.

Essentially, the entire treatment of the video is about women watching men. But, you see, the driving force behind the idea is that we are watching the women as they have their private moment of bliss - their images are captured in a way that implies that they're bringing themselves to orgasm over the band's performance. And they're revealing all sorts of skin where the band is not - they're fully clothed as they play. So it's not about watching the band at all, really.

Then, of course, there's the content of the lyrics themselves - specific to a point beyond suggestiveness. ("What do I have to do to get inside of you? I love the way you move when I'm inside of you.")

Given my somewhat unique perspective on femaleness, participating in these two shoots back to back - and visiting a couple of Playboy shoots in the past week, too, one of which apparently involved women getting blasted in the face with bottle after bottle of champagne in super-slow motion - really brings this seminal feminist theory into relief.

Let me preface my thoughts here by saying that I do not define myself as a feminist. I'm a peopleist. I roll my eyes at the shortsightedness of women who insist that men's lives are unmarked by their gender - male or female, we all strain at the expectations forced on us by merit of the respective reproductive systems we were assigned. But there's something that chafes me about watching these women bumping around in their underoos, faked expressions of ecstasy on their made-up faces, rubbing french-manicured hands on their mystic-tanned skin.

I'm not anti-porn. In fact, I'm pretty darn pro-porn - with the very specific qualification that everybody looks like they are legitimately enjoying themselves. The other stuff turns me right off - listening to people go through the motions of desire without actual desire ever coming into the picture gives me the same creeped-out feeling as watching the audio-animatronic housewife in EPCOT center talk about her stove.

So I'm standing next to some of the crew guys, watching girl after girl climb into the booth chair and give it the ol' college try, listening to clinically delivered instructions on where exactly the girl is to move her hands and hearing bets placed on whose ta-tas are going to accidentally burst forth from their moorings during the goings-on. And at the same time as I'm titillated by the show, I feel a sadness well up. 'Cause these are people. People who were born very pretty, which is almost as bad as being born very ugly - 'cause they're at the mercy of those abnormally succulent bodies, as obviously and materially as a burn victim, just in a different way. And the very nature of their job requires them to strip themselves of their personalities and their personal preferences and their modesty and their actual wants and needs.

Like those Playmate interviews I used to laugh at: "I like guys with confidence. I like animals. I like to shop." It's never, "I'm Muslim. I like guys who make seven figures and can scrub laundry on their eight-pack. I scored a 1600 on the SAT and am getting my PhD in Organic Chemistry at Columbia."

Take the girl away, and you're left with a great set of punching balloons and the empty calories of feigned accessibility.

Sigh.

Friday, June 23, 2006

fuck politics i just want to burn shit down



I'm giddy.

Giddy, giddy, giddy.

I'm a car that's been kicking up a useless spin in gravel for so very long, and I just found my traction. Ka-pow, and I'm moving sofastIcanhardlykeepgtrackofmyselfwheeeee.

When I was researching and practicing my Irish spiritual heritage, I read a phrase that has stuck with me ever since: Magic is simply focused intention. The wands, the stones, the smoke, the flame, the colours - it's all just little tricks to help keep focus on the intention.

I'm making magic right now, wandlessly. Breathlessly.
all your worries
be gone
"you're the one"
put your arms around me
while i make the coffee
and think about everything you said
"bring your thin skin to my hands,
to my lips, to the bed.
let me in."

these everyday days feel like
treasure

-lori carson, 'treasure'

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

the closer i am to free


"Do you think we'll miss how simple this is right now?"

Everything we need - what a powerful statement. Everything we need, we have. I'm constantly reminded of a blog post I read a few months ago that keeps rolling through my mind - we're taking the path of least resistance. Not out of laziness, but because it's right. Because when it's right, the hard stuff becomes simple, clear, zen.

And that song keeps prodding my subconscious as I write this. It's hokey, but...y'know.

I had become so accustomed to struggle; to the plate-balancing act of a life full of compounding denials and diametric oppositions. To complication. To modularity - a la carte fulfillment.

"Six months ago, if I'd gotten an e-mail like that..."

I know. Heh. See - we're forged of the same stuff, darlin'. And at the same moment that I understand exactly what you're saying (to a sort of intimate extent), I feel something rise up in me. It overasks. It overthinks. Do you miss it? Will you miss it?

"It's the bounce effect..."

Lying on new carpet, laughing, as there's Marvin Gaye and a wiggling tickly prickly chin in the cleft of my clavicle and a mostly-empty winegless perched on a TV that's still plunked on the living-room floor.

We're on your set, and you're walking away from me. I love to watch your body move - a symphony in paint-splattered shorts and a stormy-grey t-shirt that drapes over your shoulderblades and follows the triangular line of your back as you make your way through the shuffle and bustle of the working crowd. The economical, easy grace of your movement is hard to tear my eyes from, and as a breeze pushes my cotton shirt lightly against my belly I'm reminded of the first time you touched me.

Watching morning traffic, hands wrapped over big bowls of coffee, forearms marked by the edges of a cafe table that's wildly overaccessorized with ampules and dispensers and jars of condiments and toppings. A drooling lab puppy watches your chocolate muffin with greedy eyes as you take your customarily oversize bites, and I marvel at how the white-gold morning sun seems to light you from the inside. And then you're looking sideways at me, and the corners of my lips still taste like the belgian praline butter I remember from breakfasts in St. Margrethen, and I want to just get in the car and drive us to the airport. And the trials of the early morning melt, because it's just a tiny thing and it's going to be just fine and anyway, you're here. Simple.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

songs i know the words to that i want to repurpose that cranial space instead of remembering


Peabo Bryson, 'Tonight I Celebrate My Love'
Melissa Manchester, 'Theme From Ice Castles'
Gummi Bears Theme Song
Limp Bizkit, 'Nookie'

...and, finally...

Shakira, 'Hips Don't Lie'

I figure I could get a couple of chapters from 'World History For Complete Idiots' memorized if I were able to utilize this space.

pink ribbon scars


I.

This season shocks me with its sharpness. Everyone I talk to is experiencing some major loss or transition. Everybody's fighting; trying to keep a stiff upper lip. And there's a funny feeling in the air when this many people are struggling, together, at the same time.

I'm reminded of a recent blog post by a friend of mine:

"Time is too fickle and swirling around the dark waters of despair only wastes time. Aren't things supposed to get easier? With age is supposed to come understanding and experience...maybe these problems just don't have a solution."

I don't think they do. I think the only solution they have is to continually assess the situation and be ready to move with it.

I think everything passes, for better and for worse.

I think this is just a day.

I think I need to be sure to enjoy it, 'cause I might get hit by a bus tomorrow.

II.

As I feel clearer, as I regain momentum and context and sensibility - I realize that, like you always say, we have the power to make this what we want. Relationships, jobs, everything - it boils down to attitude, and to flexibility, and the ability to view your habitual responses clearly and objectively.

I mean, we're all burn victims - in so many ways, simply the summary of our scars - and the way we react is based on What Happened Before.

But this is now.

Monday, June 12, 2006

prioritize


I realized something, yesterday. I'm an endurance athlete.

I like the lonely. I like the burning. I like the thinking. I like feeling the rhythms of my body - the toughness of the first couple of miles, the relative ease as I work into the middle, the wiggly exhaustion of the last bit, and the burst of energy that sends me sprinting into the last couple of miles - this time, literally.

It's forgetting. It's the pure version of Me. It's accomplishment, in a world that consistently denies me any trophies.

It's the fact that I started this post at 9 AM...12 hours ago.

Zzzzzzzzz.

Friday, June 02, 2006

I.

Lately, everything irritates me. Everything. If someone waits too long to pick up a phone, I find it tooth-grindingly excruciating. Morning traffic makes me want to strangle a puppy. Lines at the bank jimmy my sanity up at the edges.

My focus is almost gone...too many close calls in traffic; too many slipped tasks. I didn't want to know that I was this close to nonfunctionality. Argh.

My creativity suffers pitiably from the amount of energy it's taking to handle the mussed logistics of this transitional moment. I miss creative-me - whether it's cooking or building something or so much as taking a few photos. I wonder how long it's going to be before I have the reins back in hand.

It's like Eddie Murphy in Bowfinger - "Keepittogetherkeepittogetherkeepittogether." And don't show it to the Lakers girls.

II.

I do so love to make plans. I love graphs and spreadsheets and charting a course. I love to talk about things that will happen weeks, months, years from now. Decades, even.

I'm starting to wonder if this makes me, officially, stupid.

If plans never come to be, then what's the point of expending the energy to make them?

Thursday, June 01, 2006