not just circle
daily practice

Friday, February 28, 2003  

Now I'm thinking of Ada. When her husband tells Baines that he heard her unspoken words in his head - "I'm afraid of my will. I'm afraid of what it will do, it is so strange and strong. I have to go. Let me go," it sets up her rebirth with Baines - her will chooses life. I guess I'm thinking about what the will chooses, and why... or if that's all bullshit, and if it's really the heart that chooses.

My heart is really such a traitor to have chosen as it has; either that, or my will chooses the thing that some unconscious super-motive has. The thing of it is, that the current choice could not be less appropriate, or inexplicable to me. It is astonishing.

In The Piano Ada's will chooses silence and detachment, but her heart chooses Baines...

posted by ~ | 12:54 AM

Thursday, February 27, 2003  

I have a little dog, ladies and gentlemen. That little dog's name is Woodsy.

When we first got him, he was only a couple of months old, and being a chihuahua, he was especially tiny, soft and chocolate brown. Now, at four years old, he is still tiny, soft and chocolate brown, down to his adorable little nose, and all I can say is, who knew I could love a little dog so much?

posted by ~ | 10:35 PM

I've been thinking more about Isabel Archer. Not long ago, a debate raged briefly between my friend and I about the comparison of Isabel Archer, from Henry James's The Portrait of a Lady (as rendered in the film by Jane Campion), and Nora from Ibsen's A Doll's House. His contention was that the two characters are the same, and mine was that Isabel Archer is different through a stronger agency from the start.

Aside from the fact that he's flat out wrong, even just on the basic plot level - because Isabel returns to her oppressive husband and Nora leaves hers - one thing he said was of keen interest, and that was the notion of self-recognition in the works of literature we love most. I've been thinking about that. I've been thinking about what might be in Isabel that I can't admit, and what's in the neighborhood of my interest in it that could fall into the shadow... and here's what I think it is: All of Jane Campion's movies, and especially The Portrait of a Lady are about women who will not give their hearts. Ada, in The Piano has been silent since she was a child in an effort to keep her agency in a world that buys and sells her. Isabel Archer gives her heart to her cousin, Ralph, but only when he's dying - not the other 500 times she could have when he told her he loved her in a million ways, and in the end, her return to her husband and refusal of Mr. Goodwood are a return to her own sense of control; she is the mistress of her own fate. In Holy Smoke! the whole film comes to an emotional climax when Harevy Keitel writes "be kind" on her forehead, and she confesses that her greatest fear is that she is heartless.

But now, the question remains: what of Gilbert Osmond, and how did Isabel fall "absolutely in love" with him? Was it an act of will? I say it was - a sort of subconscious act of imagination, willed by her primary motivation, which is agency itself. She tricks herself - and her will and imagination, which are subject to that primary motive are stronger than any sense of conscious agency. Like Ada's will in the piano that drowns her, and then suprises her by choosing to live.

I remember being really shaken by Holy Smoke. I felt sick when she confesses that her greatest fear is that she is heartless. I remember not wanting my then-boyfriend to see the film, because it came too close to the bone, and I didn't want him to know me.

It's strange how some works of art are there just when you need them. U2's Achtung!, Jane Campion, Trent Reznor's full-bore meta-masculine angst... all there at just the right moment. Jane Campion's movies always mark the end of relationships for me; or rather, the moments when I KNOW that they will end.

posted by ~ | 2:06 PM

Sunday, February 23, 2003  

Outcome: #1. He was good. Delightful, even. Also, he was very sweet to me, which left me feeling full of warmth and affection. It was really interesting to see him in that environment, with people that he likes and respects. I also met his ex-wife, who was pleasantly suprising, in that she was clearly an active, intelligent woman; beautiful, but not at all like cotton candy. She wrote the script, which was smart, funny and generous about human beings. There was a beautiful line in the script: "she'd never asked him to change, because she never thought he would." That'll stay with me.

It was interesting watching him interact with his teacher - he was all respect and thoughtful listening. After the play, he asked her how he was, desirous of her approval. With the actresses he was vaguely predatory, and simultaneously condescending. His body is full of nervous energy, but he has good control. His voice was really nice, too. Also, (and here's where I'm really going to gush, so leave now if you can't stand it) he looked really handsome. The way his hair sweeps back over that high forehead, and his long neck... his neatness, and the clean soapy smell of his hair and skin when he hugs me are all contributing factors to why I can't really get over it. He is beautiful and I love him. He's really gotten under my skin just by being him, and now, as it often goes in such cases, he keeps getting more and more attractive.

Damn him!

There's really nothing I can do but ride it out.

posted by ~ | 1:46 AM

Thursday, February 20, 2003  

Some installments in the freaky self-protrait series...

posted by ~ | 8:31 AM

Wednesday, February 19, 2003  

This weekend, I am going to see someone I especially like read the lead in a play. To take that one step further, I will see the man who currently boils the blood take on the lead in a romantic comedy.

There are two possible outcomes here:

1. He will be a genius, and will conquer me even more than he already has. He will be funny, charming, in his element and still have that grody leathery skin, silly hairstyle and the tired eyes that crack me so, only I will be forced to add to them a sense that his talents and charms are even greater than I currently take them to be. If that happens, I will likely think of him 600 times per day and will lie in bed at night feeling the hours pass, and cursing the fact that he doesn't love me.

2. He will suck. I will enjoy it enormously in spite of the fact that he is cringe-worthy as an actor, but I will have a hard time disguising my sense of the hilarity of it all. I will be enormously entertained, but it will be like when I loved hair-metal videos in the 80's; I will be laughing at more than with. It most likely won't change the fact that those wrinkles in his forearms, along with the way he rubs his face and whines when he's desperate won't still have their pull, but it may be that his ramshackle charm will come into focus just that little bit more so that I can be one step closer to shaking it.

I'm not sure which outcome I prefer.

posted by ~ | 3:02 PM

Monday, February 17, 2003  

My little monkeys won the Valley of the Sun Stage Race this weekend! Go monkeys, go! It's especially good that they did manage it there, as the pressure is high for them to show themselves to be players, and ready to work hard for their leaders. It's encouraging, and I'm sure it gives them all a big boost.

I got a nice call from a cycling print mag today that wants me to start covering US races and athletes for them! Could be another good step on the road to actually being paid for my hobbies. One can hope.

In other news, I saw a delightful film with my son this weekend, Hiyao Miyazaki's Spirited Away. It was really beautifully dreamlike, in that the story is really non-linear and suprising, but has it's own internal logic the way a dream does. It was really chock-loaded with Jungian significance and felt really rich in that symbolic language. I really loved it, and my son did, too.

It was nice to have a weekeknd without too much packed in, and to spend some good time with my son. He is a very good little man. Things get a little wild sometimes, managing the life and what not, but it was nice to remember how sweet it is to be loved by him.

posted by ~ | 11:29 AM

Saturday, February 15, 2003  

I got a call from a very dearly beloved college friend last week. I have't seen him in a few years, and had lost track of his location, but he once lived at my house for a few months, and there's a polaroid of him on my refrigerator that has been there since then. Tall and lanky, with a head of brown curls that becomes more of an event the longer it gets, a wide, generous smile, he is dearly, fondly and frequently remembered for being the kind of person whose personality is so big, joyous and full of life that he lights up a room.

My best memory of him is a sadder moment from college, though.

I was walking between classes, and ran across him on a narrow pathway alongside the student union building. Right in the middle of a messy break up with my then husband, I was really beside myself about how I would manage my life and that of my two year old son on my 20 hours per week, $5.50 an hour workstudy job at the library. I was also in a state of complete panic about the whole concept of divorce. I had sworn to myself that I would never subject my child to the uncertainty and shiftlessness that I experienced as a child, and I was filled with a sense of dismal failure along with the certainty that there was no escape - my marriage could not survive.

It was in the midst of these considerations that I ran into Joe, who, with his usual sunniness, asked me how I was. I was bad. I felt like that expression of scratchy vulnerabilty was impossible to erase from my face. I was barely holding a socially acceptable presentation together, and it cracked me a little bit to have to answer as to how I was feeling. I told Joe that I wasn't so well. Things were tough.

He looked straight into my eyes, and said "I can see it; it's just under the surface, isn't it?"

Something about being seen like that, at that particular moment, touched me in a way that I have never forgotten, and I have always loved him because of that, and millions of other reasons. Later, we spent a lot of time together, eating Campbell's Tomato Soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, and laying on our backs on the floor of his apartment staring up at a zigzag of colored Christmas lights, listening to jazz and talking.

He called me last week to tell me that he is marrying a woman who teaches History to 9th graders. He lives in Seattle and works for a theater there. His voice on the phone is as endearing as it ever was, and he tells me that he and his fiancee want to have children as soon as ever they can. I'm so happy to hear from him, and to hear him so well...

...Only, I'm vaguely disappointed that now I will never be able to marry him myself!

posted by ~ | 9:10 PM

Friday, February 14, 2003  

Valentine's Day. I know there's no reason to feel more miserable than usual about my datelessness and the insane affection I feel for a certified very bad man, but I have to say, it does get me when all the migrant Mexican fruit sellers at every intersection trade in their oranges and peanuts for roses and little white teddy bears, and I know darned good and well that no one will be forking over five bucks to give me roadside flowers.

The best I can say for Valentine's Day this year is that my beloved ex-boyfriend went to an assembly at my son's school that I could not make and took beautiful pictures of my beautiful boy. Then, said boy told me that I was his Valentine, and gave me a lovely card made our of a red doilie with an cherub drawn on it that says "I love you, Mama." I guess it really could be worse.

Here are a few of the pictures. That ex of mine is a really good photographer!

I spoke at length to the king of evil today. He had all kinds of assignments for me, and complained about being overwhelmed with work, but he's right where he needs to be to be certain that he never experiences a moment of silence. I told him he was a jackass, and he told me that it took something special to pull off being a jackass.

Which is why I do love him so. That was my Valentine's Day sentiment which shall go no further than just here. I didn't mention it to him.

posted by ~ | 11:23 PM

Saturday, February 08, 2003  

Last night at bike camp. It's been interesting.

The boys here are charming - we even have two mute teenagers. One, truly unable to speak, and the other one a punk waiting to grow into his deep voice. He's one for the ladies.

A few interesting things happened this week - we did the chemistry experiment of mixing these egos together. It seems to be a success. We have a star, and I think we all wondered how he would be. The answer is, he's cautious, but nice. He needs the piss taken out of him every once in awhile, and he gets it, courtesy of the team smartass. It works. Overall, they're a nice bunch of guys.

More later.

posted by ~ | 8:44 PM

Wednesday, February 05, 2003  

It's been a long time since I've recorded anything here, and I plead absolutely insane busy-ness.

Here, though, is an article against the upcoming war with Iraq by the brilliant, the heroic, Jimmy Carter.

posted by ~ | 12:30 PM