Monday, January 19, 2009

found random periodicals

I've decided that the key to happiness is cleaning out and moving back into my office.

I am sorting one of the many boxes left over from clearing out my mother's apartment in New York City. (I did so in May 2008; I have not really dealt with this stuff yet.) A few boxes were tossed into my office -- which became a dumping ground over the last two years.

Cleaning, clearing, sorting...

When in her apartment, I found and packed five periodicals from the 1970s, among many items. These were neatly placed in the most remote bottom corner of the wall o' bookshelves in the hallway.

I have no idea why my mother saved them, and, if she saved them for some important reason, why she did not take them to Sydney when she moved. But I saved them anyway. I almost threw them into the recycling today. But I can't.

She kept:

1. Scientific American, Volume 229, Number 5, November 1973.

2. Scientific American, Volume 229, Number 3, September 1973.

3. Bananas, Number 10, Spring 1978.

4. New York Arts Journal, April-May #9, [no year noted].

5. Desire, Pilot Issue, [no year noted].

I also have in hand two prepacked collections of literary caricatures, copyrighted 1964 and 1965, by David Levine from The New York Review of Books. Added to these folders are other Levine caricatures that she clipped herself throughout the 1960s.

I am so, so curious. I feel compelled to read them.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

the crux of the matter

Okay. If I am going to write, then I must eventually write about when I was 16 years old and lived in Sydney for six months. But I avoid this topic. Completely. Until now. Don’t expect anything that is earth shattering – I think it was only so for me. I’ve blocked out a lot of the memories; this is going to take some work.

So many BIG THINGS revolved around this event.

First, I begged my mother to move there. She was Australian. I am half Australian. I was unhappy. My mother must have wanted to move there too. But I begged, cried. So I think the whole move is emblematic of how my mother was so understanding and supportive. We moved in January 1988 (unless it was December – can’t recall).

Second, I had spent the summer of 1987 in Sydney, visiting my friend K’s high school. I thought I fell in love with a boy (who turned out to be a boring stoner). So, my boy-crazy nature drove my “grass is greener” thoughts.

Third, my father had remarried and my stepmother was pregnant. I don’t remember associating this with my desire to move, but it must have been, right? I became no longer an only child (while I was in Sydney). AND, this whole move made my father so mightily angry at my mother (and me – I remember him saying, “You are a scared person, just like your mother.”).

Fourth, I was in my junior year in high school. Every year I seemed to go through some kind of “run away” scenario. For example, in tenth grade, I wanted to drop out (silly girl).

That’s all I can write about this for now. But I do know that if that book is going to get written – for some gut reason – I need to write about this first.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Joanne Harris and Radiohead, random

(A disclaimer: I have no in-depth knowledge of either Joanne Harris or Radiohead.)

I listened to the rebroadcast Diane Rehm's interview of Joanne Harris on January 4, 2009. I have not read Harris' Chocolat (though the movie is quite good), and I know little about the author. But I listened anyway -- on the little radio in the bathroom while a took a shower.

A pair of red shoes figure in Harris' new novel, The Girl with No Shadow, a sequel to Chocolat. Rehm asks why a love of shoes and chocolate is associated with women. Harris answers that both are associated with magic, transformation (which does not quite address the woman connection, but anyway...). I especially liked how she described an irrational shoe-associated belief: if she could find the perfect pair of shoes, she would be transformed. I cannot remember her exact words. But I definitely recognized the idea. I am always on a shoe search. I think the perfect pair of shoes would perfect me, or my look -- so I suppose I understand that irrational belief.

I listened to another rebroadcast of a Radiohead interview on Sound Opinions on December 26, 2008 (as a podcast -- the show is not, as far as I know, broadcast on a local public radio station). I have enjoyed some Radiohead tunes, but I am no expert on the band. But I listened to the entire interview while I did a spinning routine (on a stationary bike, you know...)

Discussing how they record songs in the studio, the band members explained that they record a song, playing together, once (they may even videotape the performance). They don't listen to it until much later -- maybe months later -- and then they can rework it. This is instead of playing it piece by piece, working on one song for days or weeks in the studio, until it is perfected (there's that "perfected" theme again). They said the latter method makes them lose all perspective. The former gives perspective and helps them work together and see the big picture. Again, while I can't remember their exact words, I recognized this way of working -- similar to how I write. I put a bunch of stuff (ah, "bunch of stuff" -- eloquent) down -- often messy -- then polish later when I have had some time away.

These are my random thoughts for the day. Have a good night.

Monday, January 05, 2009

how to get ready for the playground

Actual sequence of events in a 15-minute period yesterday:

1. Make coffee to take to the playground (it's cold out there and I'm tired)
2. Grab a water bottle and snacks for Isaac (that he probably won't eat)
3. Get Isaac's coat and shoes on (a comination of nagging and doing it for him)
4. Let wildly barking dog outside, where he continues to bark
5. Get my own coat and shoes on
6. Go to the bathroom (in the basement, because our upstairs one is being redone) and check if Isaac needs to go ("no")
7. Let dog in
8. Put dog in the crate in the basement because he is covered in dirt (I'll clean him later -- we're trying to get out the door here)
9. Hear a crash while I am in the basement that sounds like my insulated and very full coffee mug hitting the hardwood
10. Run up the steps and yell at Isaac because coffee -- all of it -- has spread across the floor and spilled over my comfy flip flops
11. Clean up coffee and flip flops
12. Apologize to Isaac because the spill was an accident (anyway, I need to stop yelling)
13. Teach Isaac to say "I accept your apology"
14. Make a new cup of coffee
15. Go to the playground

Sunday, January 04, 2009

possible new direction

New year, possible new direction. Since I have not posted in a long time -- perhaps I need inspiration. I can't always write about my children, running, and my mother. I mean, blah, blah, blah. Enough.

I am thinking of posting and commenting on articles interesting to me (but of course -- and so original -- can you feel the sarcasm?). But these articles (the few I get to read) sometimes catch my attention because they are about interesting women, or some topic connected to feminism, or even about medieval topics (that old educational interest of mine) -- though sometimes they are random. I have one in hand about what people's things say about them (more on that later). I have files of clipped articles (both actual, yellowing newspaper pages and digital ones on my hard drive). I swear it is a family trait to save such things.

For today, the one article I have read in the Sunday New York Times was about Saturday Night Live's Kristen Wiig. I love her. She's one of those bright, very cool women. And I like that she describes herself as shy. My favorite quote: When asked about fellow female comediennes, Wiig replies, "Why can't there be a lot of great women who are doing great things?" She sounds like someone you'd want to hang out and relax with.
(I should have more to say. Ah, well. Just enjoy the read.)

(And I'm sure I will post more about children, running, and my mother.)