Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Other illustrious authors included in the volume are: Wendi Kaufman, of The Happy Booker fame, Sarah Louise Williams--a brilliant writer, and the genteel Kate Blackwell. The anthology was lovingly pulled together and edited by DC literary LEGEND Richard Peabody. Join the fun!
Love and Rockets,
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
THIS HAS BEEN SO FUN!
Do I sound like a yearbook soundbite?
But it has.
I started this as a way to keep some form of creativity in my life when I was living through very stressful job times. For me, it's been the best exercise in being able to dream up things, notice things, ruminate, and then formulate something--usually a piece of my heart--and put it out into the world.
Now things are converging (colliding?) and it feels like all these swirling thoughts and ideas need to become more focused and coherent--and I need to obfuscate the details and wrap them in a net of fiction again.
Two cool things happened this month. A couple of weeks ago I was at the printer's looking at final proofs of a 130 page publication I've been working on for six months. It's so cool and, if I could, I would so put the link here. It's all about women taking care of themselves and taking care of others. That same week my editor on an anthology of short stories by DC area women sent me the galleys of my short story to review before the book comes out next month.
I was simultaneously reviewing a work publication (that I had honestly put my heart and part of my soul in), as well as this story that reaches deep. It felt a little bit like the epiphaneous, mythical, simultaneous O sequence in Lady Chatterly's Lover. You know, on that professional and personal level.
I'm glad I'm ending things talking about orgasms, aren't you?
I think what happened was, I recognized a dovetail--the two warring factions of my life, work and art (if I can call it that), came together in this symbolic helix for me, and I took it as a sign. A sign of precisely what I have yet to determine, but I felt the first step was to turn this page, and then a few others, and see what happens.
I am still going to READ everyone's website and post long nonsensical comments. 'K?
Thanks so much for coming here and reading and for being so kind and supportive.
Saturday, May 20, 2006
Ian's Cooking Show
In his best Julia Child trill, "Today we're making GOLDFISH. In juice!" Translation: poisson d'or au jus!
Brother Nick, home on a half day, signals his gastronomic approval! Bon appetit! |
Friday, May 19, 2006
Spring is the Cruellest Month
Thursday, May 18, 2006
The Diasporic 1980's Film Festival, with a Special Tribute to Frank Capra
But seriously, this morning, as I lay abed thinking about what to write, something kept moving me toward The Diasporic 1970’s Film Festival. WHICH IS SO AMAZING because, if you’ll recall, it was my discussion with a colleague about her dissertation on Capra's It’s a Wonderful Life that got the whole diasporic film thing going. Kismet, or just plain ouiji board manifest film destiny? You decide.
First off, we’ll have to adjust the genre, and I know how you hate adjusting the genre. It is going to have to be the 1980’s Diasporic Film Festival, followed by an homage to our diasporic boyfriend Frank Capra.
Sharpen your pencils.
The other night MZA and I watched An Officer and a Gentleman because it was on PBS, for God’ sake, BECAUSE it is so damn old it is a classic worthy of viewing on federally funded TV. Sigh. Joints creak.
An Officer and a Gentleman came out in 1982 when I was…um, 19. Do the math because you’re not getting me to spit out my current age anymore. I’m going all Blanche DuBois these days and will only be viewed through a paper lantern scrim. Pass me a lemon Coke.
ANYWAY, I was 19 and so back then we were all in a tizz over the scrumptiousness of Richard Gere and our main focus was a) she’s ON TOP? How embarrassing! And b) did they really “do it” on the set? HOW EMBARRASSING!
Yes, these were the pressing intellectual concerns gracing my somewhat innocent Polly Purebred mind. However this time, I had my mind out of the gutter and I was far more focused on what an AMAZING performance Mr. Gere was giving and also how unbelievably sexy and scrumptious and sinuous he was.
ALSO, please see Lou Gossett, Jr. in a performance so tight and smoking and taught and killer that you'll need a Valium from the intensity. Don Cheadle is the only man to come along in a long time to match that intensity and thespic skill. Additionally, I was quite impressed with the atmospherics of the film—it conveyed the time, place and the particular salty, slightly seedy, company townishness of the Navy base in Washintgon state.
There, that concludes this portion of the Diasporic 1980’s Film Festival.
Let us now honor Frank Capra. Happy Birthday, Mr. Capra!
My favorite Capra film is You Can’t Take it With You. That also happens to be one of my favorite plays. It was written by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman and I saw the play at Arena Stage when I was 16 and it had this really weird effect on me, in that I wanted to crawl onstage and become a part of this obliviously wacky family. I wanted that chaotic absurd madcap acceptance of all things abnormal kind of life. I WANTED IT SO BADLY.
Of course now I understand that as a teen (read: OUTCAST) it was probably very reassuring to watch a family of kooks embrace all of their kookiness so lovingly and unquestioningly. Kind of like the Munsters Effect, you know? Like we’re perfectly normal, what’s wrong with YOU?
That is a theme that plays out in a LOT of sitcoms (which owe a lot to the wackiness of plays like You Can’t Take it With You and that whole genre)—the wacked out family that ends up freaking out all the “normal” people and it turns out the “normal” people are just freaks anyway. There was The Addams Family, Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, My Favorite Martian, etc. The message was: Celebrate the Freak.
Hmm, maybe I should write a dissertation on how Frank Capra, far from being a director about the diaspora, was really a CHAMPION OF THE FREAK. I have got to stop re-writing everyone’s dissertation! For the love of Pete!
What he truly accomplished was a gentle and respectful representation of the improbable—an angel trying to get his wings, a family of kooks with a delusional daughter in a ballet costume (we’re ALL about delusional dames in ballet costumes here at Zeldafitz) and an everyman who storms Washington with beliefs—yeah, yeah here is where I’m supposed to say that’s the most improbable of all. There, I said it. He also directed It Happened one Night with Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable and lemme just say, it’s very titillating! Indeedy, who knew there was such sexual tension going on back then! It is, again, about misfits, unlikely bedfellows and improbable events.
Frank Capra, far from being the patron saint of idyllic picket fence America, saw further into our eccentric hearts and directed films about our most essential and endearing traits—our undying belief in the rewards of being a good person and the esoteric patchwork of nuttiness that makes a person real, and not just a shell of projected normality.
Close your notebooks class, go out and jump over a white picket fence and then reach into your pocket to see if those petals you thought you dreamt about are still there… |
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Happy Anniversary to...Zeldafitz!!!!
For the uninitiated, the key word analysis shows the words people punch into a search engine, that direct them to your site. They type in these enigmatic queries, and somehow the words match well enough with a part of your own content.
I love how this one panned out:
I drive barefoot,
She made him wear a silky dress with a zipper--
War’s impact on individuals.
Cocteau Twins/Betty Blue, Acapella Dave Matthews,
On the floating/shapeless oceans/I did all my best to smile/’til your singing eyes and fingers…
Depression is nine-tenths of the law.
I think that sums up the year nicely and cryptically, just as I would have it.
Oh, there's that li'l inner hippie (barefoot Woodstock sprite)...
Saturday, May 13, 2006
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!!!
It took me about half an hour to transform myself from Lon Chaney mode:
Into Perfect Exuberant Springtime Selfless Volunteer Mommy.
I was wearing my stock “springtime” pink tie dyed tunic from last year’s Old Navy collection, jeans and some very “cute” turquoise Old Navy flip flops with a psychedelic pattern on the footbed. Basically, I looked like I just walked off the set of “Hair.” Because that’s what I think a Catholic school mommy should look like.
After the screams of, “Look! It’s a DEMOCRAT!” died down, I got to work manning a blue plastic pond, with glass beads at the bottom and a passel of hard plastic, slightly grungy, duckies floating in it.
When I got there, the mom who explained the duck pond to me said, “This one is really easy!”
At which point my heart sank, because I knew somehow I wouldn’t understand the rules and kids would be waiting in a long line, tapping their feet saying, “This mom sucks! The duck pond was way better LAST YEAR!”
For ONCE, I actually “caught on” to the rules of the game, because even a dead clown could have figured it out. Kids have to give one ticket and then they get to “pick a duckie.” The grungy duckies have numbers SHARPIED onto them and the kid gets a prize from a corresponding numbered bucket. I was ready to go!
But then no kids came and I thought, “Uh oh, I am manning the LOSER TABLE. No one will come to my event. I will be standing here, at the edge of the blacktop, while kids joyously choose other games.”
It’s lonely at the ducky pond, lemme tell ya.
That is, until all the Vegas gambling nocturnal vampire kids come out of the woodwork. You should see these kids! The ones that get hooked, I mean, on that fickle bitch “chance.”
Little girls clutched their tickets (please see: life savings, in the future) and bit their lower lips as they advanced toward the aquamarine baccarat table.
“Four again! But I don’t LIKE lollypops!”
Tough shit kid, that’s the luck of the dice.
Does anyone else out there get really irritated with kids who instantly want to bend the rules? BECAUSE I DO.
This was also an object lesson in what it feels like to have a menial job that is frequented by slightly spoiled, middle class, entitled kids. Because when you’re manning a duck pond, you are suddenly in the same social stratosphere as a carnival barker and so suddenly “Nick’s mom” is lost behind the barriers of class, socio-economics and all the other invisible (and sometimes visible) social strata that are in place in our society.
I loved looking at their faces through this mask. I was wearing sunglasses, which helped with the illusion. Only one little girl, that I observed, figured out which duck to choose to get the coveted number 2 basket prizes. Most of the kids really were shooting the moon—betting, hoping on the fates to shine down on them, each time, and deliver the prize they coveted the most.
My initial fears that I would be manning the “Loser Table” soon evaporated into a sea of hopeful faces, waiting in line, “ONE AT A TIME,” and waiting for their shot at Lady Luck.
One thing I have noticed, with increasing sadness about myself as a mother, is that I am not the “cool” mom. I am not the “nice” mom. I am not the mom-whose-house-you-want-to-hang-out in. I think I have become the kind of adult I didn’t like as a kid and I never wanted to be.
BECAUSE I AM A BITCH!
There, I said it. I’m just not Warm Squishy Mom. Dammit. I want to be, sometimes, but it’s just too damn counterintuitive to my nature.
When I was a kid, in the Pleistocene era, I remember when sometimes kids would be mean to me and my sister, who is 11 years older than I am, would say, “Kids are just small adults.” Sadly, it’s true.
Basically, to be any good at dealing with kids, you have to suspend that knowledge and pretend that kids are sunny, sugar-sweetened, innocent, little tabula rasas. But they’re not. They’re just little people, hard wired with all the manipulation and vices as the next person. Oh, proportionally they are more innocent, but the groundwork is there.
The whole time I was manning the booth, I tried to scan the blacktop and neighboring field to see if I could see Nick, so we could lock eyes and he could revel in the wondrousness of having a Participating Mommy.
I finally saw him, amid all the running and screaming kids. It’s really weird how your own child just sort of parts the Red Sea—you can always make out their particular countenance among the throngs.
It made me think of the day he was born when the doctor held him up triumphantly and my sister said, “It’s a BOY!” Right then and there, I saw his profile and it was permanently etched on my retina—the profile of my first-born son.
Later that night, I got up from my hospital bed—you know how you are completely transformed—like you’ve just been through this thing and then you are alone and you wander, butt flying in the wind in a hospital gown, pulling an IV on wheels beside you, down to the nursery and there, amid all the red pruny faces, the beacon of your own baby’s face shines itself out toward you, through the glass.
That’s what it was like when I saw him again yesterday, in his blue and gold shorts (school colors) with a Long Beach East Coast surf shirt. My son, with more of a defined, confident stride than when he was little—this lovely insouciance about him, carrying a blue plastic ball with stylized Hawaiian flowers on it.
After the carnival was over, I wrapped up my table—a little girl helped me scoop up all the glass beads because she liked immersing her hands in the water. Her mother waited impatiently on the side and the little girl said, “I’m helping!” And I said, from deep inside my cryptic heart, “You’re a BIG helper!”
I emptied the duck pond and put all the supplies next to the organizer’s minivan. I went inside to fetch Nick from his classroom. His teacher was there. I LOVE Nick’s teacher. Like, from the bottom of my heart. She has been The Inspiring Teacher that Totally Gets Your Kid. I think you get that once in your kid’s life. Maybe twice.
I cried during our parent teacher conference (as I have for every single parent teacher conference I’ve ever had for Nick—I know, FRUITCAKE) because she looked at me and said, “I’ve been wanting to meet you.” UH OH, that’s when the floodgates began—inside—I managed to escape pretty much without the full waterworks. She looked at me so intently and talked about Nick so clearly, and so lovingly. Well, it killed me. In a good way. She hugged me that day when I left.
Yesterday she got up and hugged me again—really tight—and she whispered, “Happy Mother’s Day,” as I melted in her warm embrace, in front of the entire third grade.
I said, as I squeezed her back, “Happy Mother’s Day to you.” I thought I might never let her go.
Afterwards, Nick looked at me sort of amazed. Because I’m not exactly the kind of person people feel comfortable broaching and embracing, as you may have discerned.
My stint as an anonymous carnival barker was over. I was back in the fold of being Nick’s mom—that cranky bitch!
We walked through the halls together and I felt, somehow, slightly less anomalous. |
Cynicism is another word for reality