Friday, August 12, 2005

The Muse Vulture and the Bliss of Subtly Allusioned Sex

This is what happens when you meet your deadline and you're sitting at your desk in a post-fallout torpor, like a sun gassed cat, surfing the Web. I fully disclose I found this book review by Sandra Tsing Loh through Mimi Smartypants this morning. The whole thing is faaaaaaaascinating.

This woman, Maria Housden, has written a memoir about her decision to leave her husband and two children because she needs to get with her inner creative slothmonkey. But there is a really sad part too, she is basically recounting the catalyst for all of this life change, and that is the death of her first daughter, Hannah, to cancer at age three (I don't even like typing that it's so sad). So it is a very prickly pear this. Very.

You would think it would be hard to tarnish such a fully loaded Oprah moment. And yet she does, but in a way that is so 1970's-softfocus-cheeseball-sunset-photocard that it is almost cathartic. Because there is the very sad aspect, and then there is the sidesplitting aspect. Like a plunge in a cool lake following a sauna or something.

The review is amazingly and insightfully written. Sandra Tsing Loh (where has SHE been all my life?) is a writer/performace artist/musician. Here's an excerpt of the review:

Enter, to the artists' retreat, Roger Housden -- English writer, photographer, and explorer of such exotic places as Africa and India. Although he's fifty-three and she's thirty-five, the two speak a similar metaphysical language. He is given to utterances like "Beauty, Beauty, you are the sun." And later, when he asks in wonder, "Who are you?," she elatedly replies, with typical Boomer math, "I am the second half of your life." Roger exudes boyishness and a kind of heady European sophistication; personal details given include both that he wears clogs and has a medicine kit containing Eternity cologne and a tiny bottle of tea-rose oil. Often seen sweaty and wearing only running shorts, he is described rapturously as having a "mossy, musky" scent.
Here is an except of the memoir, Unraveled:

Soft, moist mouths, bellies rising and falling, swollen, oozing, trembling, I had felt my heart, petal by petal, gently opening. I had been both in my body and outside it as he entered me, as we stared into each other, eyes wide open. "We are there," he had whispered, his eyes filling with tears. Later, he had gradually unwound his body from our embrace and, kneeling at the foot of the bed, pressed his hands together in a posture of prayer, then lifted and kissed my feet.

She came back from the writer's retreat and left her kids, giving her ex-husband full custody with summer rights for her. This brings up many issues. Yes it does. First of which is, "kissed my feet"???????? Gross! Sex buzz kill if there ever was one. Oh yeah, and abandoning your family for your muse. The stress of the 21st century mommysaurus. I know a little bit about that. And sometimes in the dark heart of my brittle vile insanity, when I think about how nice it would be to actually be in a round rubber room with my arms strapped securely to my being, I think: could I leave my family for a month* and go to a writer's colony? I think, is it because I have three children eight and under and a ball-busting full time job the reason why I have not written TGAN? Here's what I tell myself: no excuses. It's the Nike defense--just do it. And I get back up on the pony and guide him over the jump again.

This does not make me a better person than the petal opening foot fetishista, in all seriousness. OK, maybe it does make me a better person. Because MZA just called me and we are out of swim diapers and I need to leave a little early so we can pick them up on the way to the pool ce soir. So I can't finish this post with all of its unresolved post-feminist dilemmas. Chalk it up to Swimpers.

*Note: a month, not forever with an option for summer months

And finally, this moment brought to you by e.e.cummings (as a way to cleanse the cheeseball 1970's sunset photocard musky moment above):

...meanwhile my

self etcetera lay quietly
in the mud et

cetera, of
Your smile
eyes knees and of your Etcetera)


Cynicism is another word for reality

Email me, you derelict wastrel

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