Monday, April 24, 2006

Orgasms and Ectoplasms

Lying in bed this morning—that sort of cotton encased post sleep, with a slightly increased heart rate—the dream patches through...heavy dream—my white coffee mug in a corner and a cat that is fascinated with what’s inside. Someone pulls out the contents—it’s the decapitated head of another cat.

Lying on side in bed, eyes open: Uh-oh.


Like, this one might be more than Dr. Freud can handle.

Then I thought about how you make a pin prick in each side of an egg and blow the contents out through one of the holes and I thought, that is like a metaphor for having your soul sucked out of your system.

Because, really, who doesn’t think of the ectoplasm of the soul as having the opaque gelatinous consistency of an egg white?

Then I thought about intangibles and onomatopoeia and how words like ectoplasm and orgasm end the same way. They start off really strong, with o-r-g-a and then they disrupt and dissolve into a Zen-like chant word—“zum,” as though the word just has to concede that there is no sound to adequately describe the rest of the word. Orga-zummmmmmmm. Ectopla-zummmmmmm.

Then I thought about people who either say or imply that they would never have the time to write one of these websites. Which always amuses me. It’s such an American thing, really, to lord your lack of time over people. As though a person with three kids and a full time job and bla bla bla has random oodles of time to maintain a website.

For me this is a matter of survival—not unlike a man on a desert island sending out messages in a bottle.

C’est moi.

I feel compelled to do this in that same way. For that Ernest Hemingway writerly reason, yeah, like must write every day, yeah yeah yeah. Virginia Woolf and her little writer’s hut out in the back. THAT sort of thing.

But, and I have really analyzed this, I wonder about why so many people, women in particular, feel compelled to record everything, like with the scrapbooking and these websites and stuff.

I think it’s related to 9/11 somehow, even though I don’t like to invoke 9/11 because I believe it’s sacred—the memory of it, since it represents so many lives.

I just wondered about it and about Pompeii and Hiroshima and whole places that have been buried or blown apart and obliterated and what people come back to when they study the detritus from those holocausts is the every day—what people were doing, what they hoped for, who they loved, what kinds of utensils they used.

Write what you know.

I want to know what people know. I want to hear confessions. I want to feel better or uncomfortable or relieved or in collusion with others—it’s good to know there is a common experience going on all the time, in small towns and on farms and in big cities. It’s good to know there are some connections—among strangers, among all of us.

I’m going on a business trip for the next couple of days and I’m a little bit scared, if you want to know the truth. I can’t help it. I am just a little bit scared. To take my ectoplasm out of the thin but secure shell of my family. Just felt a massive surge of love.

I got to spend the past five days with them. I took three days off last week—took Nick on a picnic in sun dappled Rock Creek Park with another mommy and kids from his school. It smelled like Washington. It smelled like high school and decaying leaves and the salt and silt from the creek and the damp undergrowth beneath rocks and fried chicken and sneakers.

By Day Four of my sojourn MZA said, “You seem so much happier.”

I felt like I was feeling things in a primary sense, and not just through the scrim of a church confessional. There wasn’t a filter—the filter of trying to feel life through the bubble of obligation and routine.

I made a compilation CD last night. It was so fun. Except I had a slight feeling that I was making a time capsule of who I was in that instant, much as this website is. The CD started with The Beautiful South singing a cover of the theme song to “Midnight Cowboy,” "Everybody’s Talkin’ at Me” (I can’t hear a word they’re saying) and ends with a song from Billy Bragg and Wilco’s album, “Mermaid Avenue,” that puts Woody Guthrie’s lost songs to music. “Birds and Ships” is the song.

Driving into work this morning I thought about love. All the way in.


Cynicism is another word for reality

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