Archive for the ‘ Current Obsessions’ Category

Slow Burn…

Posted on July 18, 2009

It is ever so human, this scene…

This scene, is actually not a ’scene’ at all; rather two seperate works by Argentinian painter Fabian Perez.

Either way, I am wholly enchanted by his work, as of late.

I find his portraiture incredibly lusty and desirous and filled with emotional tension…

“It just seems natural. You and me against the world…” ~ Chuck Palahniuk

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The Caterpillar took the hookah out of its mouth…

Posted on March 28, 2009

One of 'those' girls...

One of 'those' girls...

“Since then it’s been a book you read in reverse so you understand less as the pages turn.
Or a movie so crass and awkwardly cast, that even I could be the star.”
The Shins

Tonight I turned 23. Was it my birthday?
Nope.
Am I Benjamin Button?
Nope.
But tonight, I remembered exactly how shitty it felt to be categorized as completely common and banal by someone who you would’ve categorized as just that.
And the worst of it comes when you must reckon with the fact that this person is somehow correct…that part really sucks.

I invited a friend to join me for dinner. She accepted and then invited me to join some friends at a bar on the Upper East Side for drinks. I accepted.
At some point, I stepped outside for a cigarette with a chap I’d been casually chatting with.

I’d kicked this habit, but during a recent bout with loathing and loneliness in Vegas, I’d turned back to it, though I swear its only brief interlude within this wholly clean life that I am 1000 percent dedicated to…
He lights mine and as we exhale he says, “I’m surprised you don’t smoke 100’s. You strike me as a 100’s girl.”
I give him a look that he certainly cannot read in the darkness.
“These are 100’s,” I reply, already not wholly comfortable with the direction in which this conversation is headed.
Silence.
He: “You also seem like someone who would smoke out of one of those holders like Johnny Depp in that Vegas movie.”
Me: I used to. Before I quit.
He: You haven’t quit
Me: Not in this moment, no.
Then, unable to hide my disgust for his ignorant degradation of one of the all time great doctors of writing, I offhandedly state, “And I believe you are referring to the film based on the great Dr. Hunter S. Thompson’s work of the same name, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.”
He: OK. Sorry about that (he’s not), I didn’t mean to insult you. You remind me of that uppity, over-thinking Caterpillar in ‘Alice in Wonderland.’
This guts me, in spite of myself.
Is he trying to be impressive? Is he just a dick?
I look around for someone I know, hoping for a constant…someone to justify this seriously bizarre scenario.
There is no one.
Me: Actually, I have more of an Alice thing. Though the Caterpillar represents some significantly heavy shit as well.
He: Well, that’s a bit narcissistic…do you have to be the lead character in the story?
Me: It is very narcissistic. I’m very narcissistic.
He mentally sizes me up, and then continues on about how he and his ‘boys’ saw ‘that movie’ (I assume that he’s back to the ‘Depp movie about Vegas’) and now they constantly IMDB quotes from it, and text them to one another.
And while I know I shouldn’t allow a 29 year old man-child I’ve briefly met in a dive bar on the Upper East Side, make me feel ‘average,’ he most definitely does.
Because this obtuse being who mistook Depp for Thompson, sort of figured me out.
Actually, he nailed me point for point. I’m not taking it well and I’m not taking it lightly.
I wonder how many other uppity, narcissistic, hypocritical girls are in this bar at this very moment.
I wonder if that group of girls in the corner wildly singing ‘Paradise by the Dashboard Light’ also consider themselves ‘introspective and artistic.’
I want to be anywhere but here.

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However Shall I Be the Queen of New Year’s Eve With No Sleep??!!

Posted on December 31, 2008

Can\'t Stop It...

I lie in bed fully awake and restless. I am trying not to move and adjust too much as I know it’ll disturb him and then there will be two of us feeling as I do…frustrated with me and my mind. My brain seems not to demand nearly as much of me during waking hours as it does in the blackness of night. My thoughts drift through time. Seamlessly blending what was, what is, what could be…

I give in.

I now sit in the living room as the nascent daylight plots its daily coup against the night. Almost imperceptible in this moment, but the clouds are tinged slightly orange and I’ve seen enough city dawns to know that signifies roughly 45 minutes till the city is bathed in the glow of a new day.

For now, I stare at the water. Smooth. Slow moving. Regal, even. The first Ferry boat floats by and I notice that its reflection mirrors on the water and gives it a decidedly ethereal appearance.

This is not good. I am thinking too much. Assuming. Hoping. Trying. Hunting for belief in a mind that isn’t sure that there is even value in such nonsense.

I realize I speak far less than I used to. Verbally, anyway. I am just not sure that what I am saying could possibly be expressed in the way that I need it to be, so I choose not to say it at all. It’s better that way. When I do express and it inevitably gets fucked up, I find myself here. On the couch. Watching the daybreak. Going over. And over. Again.

I try not to highlight books during a first read through. Though it may be argued that the phrases and paragraphs that zing you from the get-go deserve notation, I mostly reserve that honor for a second go-round. I have been unable to adhere to my own rules in the case of Capricorn. At this juncture, I wonder if the whole exercise is futile, considering that my highlights span 90 percent the first hundred pages.

As to what happened…

“Everything that happens, when it has significance, is in the nature of contradiction. Until the one for whom this is written came along, I imagined that somewhere outside, in life, as they say, lay the solution to all things. I thought, when I came upon her, that I was seizing hold of life, seizing hold of something I could bite into. Instead, I lost hold of life completely. I reached out for something to attach myself to… and I found nothing. But in reaching out, in the effort to grasp, to attach myself, left high and dry as I was, I nevertheless found something I had not looked for…myself.” ~Henry Miller “Tropic of Capricorn”

The day has dawned a gnarly gray. I kind of love it. The clouds move just a bit too quickly through the sky and I watch the helicopters land across the water. There is nowhere I can go from here. Not now, anyway. Sadly, my bed won’t have me (or is it I who won’t have it?) and if I see one more infomercial, I may physically cry, so it is here that I remain. Watching the clouds. Seeking the discovery. Highlighting that which appears significant.

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The Year of the…

Posted on December 28, 2008

I defy you, "Definition"

I defy you, "Definition"

When do we decide a year is “good?” At what point does it get “tagged?”
I mean, I clearly know that 1998 was a mixed bag. ‘04 was so-so. ‘05 was hazy. ‘06 was better than most. And so it goes…

Still, I’m not sure if I am ready to label 2008 yet. And with 2009 only days away, I feel like I should be nearer to some semblance of summation. Yet, I still feel like this one could go either way. Loose ends abound.
Old thoughts recently revived and still incubating…not yet fully boiled. Not ready for confrontation or consumption, let alone conclusion.

And what shall I make of this unrelenting need to analyze in the first place? The ending of the calendar year is but a date among many thousands I have and will experience in this lifetime. Aside from the searing pride I obviously feel that the Earth has once again managed to circle the sun without major incident, there is no reason that December 31, 2008 should be any different than January 1, 2009.

Except that it is.
Shunning the demands of society and its expectation of propriety is one thing.
But it is oddly more challenging to eschew the notion that we must resolve and determine and let go and begin, simply because the calendar dictates that we ought to.

I’ve always been good with analogies. I love to make that which is incongruous somehow fit. I like to fill in the blanks. I thrive on it, in fact.
_______ is to _______ as _______ is to ________

Intrepid is to Insolent as Valiant is to Maverick
Evolution is to Life as Loiter is to Demise

And while that was hugely enjoyable, I am still no closer to placing the necessary closure on 2008.
Furthering my conundrum is the fact that my inability to place appropriate adjectives on the past 365 days is not due to inaction. To the contrary, this year has presented plentiful fodder for exam. I just feel unwilling. Because I know that what’s next is big. And no amount of intellect and qualifying and quantifying can make big feel small. Or easy.
Then again, I’m not much for small. Or easy.

Hold your breath.
Cannonball.

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Dear Capricorn, I’m Ready Now…

Posted on December 26, 2008

Thanks for the Madness, Miller.

Thanks for the Madness, Miller.

I probably owe her an apology. I am a thief in all regards (some more offensive than others) but the habitual and effronterous pilfering of literary works from my mothers collection, seems to render me more than a little impenitent. I suppose it could be worse. I could’ve pinched those rotten little Xanax.

Alas, I’m back on the Miller. Not actually all that dissimilar to the HST and Emerson I’ve been devouring as of late. Yes, these three mad geniuses forever hold my heart and my mind (which I am realizing are not mutually exclusive.)

Like all great loves, these men gut me and spin me and leave me examining and questioning and breathlessly begging for more. They make me die just a little at the end of each adventure together as I boldly prepare for the next time we’ll meet.
The singular aspect of my Miller love that differentiates itself from my love of the Others, is intimacy.

I’ve been to his house in Big Sur.
Somewhere a photo exists of me donning his signature brown beret he acquired in Paris during his escapades in the 30’s. I wasn’t supposed to touch the display in the museum, but I had to have that shot. I’d hoped his genius might seep into my brains. I may have just picked up the madness. Still, I’ll take what I can get.
I read Cancer on a cliff in Monterrey as the sun went down.
I remember looking up and glimpsing my mother looking remarkably beautiful with the late day sun shining through her freckles and turning her hair just a little redder. Her eyes were closed and I knew she was etching that feeling into her being to draw upon in harder times. I knew because that is exactly what I do. She looked so peaceful on that cliff. I immediately felt deep remorse for my actions.
I hadn’t wanted to go on that trip. And until that moment, I hadn’t let her forget it.

So now I’m onto Capricorn. I read Cancer twice (with nothing between…rapid succession, right in a row) and attempted Capricorn just after. But… it wasn’t Cancer. Five years had elapsed for Miller. One week had elapsed for me. I just wasn’t there.
I’m there now. It’s been seven years since that Californian Coastal adventure with my Mom and one day since my shameless thievery of her mysteriously unread copy of the second Tropic book. Mysterious only because I happen to know that she’s read that book more than a dozen times. I am choosing to believe that the like new copy was waiting for me. Purposefully or otherwise.
I’m about 30 pages in. I already know that I’m going to die a little more than usual when it ends. I am haunted by his ghost. Consumed by his madness.

I sit rejoicing in the repose of my life. Recovering from the experiment in lunacy that is the Holidays.
They live in a 1950’s Cape Cod surrounded by imposing trees which seem to threaten to crush the dwelling each time the breeze kicks up even a little. And the wind chimes. Dear God, are they creepy… My mother has developed one of those odd obsessions with collecting a chime from the small coastal towns they visit. There are at least 7 hanging on the wooden porch and I cannot help but feel that they sound like the not so clever “uh-oh tone” of a novice sound designer in an old horror film.

I know that it hasn’t too much to do with me. I am fortunate to have ability to dip in and out as I choose. Still, I do think that six adults, three dogs, two children, and several elephants in one room might overwhelm even the most unflappable among us.

“Nurtured all year then pressed in a book
Or displayed in bad taste at the table
Problems arise and you fan the fire
While there’s a wild pack of dogs loose in your house tonight.
Cut from bad cloth or soiled like socks
Add it up and basically people never change.” ~The Shins “Pressed in a Book”

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“Build, therefore, your own world…”

Posted on December 5, 2008

Enlightened or Simply Foolish?

Enlightened or Simply Foolish?

“So shall we come to look at the world with new eyes… Build, therefore, your own world. As fast as you conform your life to the pure idea in your mind, that will unfold its great proportions. A correspondent revolution in things will attend the influx of the spirit.”~ “The American Scholar” Ralph Waldo Emerson

I feel like I haven’t expressed enough original thoughts in the past three years and some severe idea clotting resulted. Thankfully, I caught it early and the offending barrier was extracted. Apparently, the blockage was completely removed, because I am being absolutely pummeled with the backlog.
I am by no means complaining.

Several years ago, The Girl toiled in the City of Lost Angels. Like so many before her, she too had gone astray. So she went on a mission to rediscover her spirituality.

She was Mindful with the Buddhists. She philosophized with the Taoists. She embraced Interfaith-churches with the Unitarians. She totally dug the Bahai’ Faith (the idea that everyone was right was unique.). She willed it to be with the Science of the Mind-ists and avoided the Scientologists like her life depended on it (which it may have.)

By the time she returned to the East, she was sure that the answer was that there is no answer. It was simply meant to be decided through the series of personal discoveries and experiences. Theoretically, anyway.

The experience itself is never in short supply. It’s the distillation process that is tricky. How do we recognize that which is life changing and act boldly, without fear?
How do we know when the nagging voices are simply whining for attention and when they mean business? What are the determining factors behind which ideas are “pure” enough to “conform your life to” (as Emerson recommends) and which are just self-indulgent rubbish?

Waiting for enlightenment (like my Hindu brethren.)

Especially,
~The Girl of the Water

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Hangin’ in the Hallway

Posted on December 1, 2008

Leading to where?

Leading to where?

Two days into the third week of my Soul Rebellion, I decided to paint my front hallway. Entryway. Foyer. Whatever.

For once, this was not a diversionary tactic designed to keep me from the daunting demands of  internal revolution, rather an intentional ploy aimed at stoking my creative fire and increasing clarity to focus on next steps. Plus, I REALLY had a hankering to channel Dorothy Draper’s uber-glam “dark paint, big statement” decorative style, and the hallway seemed like a prime candidate.

I set about my mission, in spite of the Spouse’s grumblings about how hard it was going to be for me to reach the top of our 14 foot ceilings, even with the extend-able ladder. I bought two gallons of high gloss, Chestnut Brown paint (Tres’ Hollywood Regency) and rolled. And edged. And stood en pointe on the top of the ladder (not safe or recommended) and contorted into some previously unseen outside of a yoga class positions, until the entire entryway was absolute art. If I do say so myself.

Still, it begged for more. So the stenciling began. And the spray painting. And the mouldings. And the tile work (yes, it’s a rental, but please don’t ask how I intend to undo any of this… I simply haven’t the time to consider mundane issues such as those.) The door frames and rock wall turned into the piece de resistance. Until the possibly blasphemous but very chic, Billy Haines inspired, spray painted repeating Virgin Mary statues appeared and adorned the aforementioned mouldings. Now, perhaps, they will be the most talked about element. You know, for the millions of souls who are sure to be talking about my hallway.

At any rate, this mania, this absolute need to go further and explore all of the possibilities that this blank canvas that was once simply a place to kick off your shoes and greet guests provides, has become all encompassing. More so than the loft, or the living room, or the bedroom. This hallway has become an obsession.

Yet as I look around the space in this moment, I am forced to ask myself to look more deeply at it’s meaning.

I have never been one for the literal aspects of life. I am a seeker of subtext in all regards, thus my hallway is not exempt from similar exam.

I had started this project as a resource of inspiration seeking and it must be considered that the thoughts I have incubated throughout its gestation are meant to send me to the next spot. The next room.

It has provided a safe space to hang my rain-soaked thoughts out to dry, until they are manageable enough to take with me into less transitional spaces.

This hallway has become my corridor leading to a place with free thoughts and unabashedly honest and authentic design.

It leaves the generic in the past and moves towards a new time. I love the hallway. Now, I just need to find the guts to move through it.

“Slip inside the eye of your mind, don’t you know you might find a better place to play…” ~ Oasis

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Confession

Posted on November 22, 2008

I like to stay up so late at night that my eyes sting with redness and I must pretend that there are wooden toothpicks forcibly holding them open. I also adore these so-called “witching hours” because it is then that my thoughts are truly free. I lose my censors and any manifestations of propriety shortly after 10pm. I like me lots more then. Lots more, I say.

In reverence,

The sleepiest (but fighting like a champ) Girl in all the Water…

Do not doubt

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Bride of the Water, Bride of the City

Posted on October 4, 2008

Flash of the City. Peace of the Water.

Flash of the City. Peace of the Water.

At 1pm yesterday, I am back in my element. I breathe in the smells of magic and love and take in so much lace and silk taffeta that my head starts buzzing slightly. There is one particularly fluffy dress in the corner, that totally reminds me of a white, lemon meringue pie, and I wonder if they’d get mad if I took a running start and dove right in.

I suddenly feel like a recovering addict, walking through a dodgy neighborhood, where you just know you could cop on every corner, but you won’t. You mustn’t. It’s just not you anymore. Alas, I am back in the land of the wedding gown, but it is not about me.

The Bride-to-be of the City enters and we hug and I am then allowed to enter the familiar racks. The silky threads pour through my fingers as I revel in the possibilities. I am transported to a time nearly two years earlier when I went through the same process, but with the added excitement of knowing that this would be THE DRESS. Arguably the most expensive single use item I would ever purchase. As Bride of the City starts to speak, I hear myself in the words she speaks to the exuberant sales associate. “Not overdone, not too many beads or too much lace. Sweetheart neckline, because my boobs will look great in that (ok, that last part was not a phrase ever uttered by Bride of the Water).” She knows what she wants, and she is ready with a photo to prove it.

The three of us pull seven gowns and the Bride of the City begins to feel slightly overwhelmed. “I’d like to start with these”. We help her into the first and the reaction is unanimous. This is it. She perfunctorily tries the other gowns, just so she can say she did, but there is never any doubt. Gown number one wins.

She looks beautiful, and the gown itself perfectly tells the story of the girl beaming inside of it. It is less classic than she thought she desired with a ton more glamour. The bodice accents her shape and the floor length veil adds the tradition she sought.

I dab my eyes because she looks so… her. But in a wedding gown. I think back to the costume I had selected. I shunned a veil and embraced an ostrich feather flower hairpiece. I went for smoky eyes and calla lilies. I believe she’ll shun nothing and embrace it all. I chose simplicity to reflect the change in my life which (for once) felt peaceful, and free, and not complicated. I’d tried to be as the water would want… easy, flowing, natural.

But looking at my ultra-glam City-bride friend, I wonder if I’d not done all I could’ve with my day…

And then it hits me that my wedding was innately, well… me. It was an anomaly of sparse white space and deep red, orange and brown colored silk and textured fabrics. It was simple and complex. It was breathtaking and life affirming. Groomsmen in gold sneakers and t-shirts bearing a tree. Bridesmaids in dresses of their own choice. Classic yet nuanced.

Water people and City people survive in similar discord. The Water seems to flow under the radar when surrounded by the flashiness of the City. But without the Water to temper it’s innate harshness, the City easily turns dark and unwelcoming.

I mentally return to my post as proud Bride of the Water. I must. It’s just who I am.

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What Do You Know That I Need To Know?

Posted on September 13, 2008

Aloha!

I am in Heaven. But real Heaven…Not places that I have compared to Heaven in the past, such as Whole Foods, or like, you know, Pottery Barn, but God’s Heaven. Maui is majickal. I have pictures to end all pictures and experiences which make me wonder what in the heck I did in a past life to deserve these blessings.

Sadly, we left our USB cable at home, so my mock-up  picture will have to do for now, but I had an epiphany today whilst talking to the lady in our hotel giftshop that I needed to put into writing….

She knew stuff. Lots of stuff. She was wise beyond the credit we might typically attribute to a resort gift shop lady and I KNEW that she knew things that I needed to know. Whatever that means….

Did she know where to find the best local restaurants or shopping haunts? Did she know the key to happiness? The meaning of life? That I needed to go right instead of left? The fact is, we ALL know something that I (proverbial “I”) need to know.

So, I decided to ask. Everyone. Much to the chagrin of my husband who is traditionally WAY more shy than I am…

I am curious as to what people might say. Will they ask me to elaborate as to what exactly I mean ( I won’t )?

Will they give me facts? Thoughts? Desires? Will they project what they seek into the advice they spew?

We’ll see. I shall ask everyone. I started with Hector Hernandez who works in a jewelry shoppe in Wailea. Spouse of the Water was purchasing the perfect Mother of Pearl necklace for me (Happy Birthday to me!) and I asked Hector (who has lived on Maui for 13 years, but is originally from Chicago and (like me) prefers thick crust pizza) “what he knew that I need to know.”  I do believe, Hector Hernandez momentarily thought I was nuts. Then he smiled. Calmly, Warmly…. and he told me “It’s all relaxed… know everything is relaxed.”

Though Hector Hernandez has clearly never tried to get to an office building in NYC on an August Day by 10am, and obviously does not know the perils therein, I respect this advice and plan to use it and apply it to my newly renourished Water life.

So, I humbly request that you tell me what you know that I NEED to know….

Please… I need to know. I really do.

I shall eventually divulge what I know. All in good time.

With revitalized love and respect…

A tan and year older Girl of the Water.

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