Archive for February, 2010

more than a grain of truth…

from PostSecret: Confessions on Life, Death, and God:

“Religious people fear hell–Spiritual people have walked thru it.” —Unknown.

funny

As if on cue, the kiddo has discovered the language option on her dvds and has great fun watching them in Spanish.

kookoo for legos and other thoughts…

My kiddo had a most excellent Valentine’s day…Chinese dumplings, flowers, and a new Lego kit. I like getting the small kits the best…they have the most bang for the buck, with more unusual pieces and wheels and people and whatnot. The kiddo loves making robots and doghouses. I’m just as into the bricks as she is. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll require an intervention. Two Lego sites I like to peruse are The Brothers Brick and, of course, The Lego Gallery.

I think it’s my  advancing age, but even celebrity deaths make me sad now. Most of Alexander McQueen’s creations I wouldn’t exactly wear, but I admired his sense of theatre, as much as I do Galliano’s. I loved McQueen’s hats, too! It’s so much fun to watch creative genius at play. Speaking of, I very much like these beautiful jewelry creations from Good Girls Studio. This is absolutely darling!

muy bueno

At the ripe old age of 44, I’ve decided to study the Spanish language. No, I’m not bored. It may be all of the Almodovar movies, or my awe at my lawyer’s fluid command of the language. Or, maybe I’d just like to speak a language that sounds sexy. English is sounding dry to my ears.

openers

Posts have been scarce since I started work on a book of fiction and doing workshop work. It’s harder but more exciting than I thought it would be. Anyhoo, I stumbled upon this list of opening literary lines and thought I’d share my favorites from it:

‘Notes From Underground’ by Fydor Dostoevsky

I am a sick man . . . I am a wicked man. An unattractive man, I think my liver hurts.

‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ by Gabriel García Márquez

Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.

‘1984’ by George Orwell

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.

‘The End of the Affair’ by Graham Greene

A story has no beginning or end; arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.

Thoughts

I was watching Farewell, My Concubine last week and the thought occured to me  that a young Michael Jackson’s experience was probably not quite far removed from the young singer’s  training in the movie. I think the theft of innocence and childhood is the crime of the gravest, highest order. It’s enough to almost shift my opinion of the death penalty. But this is not what I’m writing about.

I’d been wanting to say something since his passing, but what can be said that hasn’t already been said? And yet, Michael’s effect upon my life is far too deeply impressed upon and inside of  me to just say nothing.

Writers and artists, almost in jest,  mention meeting “their people”, but in 1983, after reading this story in Rolling Stone, I knew I’d met mine.  My person. Singular.  “He’s gonna be huge”, my mother remembers me telling her, then.  It was the little things, though. The smallness, the quiet world of a lonely soul with a taste for enchantment. Magic is a word I frequently employ when I’m at a loss to describe the undescribable. Can’t find it in a Harry Potter book. Or in special effects, or hocus-pocus. For me, it reveals itself in the very quiet places, in small things…in the bond between humans and animals (because talking is so overrated). In art and creation. Ideas and forms crisscrossing, germinating, and becoming. In nature. And in the small spaces of kinship that form between two people; silent, unspoken communions which run somewhere between the carnal and the spiritual.

Michael in those times was  exciting, but shy.  His showmanship flashy, over the top, ever expanding….the videos got bigger and bigger—but it was all rooted in origins of simpler times that ran the gamut from the classic innovations of Chaplin and Buster Keaton, to Jackie Wilson to Sammy Davis Jr.  to James Brown and other points in between.  Cartoons and Motown.  Campiness and Horror movies. In the icons of the silver screen and in the choreography of Broadway.

In that time, boys fascinated me. Boys frightened me.  Sex fascinated me.  Sex frightened me.  My talents held me strongly and so much was expected of me because of them, that instead of inspiring and motivating me, I’d run, run, run away from them again and again the first chance I got, until finally, I realized that without art and words, I was unknown to myself.

Michael was attractive, but safe. Male, but with a soft, high voice. I liked his voice. People made fun of his speaking voice, but it fit in just fine with his personality; with his art. He was a singer, after all. A soft high voice is much more disconcerting coming from a big man like Mike Tyson.

I’d glommed onto the music of Off the Wall, which still remains my favorite of his albums. Life ain’t so bad at all, if you live it off the wall…..  Yes. I still think that work most perfectly captures him…it’s a dancer’s work. It has its ballads, another strength. It’s playful. Thriller became a Michael that played too much to demographics. It wanted to be loved by many, which I guess Michael did, too. It was the beginning of things getting too big. When the videos featured casts of marching armies and giant statues of Michael, he lost me. Like many, when the publicity stunts got wierder and wierder, I edged away. And when he continued sharing a bed with little boys—whether innocently or not—I’d had it with him. Truth or fiction, fair or not, I couldn’t listen to the music without being creeped out.

I like This is It. I like seeing the artist and a process. In the end, I don’t think I or anyone could ever really know him, could ever perfectly capture what made Michael Jackson, Michael Jackson. I haven’t seen one tribute that does that. Perhaps Michael never completely knew the him in him. I don’t know. I do know that I’ve missed the way he made me feel, all those years ago. Magic.