Thursday, July 5, 2012
This blog post has a soundtrack. I highly recommend you listen to some Yma Sumac while you read it. If you don't have any, just open this playlist in another tab and let it play while you read: Yma Sumac playlist on youtube. More about Yma Sumac in a minute.
Sunday I had a deliciously creatively inspiring evening. Which is important for me, because I've realized I don't get those anywhere near often enough, and it's a big part of me feeling like ME, an individual, a real person. As opposed to somebody's mom or wife or friend or whatever.
I love movies. A lot. It's taken me a long time as an adult to really understand and embrace how much I love movies, but I really do love them. Movies have the ability to really transport me and affect me, more so than books, I think largely because I'm such a visual person.
When I got my drivers license at 16, the first place I drove myself was to a movie (Casablanca at River Oaks Theatre in Houston). At a couple different points in my life, I would weekly go to the movies by myself. It still feels like such a ME activity.
So Sunday evening the Husband gave me a few hours to myself, and I decided to go to the movies, which I hadn't done alone in a really long time. Being a big Wes Anderson fan, I decided to go see Moonrise Kingdom.
While not my favorite of his, I really loved it. It just felt so delightful and precious, and it really did that big affecting thing movies can do to me. I felt like it showed a certain side of childhood I haven't often seen portrayed.
It's hard for me to find the words, but it's kind of the horror and wonder of being 12 years old. I think most of us feel kind isolated and alien at 12, and as this film shows, making a real connection with another person is so very important and life-changing. These are things I've been thinking about a lot lately already, so it felt like good timing for me.
I walked out of the theatre, feeling so full of life and mystery, and there was the almost full moon with a bright halo around it, and I just had to talk to someone. So I called my dear friend Marie, in large part because she's such a big Wes Anderson fan, I knew she'd seen the movie already.
We chatted about the movie a little, and then she started telling about moving her Nonnie to Austin that weekend. Marie had found a cassette tape that turned out to have a recording of her grandparents and parents singing a hymn. Marie remembered how they'd have dinners where they'd just spontaneously start singing and making music.
This made me think of John Philip Sousa. A few months ago, my 6-year-old son had to research a composer for school, and he chose Sousa (because he did the Monty Python theme song). Something interesting I learned about Sousa is that he had a strong dislike of recorded music and the phonograph. To quote:
These talking machines are going to ruin the artistic development of music in this country. When I was a boy...in front of every house in the summer evenings, you would find young people together singing the songs of the day or old songs. Today you hear these infernal machines going night and day.
Of course even today people still make music in their homes, like Marie's family, but now it seems like magic. I imagined that other world where making music in your living room with your family was the norm. Something has definitely been lost.
Then Marie told me about taking Nonnie to what will be her new church that morning, a delightful neighborhood Methodist church. The people were so welcoming to her, and between the church and Marie, I imagined Nonnie being enveloped with love and delicately placed into her new life. And it made me tear up.
After I got off the phone with Marie, I put on the Yma Sumac CD I'd recently acquired from Half Price books. The song that came on was Chuncho, and it pretty much made everything perfect. I have been wondering, how have I gone this long in my life without being exposed to Yma Sumac? It just seems like a big oversight on the Universe's part.
Listening to her wonderful crazy voice (the CD calls her "The Peruvian Bird"), driving along with the moon following me as my companion, everything felt so good in the world.
I love that about this life, the way so many small details come together to make a moment. I love all the connections happening, like connections between old friends, new people connecting for the first time, connecting new information to my own experience, and the odd connections my brain makes when it remembers things like John Philip Sousa.
I drove to Walgreen's and bought a spiral notebook with leaves on it and a fancy pen. In the store I had a heightened sense of awareness and compassion, and everyone and everything around me seemed so special and interesting.
I took my new notebook and pen to Quack's 43rd Street Bakery, and I sat down among beautiful paintings of flowers with the most delicious chai (made with almond milk, no less), and I spewed all these words out on paper so that I wouldn't forget it.
Which seems like such a writerly thing to do, I think this was the first time I truly ever felt like a writer. And now I share it with you. Thanks for reading.
And I hope you've enjoyed the Yma Sumac. If you haven't heard it yet, I encourage you to listen to what is probably her most famous song, Gopher Mambo.
Monday, March 26, 2012
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Long ago I came across a wonderful website: Learning To Love You More
Somewhere on there I found this wonderful prompt:
Make a list of 100 things you like in no particular order. Avoid the obvious (significant other, cake...) and be completely honest with yourself. If you try to think of things that you are curious about and inspired by, you'll end up discovering a lot about yourself and in doing so developing a sort of bank of your interests and ideas.
In March 2005, I came up with my own list, which I just found.
I totally love it. I'm going to work on another list. But for now, here's that old list.
1. the word "emerge"
2. crazy yarn
3. dystopic future science fiction
6. the dark areas underneath freeways
7. glam rock
8. women wearing lots of jewelry
9. driving alongside trains
10. the words "liminal" and "threshold"
11. unaccompanied cello
12. men playing guitar and singing
13. driving at night through dark winding roads with the windows down
15. stuffed animal bunnies
16. Fiji Natural Artesian Water
17. sending birthday cards in the mail
18. playa dust in my hair
19. moon calendars
20. cutting my own hair
21. brushing people's hair
22. white pitchers
23. anything silvery or glittery
24. crazy shower curtains
25. the sensation of tears running down my cheeks
26. fancy soap
27. singing with people
28. makeup color names
29. visionary art
31. dancing by myself in my living room
32. spirals and swirly lines
33. colored lights
34. touching people's faces
35. sitting on a porch swing during a thunderstorm
37. stabbing things with paring knives
38. red shoes
39. listening to stories
40. neat and organized address books
41. weddings, especially the ceremony
42. arranging music for voice only
43. books arranged by color
44. song covers
45. emails that make me cry
46. the internet
47. tv shows on dvd
48. girls dressed like boys
49. swing music
50. magical realism
53. world religions
54. monastic life
55. books about regular people living regular lives
58. made-up words
61. video/dvd stores
62. bathrooms that have art in them
64. remembering dreams when I wake up
65. exploring grocery stores
66. kundalini yoga
67. two tone nail polish
68. late night phone conversations
69. random handmade gifts
70. analyzing and discussing movies
71. Pollyanna-type stories
73. the window seat on airplanes
74. driving for hours at a time
75. unexpected and sincere compliments
77. turkey vultures
78. walking along busy gray urban streets
80. flower arranging
81. interpreting life like it's a dream
83. books about crazy fantasy worlds
84. feeling inspired to write
85. monologues in plays
86. curtain calls
87. temporal art
90. the word "mystery"
91. metaphors involving butterflies
92. walking to the grocery store
94. sacred spaces
95. feeling understood
98. surprising people
99. loungey spaces
Make your own list and share it with me!