COMFORT & GANGSTERS


Comfort….
From writing by hand at my tiny Eurasian desk facing the window to the west; framed by time and familiarity into the branches of JD’s pine tree, the black silky toned crows basking like prowesses on the branches, and waiting for La Posada to empty the day’s leftovers in the garbage cans. The silky drape of the winter sky sometimes adorned with lacy clouds, like today, softening the southwest blue to a faded jeans shade. From my desk, I write, without thoughts predefined, just a drain of emotional threads from my heart…

This year isn’t like last year, the absentee man, fussing with the fireplace, making me afternoon espresso, or drying dishes. It is not at all like last year, with Rudy and John intercepting my division of attention, laughing at the kitchen table, eating my blueberry pancakes.

I had the song of Judy Garland’s rainbow in my heart. It was a time I will never forget, or regret, because I was a very lucky lady for several years. Unabridged ecstasy poured out of body, and spread over my attitude, abundant spirit, mood, facial expressions, and my dreams were filled with amusement instead of nightmares.

That’s why now, is so different. The camp has closed, and I wander into these new woods unsteady, and steadier, juxtaposed between, acceptance and anger.

In the last few months, I’ve written my heart out, read Shepard, Colette, Durrell and my Creative nonfiction magazines. I’ve studied, and prepared for radio programs, and collected a bundle of columns to adapt into short stories. I started buying chocolates and jelly beans, so I treat myself, on breaks, when it’s too cold for my frail body to walk around town or up Palace Avenue to see the new for sale listings.

My steps inward resulted in accomplishments, break-troughs’ and a comedic sideshow trying to open boxes, make repairs, until Rudy shows up again, and rake the leaves, stuff that is mundane. More distant relations, and mafia threaded strangers knocked on my door, bolstering my faith in breaking the silence that ruled me, I let rule me.  Stepping inside the truth I must face isn’t nearly as harmful as pretending.

Mob on television, in the news, (gross sales global figure of $850 billion) websites, and bloggers, movies and books. They’re all coming out of the closet to inform, turn themselves in, give advice, consult on their own films, sign on for pubic speaking at Library’s, documentaries, and advertisements-the world is all mobbed up and it’s time for some horrific homogenization of the gangsters who wouldn’t break the silence.

ADVENTURES IN LOVINGNESS


Carson McCullers photographed by Carl Van Vech...

Image via Wikipedia

The sky is brush stroked with rivers of grey clouds interceding the passing blue of the day. I feel breathed, my heart exhausted, and my spirit is groping for remission, like an Advil into a hangover.

I remember my childhood, my first kiss, the day I announced to a class of fellow writers that I was a writer too. Our teacher, Emily, instructed all of us to stand up and say it. I resisted internally, and afterward the effect was as she promised, it became second nature.

I don’t know how I will remember the dragon episode, which turn in the labyrinth will remain most vivid; until now, imagining a folder and how I would label it, The We of Me, the phrase borrowed from Carson McCullers short story, “The Member of the Wedding.” I read all of Carson’s books when I lived in Saratoga Springs, NY. Carson spent several seasons as an artist in residence at Yaddo Art Colony in Saratoga, and was known to escape at night down to Congress Street, and sit in a saloon sipping brandy. The story is entwined around Frankie, a young girl in love with her brother, who has just married and is moving to Alaska. Frankie wishes to go with them.  “A sweet momentary illumination of adolescence before the disillusion of adulthood,”[4wikipedia “It happened that green and crazy summer when Frankie was twelve years old. This was the summer when for a long time she had not been a member. She belonged to no club and was a member of nothing in the world. Frankie had become an unjoined person who hung around in doorways, and she was afraid.”

Last summer, I was not hanging around looking out at the world, I was on the porch, serving wine and crispy chips, while Rudy loaded Pete Rodriquez in the CD player,” Can I play it one more time?” he shouted, and John basting chicken over the Barbeque, draped in my William Sonoma apron, and I am drifting through the epilogue unaware that these moments will turn into sculpted memories, of a summer in Santa Fe. But for then, we lasted until the sun melted in the horizon and Rudy ran out of Kelly’s Cove stories. We were joined, we had our own club. Sometimes Jewels joined us, or LimoLoren, and there was a ribbon around the house, all of us were tied to the harmony of the we of me.

John won’t be coming back; there is too much brittleness, and astonishment in my life. As before, but not the same, Rudy is here, he just appeared in the doorway, “Come see what I did in the garage.” Our garage was transformed into a movie theater after I mistakenly poked the wrong button on the gate remote, and the automatic doors crashed into Rudy’s van. Yesterday, he strung red lights along the perimeter of the adobe building. He does these things to cheer me.

A lot of people I know are falling out of love, or have been asked to stop loving someone they thought they loved. There’s a group of us at La Posada; Victor the Cuban singer just broke up with Ruth, “ I’m going crazy–I’m Latin, without a woman—I cannot do it.” And Eddie, who just broke up with his girlfriend, “Two years-Oh well, I just move on. What can you do?” and Tobey; who has figured out how to forget his girlfriend’s fatal fall from a hillside where she was hiking, he is now the master of mingling. Then there’s Sam Shepard, whose pain is transparent, without a spoken word, it’s in his vigilant Mustang eyes, and in the angle he looks at the world. There are a lot of us; who have fallen from grace with someone who thought they could love us. Then, comes the reoccurring incident; whether it is about money, lovemaking, or the act of communicating with anger or restraint, that suddenly bloats up to the size of a thunder cloud, and bursts through all the promises and collective dreams.

After my burst with John, I went over to La Posada to escape the chattering in my head. My pal, White Zen, who I’ve named for her constant calm joined me at the bar. Raul was on duty, he’s been there since before all the Anglos discovered Santa Fe. He’s seen the white lightning of movie stars, and the Indian Shamans with feathers and folklore.  Raul takes all of us in his stride; which is slow as molasses. Don’t try and rush Raul, because he will ignore you, and your drink will be watery by the time you get it.

I was sitting there, with a glass of wine, when I recognized the man next to White Zen. At the same moment, the juxtaposition of reckoning beckoned us off our stools and we hugged. Dancing Bear, I’ve missed you I said, or something like that. Dancing Bear is a New York Santa Fe success. Unlike so many people I’ve met, he lives here,   works globally, and he’s in big demand right now.

Dancing Bear smiles even if his mouth isn’t smiling, you know he is inside. He’s in the tidal wave of dreams coming true, but not without their own claim ticket on your soul. Someone is always disposed if you’re catching big tuna. Now this night, goes like this.

“ Look if I don’t fuck up this dance–if I don’t fuck it up; it’s going to be something I’m really proud of.”  He emphasizes this with one hand, raised eyebrows and a slight bend in his neck.

“And you won’t.  How long have you lived here?”

“Do you know how I ended up in Santa Fe?  I was living in Los Angeles, driving on that freeway all day, and a friend said, ‘ Hey, you otta come to Santa Fe.’ Never even heard of it, so I came, that was 1983(I think it was 83) and bought a house, and moved here permanent a few years ago.  I could live in New York–in a minute, I love New York, Los Angeles, no- what for, my daughter’s not growing up in the Palisades.” He looks at Raul, they share another story, because they’ve known each other years, then Dancing Bear slaps the wooden bar with one hand, his face creases into a private memory; “El Farol!” he shouts. “Those are the memories, everyone was there, it was the most amazing time.”

“John and I used to go every Tuesday,” Dancing Bear wasn’t listening; he was swept into the memory. His eyes looked right through the mirror behind Raul’s bar. I wished I had seen it then. I didn’t get to El Farol until 1998.

“ Now—okay–I mean right now, after all these years,

I have my ex-wife-ex-wives, and their children, husbands, whatever, and they are in my life-okay–they are in my life.” I tried to speak, but his bear mouth wiped me out.

“They are in my life.. forever.”

“What does Dancing Dora say about that?”

“I’ll tell you what she says; they all sit down to her table at Thanksgiving. All of them. And it’s cool. Not all the time… this one with that problem, the kid with that, but in the end it works.. it works.”

“ It didn’t work with John and me.”

“ You got nothing to be ashamed of.. okay. A lot of people cannot handle it.. my friends think I’m crazy.”

“So do mine.” I said.

Lula Carson McCullers adapted the book, A Member of the Wedding to stage in 1950, then to film in 1987, and into television in 1997.  Lula wrote until her body failed her, and her hands crippled. She dictated her unfinished autobiography “Illumination and Night Glare” (1999) just before she died. She wrote her first book at twenty-three, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.

 Carson’s major theme; the huge importance and nearly insoluble problems of human love.” – Tennessee Williams.

 

ADVENTURES IN LIVINGLESS


Lyrical Time Wastr - Stairway to Heaven

Image by jah~ out via Flickr

Adventures in Livingness

 A sunrise of prosperity and a sunset on hardship.

In my home there is one large staircase window that faces east. Each morning before I descend the stairs I stop at the landing, to watch the day begin. The sun must rise past an assortment of tree limbs and trunks, and up over the  hillside of the mountains. By the time I’ve had my coffee, the sun has risen above the obstructions. I am now jerked awake, like a slight nudge a parent might give you, ‘Come on–wake up! You have school.”  The sunlight guides me through the morning, and argues with my disagreement of the days activity.

The moment the café took effect, I want to begin writing, but shameless sunlight in my eyes and the dance of the birds are tempting me to step outdoors.  When you live in seasonal climate, days and nights lure you outside, like old lovers that you must see again. The gradual awakening unfolds layers of thoughts, beginning with the anxiety of the times. The impending hardship  oozes out like a bad smell. Some mornings I cannot look  at the newspaper, the headlines read like promotional movie advertisements, banks bankrupt, homes foreclosing, woman commits suicide, the shocking prick of national disasters is a surgical  awakening.

There is no time to waste, no money to squander, it is a time of reduction and refusal. How can I not spend money today.

This is what brings me to the sunrise of prosperity, I have to keep studying the illumination of light, and I’ll  move forward, and diffuse the  chaos.

As the interruption of minor mishaps knock on my door, my head turns away from it. I’ve learned to erase the panic, and do what I have to do, and that is write.

Last week, while I was upstairs, prone on the sofa, figuring out a transition between two men, whom I love, someone came to the door, knocking, ringing the bell fiercely, oh what is that. I open the door,

“ Yes,”

“ Are you all right? I’m from the security company, your alarm isn’t connected. We came to check on you.”

I stood there with a dumber than dumb expression, and assured him I wasn’t held captive or about to throw myself out the window. When I returned to the desk, I kept seeing his expression, he really didn’t believe me. I turned the alarm off when Rudy left for San Diego.  Real estate agents our showing our house because it’s up for lease. My mind is a closet of mafia memoir notes, and I can’t remember to close the refrigerator door.

Later in the day, if I haven’t ventured outdoors, I take a walk around the plaza, and muse over the herds of  tourists, and search their expressions for interior moods. I don’t see panic and anxiety, I see relief;  couples are rigid from ice and chill,  and they shuffle in boots, directionless,  gaping at the churches and adobe arches, they shoot photographs, standing in the middle of the street. Vacation is bliss in the middle of discontent.

When I return to my desk, it is time to print the days work. This is always a ritual of great expectation, filled with disappointments, surprise, and sometimes a whiff of elation.   The sun has made it’s journey to the other side of the house, the back porch is like starched light, it burns the eyes and flesh, like hardship, the immediate effect is callous.  There I sit and review the pages.  The transition worked; the crawl from uncertainty to confidence broke through.  Now is the time to slouch in the chair, close my eyes, and rewind a few scenes back.

Hardship is like the sun, unmerciful when it is met face to face, and transforming when we are protected. That translates to less spending and more creating.

While I am lounging in this beautifully historic old home, one track of time keeps appearing in my images. It is a time when space was limited, finances on a string as long as my finger, and uncertainty a nightmare that became a lullaby. It is that time again, nothing at all unfamiliar With the same resources I had then, all is well, the sunset can go down, and I can laugh because the adventure has risen above the circumstances.