Thursday, October 21, 2010

If I Wrote You

Last night Marshall Crenshaw played a beautiful piece by Bach, a long, continuous, flowing, impassioned line, solo viola. That was viola, wasn't it? Not sharp jagged violin, the sweetly unpretentious song, nor as angled and deeply sonorous as cello. Viola, a lovely instrument, like the lovely modest flower of the same name, feminine, nonnarcissistic, rarely in the spotlight, unshowy so often unnoticed. Not a Narcissus. Before that Audrey put on a lovely Joan Baez song, If I Wrote You. I don't know the song and the words instantly drew me in. I stepped into the solarium and stood in the dim lamplight listening, a woman writes letter after passionate letter in hope of eliciting a like response from her love - though not in the form of a letter. WKZE - c'est moi.

Perhaps it wasn't meetings so much as chance encounters - a fall day, unfamiliar path, glimpse of river, wrong turn, hidden bench, a gentleman, a dog, fluster, gracious offer, polite decline, retreat, path discerned, rejoined.

Dark gray morning, a pall. Downloading the Baez song. Did I hear it right last night? Maybe she does wish for her lover to write again. 10/20 - 0. Où est mon ami?

Last night a film at the festival, Partir, with K. S. Thomas. Was it like Madame Bovary? Perhaps, for our times. No, not quite. Thomas plays an utterly sympathetic character. She is trapped in a loveless marriage to an utter prick (not a word I like to use, but truly her husband seems not to have one redeeming quality but an amalgam of despicable, passive-aggressive weak ones). She falls in love with another man... and the story from there unfolds with precise, unblinkered, bleak inevitability. I relate to her character. It's why I am here, I suppose. A little scene from one of the Real Housewives of New York episodes comes to mind. One of the characters - cheerful, vacuous, vulgar, and loaded with street-smarts (precisely what I lack) - is a determined businesswoman, motivated in no small part, as she explains to her young daughter, by her determination to always have a source of income independent of her husband to whom (as it seems from all appearances on the show at the time) she's happily married. Why? So that if she ever wishes to she is free to leave. She always has the built-in failsafe. And who knows, perhaps it even strengthens the marriage. I think in her case perhaps it does, she's a competitive sparring mate in all matters - her head-on engagement with her life is like her tennis game. Sexy, funny, madcap - but she plays to win. Funny character. I liked her. I couldn't be more different, but I liked her. I could have been raised with more street smarts, but my mother didn't have any herself, so I'm not sure where I should have gotten them from. What would I advise a young daughter? I would say - cultivate it all - the mind and the spirit and the body - be smart and thoughtful and engaged and all the rest - and at the same time? it doesn't hurt one bit to be pretty and graceful and charming as one can be.

Oh good the sun's coming out. Let me get showered & dressed and fully engage with life, not just my fingers typing out my love song on the keys lalalalalalalalala


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