Friday, January 14, 2011

My dearests, just checking in this evening, at low ebb a bit, feeling inflamed somehow, a little flushed. Missing you very much. It's January 14th, so one-24th of the year is done, it's the 1 a.m. of the cycle. Vacuumed downstairs this morning. Had Chinese for lunch. Went for a walk around here. Lay down for a short nap and woke with great delight to find tulips from you at my desk. Missing you. I look at photos of you. I'm glad you like my salad dressing. I was so winging it - usually D's the one to make it - but I guess I did have the recipe down - it was good! One of the first things I did after the holiday was to go to the supermarket for a jar of honey mustard - I think that's what saved me. But I'm glad to impress you anyway I can, in the completely inadequate proxy ways that have to stand for something else. Googled for an image of a painting of a vase of tulips, Dutch or Flemish, Renaissance or Baroque, to no avail at the moment, but did come across a couple of wonderful paintings of tulip fields, one by Van Gogh, the other by Claude Monet. Much, I suppose, as I imagined them, on our little weekend cycling excursions.

What else today? Watched a Charlie Rose interview with Patti Smith, who recently won the National Book Award for her memoir of her coming-of-age friendship with Robert Mapplethorpe. I don't have a firm grasp on Patti Smith, never did - I remember in college a brusque friend of mine would drunkenly air-guitar mime her singing some song about Patty Hearst being a good girl and "now she carries a gun." But I had no firsthand experience of Patti Smith - only this friend acting "cool" quoting her. (She was trying to ingratiate herself with a cool set on campus who were very well acquainted with Patti Smith - I was the polar opposite of that set, just out of cluelessness, lack of exposure.)

Anyway, I was just amazed by the interview because Patti Smith in person was so different from anything I might have expected (that is, aloof, cocky, full of attitude). She's in her sixties now, quite youthful (in spirit certainly), and absolutely disarmingly charming, unpretentious, smiling, natural - as she tells stories or speaks of herself, one almost gets the sense that she's blushing shyly. I found her quite inspiring - ah - so that's what an artist looks like - we're not some grand mythologized being - we're just folks - or - the title of her memoir - Just Kids. I appreciated her unassuming humanness, in this era of celebrity culture. And I grew up in a family that supposedly revered art and artists - but only if it was Great Art, as if sprung full-blown without any process from the - what - forehead of Zeus? Or whatever the right metaphor is, there.

I've been musing lightly, off & on these days about the concept of evolution, how annoyed I felt when I heard a Catholic priest take a silly swipe at it. (I don't expect intellectual priests in that parish - I suspect, without making a study of it, that the Vatican and Pope Benedict have, let's say, more ecumenical views on evolution). What am I saying? Patti Smith's memoir, from what I gathered from the Charlie Rose interview, traces the evolution of two budding artists who happened to find each other and become friends and lovers, and then just friends (loving) for a very long time til death did them part. Personal evolution. Because when I think about my sense of spirituality, my sense of the universe -- it always seems to be in motion, about becoming, about the possibility of becoming, of transformation, of a movement towards. It's not fixed rigid machinery. There's evolution of species on a grand epic scale in the natural world, and in the course of any individual's life, there's personal growth - personal evolution. Not just in sheer physicality - from womb to old age, think about the incredible "evolutionary" changes we each go through, but even within that, always, if one endeavors, or is given the opportunity to avail one's self of the full range of one's full faculties and sensibilities...

But it's not amorphous. Another little idea I toy with these days is the idea of growing into one's looks, inner beauty and outer physical beauty somehow merging. Because I'm no great beauty in the way it's commonly understood, and for a long time I let myself go, not quite knowing better the impact "lifestyle" choices had on my body. And looking in the mirror and not liking, or hardly even recognizing who I saw.

Sometimes I feel that if I had a daughter then I would simply try to encourage her to see the connection between lifestyle inputs and the effect on the body. And also the idea - let's say she's obese - as so many American daughters of the post-McDonald's age are - and prediabetic or diabetic - I mean, one sees so many morbidly obese people. Well, maybe I'm not talking about them so much. I mean - the obesity covers up the inner beauty, not just hides it but distorts it.

I would try, in my imagination, if a young person like that were my daughter, to encourage her to become the most beautiful person she can be, the person (I feel) that God intends for each of us to become... beauty, definitely, develops from striving, even if very imperfectly, for the balance...

Evolution... growing... becoming...

My dearest darlings, I know I should proof, but I am amazed that I wrote as much as I did. So in the spirit of a spirited punk rocker - let me let this one fly, with very, very many kisses for you. Love you very much. XOXO

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