Monday, March 7, 2011

Hello darling, will try to type out this post in between sneezing and blowing my nose. Drat this cold. I don't get sick very often but this is my second cold in a month, very unusual.

It is very beautiful out just now, brilliant sun, blue sky, not a cloud in sight. Yesterday it rained, and overnight it turned into an ice storm, to the point where we lost power in the wee hours. If one is to lose power - that's the perfect time. I fell asleep and woke a couple of hours later with the furnace kicking in and clock radio brightly flashing 12:00, 12:00, 12:00, the house thus coming back, in pitch dark, to life. It was a dark and stormy morning, but then the sun came out and lit up every twig of every branch of every tree that had been encased in crystal. I stepped out with my camera in the hope of psyching myself up for a walk (in the end didn't feel up to it), but am glad I at least stepped outside the door. Not only was the landscape shimmeringly transformed but the air was full of musical sounds, atonal clanking of ice in the trees along with the wind chimes on the porch lightly ringing. Really lovely.

Spent the day in the house, going about various activities. Killed upwards of 30 bugs, one by one as each came out. I wondered how many bugs there would be if I didn't go after them. D thinks perhaps the very same number, that they distribute themselves in an even fashion. I view myself as such a pacifist, recall learning as a girl that Gandhi would gently sweep bugs off a path before he stepped so as not to kill them, and here I am ruthlessly, remorselessly, systematically picking them off.

Besides that though - yes there were other more delightful and humane activities in my day - I made a sausage and broccoli rabe pasta sauce, baked chocolate chip cookies from scratch, read more Patti Smith, remembered about my favorite Polish Easter cake, an apricot almond confection called mazurek, and started dreamily planning to bake a variation on the theme to bring down with me to Brooklyn next month - a pear frangipane tart (recipe from The Boston Globe) - only with apricot jam instead of pears.

Yes, I am living in the future quite a bit - in between sneezes.

Dearest, are you back across the pond? I can't even tell. Honestly, I don't know how many people follow my blog, I don't mean "google follow" (I have no way of knowing if my 'followers' actually read my blog) but I mean who really does regularly read it? Someone is quite enamored of my "starved gnat" post from last September, and/or of the Dorian Gray illustrations that accompany it. I thought it was you but now I'm not so sure. It's all quite confusing. I do hope one day - next month? - everything, or enough at any rate, will be illuminated.

I am feeling so unpoetic and uninspired this afternoon, dearest, please forgive me. It's my cold I'm sure, I think I'm running a slight temperature. I know that Emerson in his essay, The Poet, says that poets can make do with - well let me find the exact quote:
The poorest experience is rich enough for all the purposes of expressing thought. Why covet knowledge of new facts? Day and night, house and garden, a few books, a few actions, serve us as well as would all trades and all spectacles. We are far from having exhausted the significance of the few symbols we use.
Emerson has a point. And as an aside, it blows my mind that he visited Amherst - Austin and Susan Dickinson's house no less - and that E.D. might have chosen to go next door that day to meet him but didn't. Unbeknownst to Emerson (and to most everyone else) E.D. was - and only posthumously revealed to be - precisely the sort of Poet (though I doubt Emerson ever contemplated a female) whom he idealizes and extols!

But honestly at this point I feel that a few months lodging in the Hotel Chelsea might be more in order for me. How many times can I say that I have a chicken and potatoes roasting in the oven, the aroma floating up the stairs as it is just now?

Because, see, I'm halfway through Patti Smith's memoir. Yes, she draws and paints, but mostly she holds down a job at Brentano's and scrapes together loose change for Horn & Hardart. She comes off like an Audrey Hepburnesque ingenue, honestly - it's so strange. Except that she's living with the not-yet-fully-formed-and-famous Robert Mapplethorpe - and at the junction I am in the book, they're living in the Hotel Chelsea. At what point does she become the rocker whose lyrics a college friend of mine back in the late 70s would drunkenly impersonate, "Patty Hearst used to be such a good girl and now she carries a gun." At what point does Patti Smith herself become pistol-packing?

See darling, I used to be a very good girl and now I kill bugs.

Oh sweetheart, I don't mean that at all. I'm a very bad girl and deserve a spanking even though it's not my birthday. And I have a speeding ticket to prove it. Maybe I got the bug from that sheriff. Ma'am indeed.

Love you, darling. Perhaps some poetic inspiration will hit tomorrow. I hope all is well with you, I truly do. So very many kisses, safely through windows, so you don't catch my cold. We must both be in the peak of health - next month.

Mr. Emerson again:
If thou fill thy brain with Boston and New York, with fashion and covetousness, and wilt stimulate thy jaded senses with wine and French coffee, thou shalt find no radiance of wisdom in the lonely waste of the pinewoods.
See - even he calls it "the lonely waste." White wine, or red? And how do you take your coffee, darling?


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