Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My darling, up in the aerie after a chilly day with rain, sun attempting to come out now. I see the room suddenly brighten with cool gray light - the last hurrah, at quarter past six. I had trouble getting started today, yet another watery state. Finally motivated myself to vacuum the upstairs. I've been feeling achey, mildly so, that's part of it.

I've been sitting here a little while, trying to figure out what to write, musing. I googled a high school English teacher of mine, from thirty-five years ago, and found that he'd commented a couple of times on Amazon. In my sideways fashion, though he'd left a particular comment a few years ago, I posted under my pseudonym in response. His comment regarded an early Julie Christie film, one I haven't seen, made when she was in her early twenties. In having viewed the 1965 Darling in light of a film Christie starred in forty-one years later, my former teacher was moved to write,
Watching this early film in juxtaposition with Away From Her reminds us that Cleopatra was not the only woman whose beauty can not be withered by age. When the beauty evolves from intelligence, it is always with her and with us. We all are that much richer for having been in her presence.
His comment came in the midst of all my current readings about Picasso 'Creator and Destroyer' (truly, he bulldozed his women, I mean psychologically) and in Persona-esque fashion identifying with Dora Maar who was essentially destroyed as a result of her having been rototilled in her relationship with him. She suffered a nervous breakdown, abandoned photography (of which she had been a Surrealist original), and became a devoutly religious recluse. Wow.

So when an old high school English teacher from formative yesteryear thus posted - I felt buoyed & encouraged. So I will be withdrawing my application from the convent, and taking down the rope from the rafters...

Darling, I'm just kidding, bleak gallows humor that that was. It's just sometimes things are so confusing. Or on that Minotaur track again - just feeling like this monstrous outsider sometimes... my mind turning now to politics, my feelings of alienation & anxiety regarding the worrisome state of affairs in our threatened democracy. Sometimes in my mind, actually, I try to talk sense to your wife. I try to tell her - hard to, she's the one gifted with speech, corporate apologist - do you realize that what you thought you stood for, a certain set of values, in opposition to some other set of values, all covered by a label - has all morphed & shape-shifted? Not the values - - - no. never that, not for me or for you - but the label - the coded brand name - under which they were represented?

My uncle is no longer in compos menti but he spoke of saving for a rainy day, and the wonderfulness of the savings bank, and of the tax benefit of owning a home, mortgaging it, that is - which encourages conservative values of property ownership, cultivation, and the like.

I agree with that, and did then, as I listened to him lecture to the rapt (or not so rapt) at the lengthy dining table. Come to think of it, I'd fidget & figure out some excuse to go past the full-length mirror in the dimly lit hallway by the telephone table, to visit the loo.

And I googled you once, and learned, remembering now, that you listed as one of your interests that you enjoy "pioneering." And of course I thought of that organization that I have to tell you from Day One my parents had cast a very gimlet eye about, seeing it as a cover for a rigid agenda that was anathema to them - and me too, now (not just now). (Though brilliant marriage pool - that it was. Of that, part of me, swimming on my own across channels, is regretful. I might have met - perhaps you!)

Anyway - pioneering. So I left this comment for one extremely formative high-school teacher, who taught American Studies, and thought in successive fashion of another who had also made an enormous impression on me (between the two of them, I learned how to write). I googled him, and discovered a comment he'd left on a website having to do with "pioneering." I followed a couple of links and saw images, and thought of you, and am convinced that that is what you, darling, meant by pioneering (not whatever it's been co-opted to mean by GOP forces).

I wouldn't survive two minutes in a debate with your wife. She's very good. We went to the same school. And I love her, I do - but - I could not disagree more strongly with her, and I feel that there's so much at stake. And we all stem from the same family - I have my grandmother's toes I think sometimes, when I look down at my feet.

Sometimes words are labels, like children's stickers. Conservative. Pioneering.

Yours, Dora the explorer -

All my love dearest pioneer -

In the words (discovered today, here) of a high-school teacher of mine, one of the most civilized men I have ever met:
I remember my membership in the Pioneers’ Club and the magazine with immense pleasure. That, and a pile of old Field and Stream magazines (given to me by a neighbor) started a lifelong love of the outdoors, of fishing and hunting and dogs, woods, trees, woodland skills etc. I remember the feather awards and even some of the tasks I performed to earn them. I later joined the BSA but never forgot where it all started, and that was nearly sixty years ago.

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