Saturday, November 19, 2011

Dear love, here with warm kisses for you, not blowing freezing air in your face... I've had nightmares like that - if that's what they are - that sensation, as you say, of something trying to process me at night. A very palpable overbearing secretive probing presence in the darkness, bearing down on me, not violently - gently, but firmly and in a way that overpowers me. It's not like that Fuseli image, it doesn't seem like some little goblin sitting on me. Though I don't know. It's very dark at night in the room on the very few occasions I've felt that sensation. It could be a goblin or demon, for all I know. It happens to me rarely, but it did a few weeks ago, so it's relatively fresh in my mind. I was able to will myself awake somehow, and it left...

Ah yes, here it is - I actually noted it in my dream journal, the morning of October 17:
I feel the very palpable presence of a being against my back, upon me, weight settling down on me, at first it’s comforting, I think it’s __, but then the presence begins to feel oppressive, too silent, sneaky, malevolent. I can’t shake it off, but finally do when I wake up.
I had a dream of that nature some 30 years ago now, one night while I was asleep in a narrow bed in my dorm room in college. I felt completely overpowered and paralyzed, tried to scream and couldn't. I remember it to this day. It seemed to go on and on and it was very frightening, me by myself in this pitch dark room. I felt that I had woken up as it was happening, that this creature or being was bearing down on me, pinning me. That's the strongest dream of that nature I've had in my life. I was quite shaken by it, and of course couldn't account for it. I wonder if this is true, or if I'm now making it up - that when I managed to wake up and turn on the light, and things began to return to normal, I opened the door to my room and looked down the empty hallway, the doors of all the young women's rooms, all down the familiar corridor, closed, the hallway empty and silent, safe, dimly lit, carpeted.

Oh sweetheart, I don't even know if that was you signaling to me about such a dream... and yet I think maybe so, because someone else hit on that Fuseli image just yesterday, now what are the statistical odds of that?

My dear love, that's not what I planned to write about when I sat down, but then the meaningful page hits came, so I wished to respond.

So - back to warm Garbo kisses, darling.

I had a pleasant afternoon - very much so, even, except for little vexations that intruded on reverie and perfection. I took myself out to lunch to my favorite little overpriced eatery, affordable with a half-price certificate. I made sure to have a small piece of chicken before I left the house because I knew that even after a lunch out I'd be hungry (yes, it's that sort of place - exquisite, pricey, and the portions are small). I ordered a glass of delicious white wine, perused the menu, and settled on a rather unconventional meal, for lunch - a country pate, served with dijon mustard, tiny cornichon pickles, and potato-chip-thin slices of toasted crostini. That, and a $4 order of mixed olives, partly for math reasons, to bring my order up to around $25. I was expecting - three, five, seven olives maybe? No, here came a small plate heaped with a dozen small green olives, another dozen black, tiny pickled onions, and yet more cornichons. Enough "mixed olives" for a table of four! I couldn't possibly eat them all, though I gave it a good try...

And I ordered a second delicious glass of wine, and asked for a bit more bread & butter - the bread arrives toasty warm, and the butter ice cold - oh it is such a sensuous treat to sit like a princess at my table for one (the chair across from me had been borrowed for another party, alas) - and tear small bits of the bread and dab on a sliver of the butter, have them meld into each other, and pop the delectable bite in my mouth. Oh, Swoon --- indeed (the name of the place).

And so it was all very nice and I tried to keep the ratios balanced... butter to bread (gone, devoured)... pate to crostini --- crostini gone before the pate. So I asked for a bit more bread... which arrived with another ice cold slab of butter.

It is a testament to my self-restraint that I didn't also devour the beautiful butter with the remainder of my pate...

Oh sweetheart! I am like the Charlie Bucket of pate, sips of white wine, and hot baguette... one tiny savored nibble at a time...

But then I was done, except for the leftover olives, and I asked for my check... and then it took nearly a half-hour to receive my check and settle the bill... because the restaurant had suddenly become busy and the two waitstaff became overwhelmed...

But it did kind of, I hate to say it, ruin or deflate my mood - sit there, wine long since drained, nothing more to eat, just sit there & wait til they could get to me ---

Not only that, the minutes crept to quarter past two (when I was finally able to leave). And so I was fifteen minutes late for a concert across the street... a lovely concert, and I hate arriving late for anything, but truly (unless I'd chosen to make a fuss at the restaurant, which I didn't) it was beyond my control. Anyway. It's just that I had wished to sail in just slightly buzzed from my delightful repast into a beautiful afternoon concert... instead there were all these lurchings & interruptions that made it all less than seamless.


All this kvetching aside... the concert was absolutely delightful and wonderful, and I'm sorry I missed most of the first cycle of Hugo Wolf Goethe Lieder. I tiptoed into the rather intimate performance space and took a seat. The young woman sang breathtakingly, and she was a marvel. A tiny sparrow of a thing, all bare arms and legs, thin black-frocked body in between. Very long wavy hair, Veronica Lake-style, parted on the side, held back with a bobby pin, tumbling down her thin frame. She sang with little or no affect - quite literally, as though channeling. It was quite astonishing, the huge, pitch perfect, emotive voice, full of passion, issuing from this diminutive physical being. It was really quite a revelation. Well, not to relate absolutely everything to E.D. - but yes, I think that if one, on the street, were to pass this young spare petite woman by, one would be quite astonished to know that such a large presence & soul & voice rise out from her.

And then there was another soprano... who had a wonderful, beautiful, also incredibly full strong loud voice (these sopranos absolutely filled the room with their controlled, full-blast vocalizations). She didn't always quite hit the notes precisely right, I didn't think - I mean, mostly on pitch & on-key, but somehow on landing on certain notes just slightly off. But no matter - or hardly any matter at all. Because she was an incredibly engaging, mesmerizing, sexy, animated presence - she brought what she sang to great spirited animated life. She had a star quality in being able to communicate through her facial expressions, whatever the foreign language libretto one can't understand...

And there was a third soprano, too, also a very beautiful voice, very controlled. Unlike me, dearest love. I should have prepped myself a little better --- she started on the opening notes of the famous aria from La Wally,  'Ebben?... Ne andrĂ² lontana'... and tears just rushed to my eyes. I lost it, in a way I don't think anyone in the room would have noticed. I simply put my head down and I suppose ostensibly gazed at my paper program, or at my black skirt, but do you know, as she sang that exquisite aria that never fails to get me, I thought of you, and the image I have of you in my mind, of you peeling a clementine, sitting there on the side, gazing down absently at the piece of fruit in your hands, family & all holiday else aswirl around you, and there you were, and who knows what you were thinking of

The lovely poised young woman with the exquisite soprano voice sang, and I couldn't help but respond (sympathetic vibrations), and think of you, peeling that incidental piece of fruit...

And darling, that's it for now. Many kisses.


Alfredo Catalani (Italian, 1864-1893), La Wally (composer)
Wilhelmenia Wiggins Fernandez, (American, b. 1949-) (soprano)

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