Monday, April 28, 2014

Future Sightings

Mr. Noodles, the gorilla in question (actually, I think he's
a chimpanzee, but I'm not in charge of him.)

There's nothing like an afternoon in the sunshine watching your daughter play soccer with her stuffed gorilla on the sidelines dressed up as the team mascot in a spare uniform to make you know it is really spring, even if the wind is cold enough that your hands ache for an hour afterwards.

Reading: Chapters for writers group. I'm happy to say it was the first time in a while that reading someone else's pages has made me eager to get back to mine.

Writing: Nope.

Dinner: At writer's group, cheese and salami and Lebanese green beans. When I got home, the salad and corn and part of a corn dog that was waiting for me. I probably could have made do with only one of these, but they were both so lovingly prepared.

Soundtrack: In the kitchen, dancing with Z's arms wrapped around me, her cheek pressed into my back between my shoulder blades, to "CC Rider" by Old Crow Medicine Show. She swayed with me and held me tight and we danced for far longer than if it were just a casual hug then parted wordlessly. And not 15 minutes later O and I embraced and shuffled to "Future Sightings" by I Am The World Trade Center.

Random thing: I write about birds a lot here, I've noticed. Something streamlined and fierce looking with sharply folding wings and a chittery cry lives near the train tracks behind the soccer field we were on today. About the size of mourning dove, but not soft or plump like that. If art deco designers made birds, this is the bird they would make.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

A new place to dwell

The Floating Dolls (a Polish Folktale)
You should make plans to come see my play. (/selfpromotion)

For the first time in a long time, I am actively part of putting on a play, a play I wrote, and it is very, very gratifying. There's other stuff I've written in the past whatever length of time that I've handed over and not been a big part of putting on stage, and that's fine too, but I'm reconnecting to why I loved theater in the first place. The collaborative building of art is a grand thing, and Talespinner does it particularly well. Rehearsals kick off with presentations by all the creative and acting company members on their take, whatever it may be, of the script. So much great stuff flying around, and as the writer it is so satisfying to hear people really getting what I was doing when I wrote it. I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes.

Reading: I got a book of Japanese children's stories illustrated by Yoshisuke Kurosaki to show at presentations. When I was writing the script, I went looking for these illustrations. They were in my mind somewhere and when I found them online I was pleased to discover they actually existed. It was only when picking up the physical copy of the book at Loganberry yesterday that I remembered that this book had been in the playroom at my grandparents' house when I was little.

Writing: No, but rehearsal counts. And now I know better some of the scripting that still needs done.

Dinner: Pizza with the kids who are back from spring break Wolfkamp, catching up on Agents of Shield. One with wide ("sandwich") pepperoni, kalamata olives, and mushrooms. One with mushrooms, mild pepper rings, and green onions.

Soundtrack: Because I have been away from here for a while I have missed the opportunity to write about my recent obsession with the album Sticky Fingers by The Rolling Stones. But after a recent road trip to deposit the kids in the fairy wonderland of Southeastern Ohio that disk got tucked away somewhere so it' out of rotation for the moment.

Yesterday, driving home from the theater I grabbed a CD case at random and wound up with Elvis Presley's first album. This is a late 90s re-release so it starts with "Heartbreak Hotel," which is not how the actual album started (the read first song was "Blue Suede Shoes"). But never mind that.

When I was pregnant with Calvin, I would drive to school every morning singing Elvis songs to him, and this was one of the ones I sang the most. I've known this song for as long as I can remember, but that was the first time I made a study of it, really imitating the breath (young Elvis was killer at the exquisite hitched breath) and changes in dynamics. I'm not really a singer, but in the car with my unborn child, I was Elvis's greatest interpreter. I have a distinct memory of singing this song at the top of my voice early on a grey January morning in 2001, rounding the curve by the parking lot on Kenilworth -- "Well, though it's always crowded, you still can find some room where broken hearted lovers can cry away their gloom" -- on my way to grad classes, my belly full of the future. It was a moment when I was truly complete and happy and knew that I was. Between songs I would explain to the life growing in me how important it was to appreciate Elvis and give it other tips on being human.

When Calvin was stillborn this was one of the greatest sources of pain to me. I couldn't listen to Elvis for a long time (Elvis and Wilco's Mermaid Avenue album were both hard). It took me back to that moment too intensely. It made the loss, not just of Calvin, but of the entire version of my life that he was a part of, too stark. I've come back to Elvis since then, and when I drive that stretch of Kenilworth I think of that moment fondly, but yesterday in the car was the first time in more than 13 years that I have sung it like that, full out with the joy of finding myself in sync with that crazy genius voice, feeling completely at home in myself. Writing this makes me cry. I hadn't realized that was a wound I still carry.

Random thing: We have a young male cardinal who has claimed our back yard this spring. The narrative I tell myself is that is the offspring of the cardinal couple that made a home at our fence line for several years running (or so I have imagined). Whoever he is he's very full of himself and sings with incredible verve and volume. I think I will name him Elvis.