Sunday, July 31, 2005

Especially If

Well, I finally got to see Karly and Steven and the new baby, Mira, for about 10 minutes on Friday night just as they were about to leave town the next morning. Frustrating gone-wrong communications, conflicting schedules and a "I felt as if I'd been out head-banging to PIL all day rather than working" headache on Friday evening kept me from hanging out with them for any substantial period of time. Serves me right for not taking my glasses w/ me to the "office".

Precious Mira at 5 mos. is, well, divine (sorry - she is.) Holding her for a few moments was potent tonic, indeed. I can't help but love a kid in a peace sign snuggly who lit up everytime I let out my rather boisterous laugh. She's got some spunk, that one. With her parents, it was inevitable. Can't help but be a little disappointed that I missed out on more time with those three and the rest of the old crew but it was what it was. They'll be back around or I'll make it to Philly eventually.

Watched "Six Degrees of Separation" yet again last night. I love that movie -- I've never read it as a play or seen it staged, so it's a movie to me. It's very multi-layered (i.e. smart and well-written.) At the end of it I take away the same thing (where's my better word brain today?) as always -- that when we allow ourselves to be affected by the suffering of others (or just one other) and truly respond that, we are the ones in the end who stand a damn good chance of being are transformed for the better. Maybe I'm talking out of my proverbial arsh here but I don't think so. Some people need to fully experience their own suffering before they can be affected by anyone else's. Others do it the other way around. Some never do it at all. In the flick, a good number of that third group may have remained sitting at the dinner party. Hard to tell on the surface with anyone. Especially if that surface is the one dimensional celluloid -smile.

Phew, am I philosophical today.

That dream I wrote about - the one in which I died - wow! The more I get into The Book of Job and other investigations into the nature of reality (god bless you, William Carlos Williams) - the more grateful I am for even the smallest of things. Hey, haven't I addressed that recently in a small poem about small prayers?

Got reminded of Albert Ellis this morning! What a trip those old films of RET were. Damn.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Well hell

given that humility is no excuse for a good personality and people still keep confusing me with a 30 year old drummer whose got a much snazzier life than me, i've posted a picture of my "real" external self on my profile. pay to mind to the fact that it hawks my little column. this is purely a coincidence. it's too darn bad i don't have the computer skills to draw that big brain machine from the last pic on this one - i stand by that concept.

karly & steven in town. cool.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Like Common Sense by Thomas Paine?

Spent a good portion of yesterday indoors attempting to beat the heat. When I did venture out to walk down here to the library, I was amused by how the clouds directly over head resembled those of us crazy enough to be outside. They were weary, weighted and wilting. Poor things. Poor us.

While holed up in my apartment, I caught an amusing broadcast of "The Infinite Mind" on the subject of Writer's Block. I'm always irked by those annoying sots who claim that WB does not exist just because they've never experienced it. Hell, on the broadcast even Joyce"I write in my sleep" Carol Oates (Laura's clever nickname for her - not mine) admitted that once when she was 17 she couldn't write for 46 minutes. Fran Lebowitz, as always, was outrageously funny and most "helpful" as one of contemporary America's most celebrated victims of blockdom. Said she was fundamentally lazy (very hard thing to admit in this workaholic culture), a chronic procrastinator who would much rather talk than write and that her publisher had finally gotten her to commit to a write another book by telling her it could be a "short" one.

The topic of the short book that was decided on was Progress (I can't recall why). Fran said she found this pretty embarrassing (no doubt) so in order to justify it a little bit she asked the Knopf guy "Oh you mean like Common Sense by Thomas Paine?" God love her. So this book was supposed to be out last spring and in closing the interview the IM guy asked her when, in fact, we could expect to see it on the bookstore shelves. Lebowitz, the chronic procrastinator and she-wit supreme, told him, "Oh, in two months."

Can't wait. I would never teach a child to smoke either.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Crucial to that Understanding

I received a lovely compliment on my guitar playing this afternoon. Thanks, Miquel (sp). The truth is my playing is pefectly awful but when you begin your career practicing on a ukalelee (sp?)your grandmother sent you from Hawaii, you pretty much have a good deal of relearning to do in terms of technique.

Had a very enlightening dream last night. I was in a car that was driving itself in circles and my body was paralyzed. I knew the car was going to be crashing into these gates that resemble the ones you jump while horseback (do those have a special name? did I ever know that?) I kept trying to get my foot to move toward and push down on the brake pedal but it would not. Miraculously, the car jumped over the gates and I was saved. I knew I had been given a wonderful break (!). But when the car finally stopped, I could not breathe and a clear liquid that turned into what could only be described as weighted bubbles began to come out of my mouth and I realized I was dying. There was no white light, no joy - granted I was not yet dead. Just fear and what I felt was a true understanding of the nature of what death truly ist. I'm keeping that part to myself.

Man, the book I'm reading now, Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak by Jean Hatzfeld is a profoundly confusing but insightful. I concur with Susan Sontag who wrote in the introduction that understanding what happened in Rwanda is a moral imperative and this book is crucial to that understanding.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

About the New Picture.....

I know it's not as flattering as the last one but the doctor insisted on taking it because he wanted to put it in my file. I figured I might as well go ahead and get the nurse to email me a copy.

Prognosis is good.

An Even Smaller Prayer

Within 24 Months

You all told me I was beautiful so I slept with you (filmmaker,
attorney, America's poet-on-call and doctor of mathematics.)

I've been told this is something only boys are supposed to admit.

Guess what? Now you are all inside an antique hat box on a shelf
in the back of my bedroom closet. I've sculpted and baked you
into small figurines and rubber-banded you to perfectly penned
thank you notes offering my appreciation for each brief shelter
from my solitary storm.

I mean a lonely girl struggling with the proverbial themes of love,
longing, grief and despair is damned grateful for whatever small
comforts she receives in such a seemingly cold world.

Every morning, before coffee or clothes, I creep into the closet,
pull the box down from it's hiding place, and hold my sweet breath
while I take off the lid. I unband you from your cards, re-read my
words, kiss you all in the most frail spot I can remember and say
to myself that the past keeps telling us what the future is about.

This small practice of acknowledged imperfection has become an
even smaller prayer. Father, please love us, for we know not what we do?

copyright 2005 "megdoeswords"

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

I Still Watch the Night

We got what my neighbor, Wade, comicly refered to as "bibled" yesterday afternoon. I came out last evening to go to a staff meeting at work and there was a small copy of the New Testament on the front porch.

It's rather rude to try and thrust one's spirtual beliefs on another person. The timing was certainly ironic. The night before I had gone to hear a talk at the public library by Cecile Nyiramana, a survivor of the Rwandan genocide and member of Women in Dialogue.

Afterward, I was standing around with a few of the usual suspects... the leftist, peace activist, been-around the-protest-block Iowa City crowd. Eventually the conversation got around to the horrible problem of evangelicalism and how much cruelty and suffering has been and is caused in the name of the righteous. After pondering this thought for a brief moment in silence, this one woman, Quinn, shook her head and said, "Poor God." That about summed it up.

There is a small amount of irony to the being "bibled" thing. As I seem to be so captivated by the topic of suffering these days, it reminded me I've been wanting to check out the Book of Job. We got "bibled" a copy of the New Testament, of course, (most Jews are as miserable as me, therefore, would never be bothered dumping off such things).

One last thing, on the suffering deal. My dear father - 36 years ago tonight - shook me out of bed and made me go watch those boys walk on the moon. I don't think he ever let my brother and me miss a single astronomical "happening". Miss ya', Dad. I still watch the night -- it's mostly where I get my God on.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

That was mine!!

I've used this forum before to confess my fondness for Vanity Fair magazine. I've been entirely forthright about the fact that I only read it at the library or when a gratis copy falls into my lap. Yesterday I broke that contract with myself and I paid for a copy of the glossy "be rich or feel like crap" rag. Worse still, the reason was because I couldn't stop myself from reading about poor Martha Stewart and how "hideous" her house arrest is at her 13 million dollar estate. The poor dear has to wear a very painful "ankle bracelet" which she admits to knowing how to remove (apparently you can google such things). I rather like the image of Ms. Martha attempting to deshackle herself with a little cocktail spear and, perhaps, some saddle softening oinment. What a picture of a good girl gone bad. You gotta love a willful woman trying to solve a problem.

You know what? The piece did not give me the perverse thrill of sanctimony or self-righteousness that I had hoped for. The old girl came off as rather sad and I had a lot of empathy for her. I also realized how much we had in common. Martha was and is much more successful than I ever was and according to some very reliable sources capable of some pretty cruel stuff but we both like the same kind of things -- good food, nice interiors and socializing. Hell, maybe she even just got some bad advice on that stock thing?

Wait a minute. I'm doing that thing I do again. You know what I really think? Martha Stewart got greedy and she got caught. The "she got jacked because she was a woman thing" is too easy. Anybody who knows me knows I'd be the first one to argue that case if I thought it's bell had a chance to ring a note of truth.

The writer of the article wanted me to felt empathy for MS and that's not a bad thing. The ability to be naive is a wonderful thing I wish I could suspend my disbelief more often. The best writers leave you with no doubt. That I was so sympathetic to Stewart for the past 24 speaks well for the author. I wish I could rememer his name (I'm almost positive it was a "him".) I note the irony of this entire argument in that I'm a writer.

On a lighter note, the damned Dominick Dunne (sp?) seems to be reading my blog too. He was comparing Tom Cruise's recent behavior to his character in Magnolia in VF. Damnit, that was mine!!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

August Manners Sneak Preview

pick up the Iowa Source (it's free)!!

Dear Meg,

I'm not sure if this necessarily qualifies as a manners question. per se, but I was curious as to whether or not there is any etiquette to the issue of energy conservation. I read an article recently in the The New York Times called "Shivering for Luxury" about how more expensive stores are kept much cooler in the summer than lower priced ones so shoppers would stay longer and spend more money. That seemed kind of sneaky to me. This got me to thinking more about the whole issue of waste and conservation in general. What do you say?


Dear Tony,

I read the same article. If I recall correctly, it pointed out that for each lowered degree on the thermastat an additional 8 percent of energy is consumed. That's no small potatoes if you're talking about a 10 degree difference between, say, Hermes at 66 degrees and a small locally owned grocery store hanging in at 76. Math is hardly my area of expertise but I think that means the big H is using 80 percent more energy than the poor little grocer?

It might be easy to argue that it's rude to make a customer uncomfortable but that's a rather short-sighted, not to mention, self-serving argument. On my best days I try to view my own actions against what has come to be known as the "Seven Generations" test. This is a standard adapted from a constitution written more than 500 years ago by the Iroquois nation, a confederation of Native American peoples suggesting we must always try to be aware of the consequences of our actions since they are but a part of an interdependent web. If an activity is sustainable, it can go on forever without compromising the ability of future generations to lead a quality life. Since the process of determining if an act is sustainable is always based on the information at hand, we must continually reevaluate our actions.

I would say that keeping thermastats at home and work well above 70 degress is surely part of attempting to live a sustainable lifestyle and good manners, to boot. This said, I going to get a bit heavy on you this month and tell you our nation's over-dependence on private cars (especially gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles) is threatening our planet and children's children lives times 5 much more than keeping our thermastats too low. Don't get me wrong, every little bit helps and it's good form to do everything within your personal power to care for the environment. "You must add your light to the sum of light" as Leo Tolstoy once wrote. These words are rumored to have originated in the Gospel of Matthew. I'm afraid I know even less about the bible than mathematics.

In any case, a more recent article in The Times indicates that America's still increasing pool of more than 200 million autos swallows up more than11 percent of the world's daily oil output. While the rest of the world has increased it use of oil a mere 19 percent since the last big oil crisis of 1973, our consumption has gone up 35 percent. Yikes.

David J. O'Reilly, CEO and Chairman of Texas-based oil behemoth Chevron, a strong proponent of drilling for oil in in the Artic Wildlife Preserve and forging countries such as Angola, Nigeria, Algeria and Libya whose populations have been historically ravaged by war and human rights abuses (very bad manners, btw), readily admits it took humanity 125 years to consume a mere trillion barrels of crude while the next trillion will probably be used up in only 35 years. Mr. O'Reilly's doesn't sound too worried about this, however, because he believes "there is plenty of room to play". I don't know about you, Tony, but I enjoy a game of scrabble or taboo and tossing the frisbee with my niece but the things these oil big wigs are proponents of don't sound like all that much fun to me. To be specific and to answer your question more directly, they sound wasteful, not very well thought out and as far from the idea of conservation as possible. To be fair, I doubt Mr. O' Reilly or any of his colleagues took their respective career paths because they necessarily concur with my particular enviromental philosophies.

I hope this response does not read like one of those all too common blog rants or, even worse, make me sound like an AM radio talk show host who has had a spot too much caffeine and possesses far too many uninformed opinions for their own good. If so, I apologize. Thank you ever so much for the question, however. I am thrilled to have an opportunity to address an issue I care so much about and I hope I've been helpful. Stay cool -- within reason, of course.



Thursday, July 14, 2005

Great Pictures & The Same A Train

I especially love the mighty Mississppi themed ones. That house boat on the ice looks quite inviting about now. I'm far too tempted today to write about wanting to throw up about the Bushes leedle tour through Rwanda or how much I miss my ex-boyfriend at the moment, so I'm sharing good art instead.

I managed to shrink down the Eggplant Essay to 800 words and be rather pleased with the results (did I mention I was working on that?). My editor liked them as well. Now I'm going to set myself to the task of making it longer again, expanding it's new focus which is sort of about focus. Writing is an odd thing, really -- you can take an old food article that was around 2000 words and in 4 days end up with a piece about death, angels, the illusion of time, mad apples, growing up and zen. Go figure.

Now that I've met two deadlines, I suppose I have no choice but to clean out my refrigerator, do my recycling and vacuum my apartment.

One question I wish to ask the eletronic ether -- how come it seems like whenever I write about someone and post it, here within a week, Terry Gross is interviewing him or her on her show?Iggy Pop today, I swear. I had no idea he was making a comeback. Does he have a new record out? I live in a sort of mass media isolation. I read a wide range of e-generated weeklies but mostly for the news and opinions. I pick up music tips from friends or movies. Anyway, sorry, talented as he may be, he's still a big stooge. Admittedly I only heard him for about 6 minutes of the show but it really seemed like enough. Perhaps, I'll give him another listen tonight at 7.

Damn, Damn, Damn, the Weekly World News (the best newspaper in america!) is swiping ideas from me too, btw. The issue this week has an inset piece about "ordinary" people who have the same name as real celebrities. Oddly, one of them was a guy named Ricky Ricardo (nice) and, again - I swear, all last month I was walking around muttering "eye-yie-yie"(sp?) to myself whenever something ran amok or was obviously ridiculous. It seems that some sneaky freelancer for the WWN is not only reading my blog and swiping my ideas but rides on the same consciousness A train that I'm a-taking as well.

None of this matters, of course, because the Moon is going to explode in 6 months creating tons of fun for all the Armageddonists. It's true, it was the cover story.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

57 Minutes Ago?

okay, i'm not a real big fan of french culture but on the "hope is a virtue" theme - i like this. hell, patti got dumped by former literary & film bad boy sam shepherd. oh dear, now that's just a little too familiar. oh well, way to go bad ass girl!

France Honors Punk Rocker Patti Smith
49 minutes ago

PARIS - U.S. punk rocker Patti Smith received one of France's top cultural honors on Sunday.

Smith, 58, was presented with the insignia of Commander of the Order of the Arts and Letters by Culture Minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres.

The ministry, in a statement, noted Smith's appreciation for 19th century French poet Arthur Rimbaud, and praised her as "one of the most influential artists in women's rock 'n' roll."
Speaking to The Associated Press at an concert in southwestern Paris, where she received the award Sunday, Smith said she accepted the award "from the most spiritual side of me."

"I have vowed to live up to this honor in my work and my conduct," she said. "I can't explain what I feel like. It has uplifted me, and I will work very hard to earn it."

In an interview published Sunday in Le Parisien Dimanche weekly, Smith said she hoped to record a new album including hits from artists like Bob Dylan and late French diva Edith Piaf.

Just Stuff

What a piece of crap that last post was. Holier-than-thou am I? I didn't write anything I don't ulitmately mean but as I reread those words today they strike me as so friggin' righteous. Just felt the need to admit that to the cyberworld.

Boy, those London bombings just keep playing into the hands of George the Lesser (never thought that was a possibility, did ya?)'s agenda. My friend, Andy threw my old friend Occam's Razor at me when I posed this theory. I propose my theory works fits with that simplicity principle quite well, thank you very much.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Who's Boss

I hate to say it but I wouldn't be surprised if Cheney, Bush, Rumsfield, et. al, didn't in some way have a hand in showing Tony Blair and the EU just who's boss today as the G8 summit began in Scotland. A number of economists have been predicting that the EU are positioning themselves to become the next superpower and Blair's been a little lippy of late with George Junior. Who sleeps closest to whom in the vaults of the World Bank or on the shelves of the IMF is nothing to take the least bit unseriously - seriously!

Meanwhile, I missed John Doe but I heard it was great show. I've been on one of my summer reading marathons but the library is about to knock me off the clock so I'll spare you the list. I'm doing a few movies too. Watched "The Limey" for the 95th time last night. Jesus, Peter Fonda is so dispicably good in that movie. I mean good at being dispicable. I did finally read Joyce Maynard's book on her non-consumated affair with JD Salinger. What a sad, perverse story - maybe I'll write more later. I've lost internet access again.

2 minute warning. Bye!