Image by StockSnap from Pixabay Poetry, like ballet, visual art, opera, and music, just to name a few, can enrich our life experience. Sometimes by enriching our experience of ourselves, as we allow ourselves deeper and wider emotions in the formal setting of theater, touring an art gallery, or quietly reading.
The following poem was written while I listened to a singer in a club, as he mesmerized the audience.
I noticed right away how rapt was their attention. No one moved, sipped at their drink, or murmured to a companion at those small tables.
I started writing immediately, in the notebook I always had ready in those days when spending time at a club or a cafe was a normal part of my life.
Today – erg! As soon as I woke up I knew I would just be – off. How did I know that?
Because I woke up at 6:30 instead of 5:30. Even with the window open, the noises didn’t wake me up.
Recently I read that bad writers overuse the words “just” and “even”. Especially women – can you believe that?
Even after (not to imply it’s over) the #MeToo movement, you’d think folks would just think a little before they just blurt out any old thing.
Another symptom of off – I just didn’t feel like doing my yoga.
My lazy twenty minutes I have been doing every morning, and feeling improvements in those tight hamstrings and psoas muscles – evidently is not enough reward for my driven quest to age more slowly.
I am just impatient.
I was going to write a post about the dark underbelly/pitfalls/sexism/body shaming/disordered eating of the ballet world, since the Sedona series deals with much of that – in order to -what?
Turn off every YA reader and aspiring young dance student?
I could just torture myself better by watching Flesh And Bones or The Black Swan again. That would kill off the day and half the night entirely and next thing – Monday morning!
I just want you to know that I got some control. I was determined to get off off.
I put on a guided meditation someone had just recommended to me yesterday. And I modified it for myself because I don’t believe in the tight/dominating/culty rules that dictate how you do these things.
I had been sitting down for five hours (with some small breaks like making more coffee which didn’t help too much. Or maybe it did, because I did put on the meditation).
I decided to get my pedometer, and walk on the spot while I followed the meditation.
After a few minutes of seeking then finding the right spot on my pajama top that would register my strides on the pedometer I knew I was on a win.
Yes! Pajamas after five hours! Another indication of off.
So this meditation guide was rambling on about inner space and outer space. O.K., I’ll go along.
Next, being aware of the space just around me. (Big mistake!)
It was then I noticed the dust. Because even as I was appreciating the sunlight streaming in from all that space outside, I was just gobsmacked at the dust around the television slash monitor and the DVD player and all that stuff.
I knew that was too much black, back when I moved in and some really decent furniture was offered to me. But, black.
While maintaining consciousness of the inner and outer galaxies, I ran for a dust cloth and – voila! All the sparkling dusty black was a nice matte again.
Even while staying engaged with the drone of the meditation guide, I got some of the paler surfaces dusted too.
Then I stretched a bit and looked down. At my dark blue yoga mat, the one I did not do yoga on earlier.
Where the *&^% did all that lint come from?
That will just teach me to file the mail without rolling the mat up. At least, if that lint was on the beige carpet I wouldn’t see it, just now.
Next the head space guru is talking about something that makes me think of Alice In Wonderland and I remember thinking that it could be a good writing prompt even, but now I’ve forgotten it.
It’s not like people stop while meditating and take notes, right?
Anyway, I ran for the stick vacuum and whew, it was charged. Voila – lint gone!
I just missed about thirty seconds of the spiritual guidance, not too bad.
And I was already feeling less off!
I decided to just grab those untouchable shopping bags, it now being 72 hours, that magic number (which keeps changing, OOF), since I had protected up and shopped, and get some of those wiped down products put away. Because – clutter! Distracting!
Aw! I just missed the ending of that meditation. Am I supposed to count myself up or something?
Oh! I just noticed that the blog word count is 666! I’m not superstitious but I just need a few more words to move away from more off.
So – just taking stock here.
No soul wracking references to Sedona’s challenging coma or trek into unknown places today – unless solar systems between your ears count.
There, I just sneaked that in, didn’t I?
(Word count now up to 736 minus this sentence two brackets and a period).
Neighbors aren’t at work these days, they thump around all night. Muffled, but. Closet doors slide, exhaust fans whir, and remain forgotten.
The thunder of distant game combat escapes from headphones.
Oh yeah, I know that one.
A Long History Of Stolen Sleep
Awake at 1:30, memories march out for inspection. Oh no, not that one. Was I really that weird as a teen?
I review the years with a tough teacher. Tough years. I couldn’t even talk to my family.
No wait, she wasn’t tough. She was a sadistic cold-hearted bitch. Really, do I mean that?
Wow that feels better! I think I can settle for smiling quietly, when dear old friends sing her praises. Not everyone was a mark.
My life changed in those moments. No, I wasn’t such a weird kid, I was very withdrawn for one school year. I think of it as my worst year, but I remember how hard I worked.
Up at 6:00 am performing extra exercises and stretches on that icy bedroom floor in the room under the eaves, shared with four other girls.
An actual historian has called the place “Dickensian”.
I stayed at school during Easter break (as it used to be called) to take a daily class with said sadist. I chose my place at the barre between two of her favorites, thereby becoming invisible.
I enjoyed the music and also became aware of the energy flow and ebb from said talented favorites and absorbed clues from them, as to how they timed their efforts in the difficult (bordering on sadistic) exercises.
It strikes me, at approximately 2:15 am (I try not to clock watch, but.) that neither of those teen stars ever danced a career in a professional company. One was hospitalized for anorexia, and was not heard from again, at school.
I ran into her walking up Jarvis Street in my grad year. She looked well, and gave me a good job tip. She succeeded in the business world. I never did.
But I danced.
The other born-to-dance teen star – you could always see the Swan Queen costume hovering around her body, like a ghost – was socially retiring. She danced in the corps de ballet (lowest status) for two years, again sticking out like a lost Odette/Odile, whatever costume she wore. Then she disappeared.
A legion of “I was so weird” memories vaporized. I wasweird for a while because I was young and did not understand manipulation from a person with a stone cold heart, who never should have been around children.
Mining The Ruins
During this hour of memory vetting, an idea began to grow. An idea for a character I would build, and a story.
And I realized I am mining the ruins. I’m finding nuggets.
In my deep abandoned mine with hidden and collapsed entrances, blocked off tunnels emanating toxic gases, and cavern floors strewn with the bodies of dead canaries, there is some authentic wreckage.
But not enough to “let the bastards get me down”. Not that dastardly a wreckage.
Back On Top Of The Earth’s Crust
The evening before, I had started an on line course for writers on developing a character. I already had a good idea of the one I would develop in the four weekly classes. And a story.
This morning while driving to my first job I saw a new sign placed at the first major intersection I pass.
“Weed Eating”. That refers to the herd of goats one sees around town (the town is still full of empty fields). These goats can do the Scorched Earth job on anyone’s property and seem to be perpetually employed.
No contact required. Drop off the goats, shut the gates. And I imagine the herd owner gets paid via one of the convenient digital venues, or by the post.
Receiving mail is troublesome. I open my post box every few days, pull out the mail with a glove covering, or a tissue. I drop it with glove or tissue, into a large shopping bag. It all sits inside my door for three days before I touch it again.
Even though I have a UVC wand for sanitizing, that is time consuming, and I know what’s in the mail before opening it, most of the time.
“Equipment Rental” is on a sign a little ways up the road from the busy intersection (deserted these days). It is a farm that normally has some activity in view of the “main artery” connecting to downtown. I don’t know what that farm does for income, but I have not seen that sign before.
Is renting the machines they usually work with a financial safety net right now? I imagine so.
There is the usual drive thru line up at Starbucks, of course. That is good, because there are jobs. Not everyone is in free fall.
My third, contact free, and non-essential job, I have been doing at home already. It is writing as an affiliate marketer.
The big venue, Amazon, while purportedly overwhelmed with orders, and therefore making more money than ever, has cut back its affiliates’ commissions from the highest, 10%, to 3% and 1%.
Shocker. Still reeling from that one. I think that my sticking with it since the last commission slash, is perhaps a symptom of the Stockholm Syndrome.
I am feeling dull today, with the overcast sky and my care client going back to bed.
I cleaned the kitchen, quietly, just me and the buzz of the fluorescent tubes in the tiny kitchen ceiling. Plus the crackling fireplace on Youtube, in the front room.
The fridge weighed in, intermittently.
This spring is long and gloomy. The pandemic has brought distrust and anger, to the surface from the swamp it’s been festering under.
Here, however, it is quiet, not-in-your-face. It is dreamlike, disconnected.
There are jokes on the radio – “do you know what day it is?”
I saw some on Facebook too, with dogs, kittens, tiny pigs and babies, all speaking for us.
I can walk through the day’s tasks and get ’em done.
It’s like I’m standing still, and someone is rolling the scenery.
I imagine that’s what it’s like for Sedona, our surfer girl in pointe shoes. She concludes she is in a drug-induced coma, after the shark attack.
And the scenery that is rolling by is really interesting!
How is your isolation going? Ever feel a little disconnected? In free fall?
I write on various sites and some of the material is marketing products that help you lower your carbon footprint. Sometimes that feels like one step forward two steps back, in this prolonged pandemic.
There are many ways this can be done.
I have promoted products like bar shampoo/conditioners. For men and women. Oh and the luscious scents! And cheap, organic, boxed in cardboard – and no plastic bottles!
Glass or metal water bottles, most recently some with a UV C light on the lid, to sanitize your water.
A counter top or under the counter water filter – stop buying your water in bottles of any kind!
Yet recently I have bought a total of five hundred disposable plastic gloves, a couple of boxes of fold-over sandwich bags (in case I run out of gloves), and plastic wrap to shroud my keyboard and mouse with when I process mail.
See what I mean – one step forward two steps back?
I haven’t bought plastic wrap for years! I converted to glass food tubs, some with plastic tops. No more baggies for storing food away, then binning them.
No plastic shopping bags, as of years ago.
So What’s Up Now?
You can’t bring your own shopping bags into the stores. Even though you keep them in the top of the shopping cart, which you have sprayed all over with your own sanitizer (the stores only spray the cart handle for you). Nope.
And I can see why as I shop and note the silent revolutionaries who won’t wear a mask, or gloves, and almost brush past you, an inch from touching. I bet there is a shot gun racked in the back of their pick up cab.
Sedona is transported involuntarily and suddenly to a pristine world. What’s not to like!
A world where the smell of fabric softener on the beach towel she is wrapped in initiates a hostile relationship. Twitter bullying she is used to. But this female antagonist is capable of taking her out – and she tries!
Using and throwing away plastic products every day during this quarantine, makes me think of the scene in Sedona (working title) where she throws an expensive new party dress into a tree shredder in a fit of self pity.
“Your best friend and your boyfriend are going to stay on a kibbutz for the entire summer and you are remaining here?” I never gave it another thought once I got what she (Mom) was hinting at. I mean, he always made it very clear that I was the love of his life – his soul mate! And besides, like I said, Trish’s family is sooooo Jewish and she’d stated her whole life she could never be romantically interested in a boy who wasn’t.
Well it seems Camden took care of that little Jewish detail. Not only did he convert to Judaism on the kibbutz over the summer, not only did they get engaged, but he got circumcised in Tel Aviv to seal the deal and didn’t know he was getting a serious infection when they boarded the plane to head home! Engaged! What the hell!
I sit stonily as Trish cries her heart out. Then Tag starts bawling. What else already! I feel like my pores are bleeding tears but my eyes are dry. Shouldn’t I be the one in wailing, sobbing distress? It is the love of my life near death!
Tag melting down! Really?
Trish doesn’t even notice – she is so lost in her own drama. Calm, sweet, loyal, methodical Trish… Who knew that she was really a scheming, selfish, self-centered bitch all along, just biding her time, waiting for her opportunity to trash my life! New name: Trash!
“And if he dies it’s all your fault!” I want to scream at her, but my throat is as frozen as my tear ducts.
He gags, then vomits into a nearby trashcan, shuddering and heaving. Am I going to puke next? Hello Sedona! No one cares! He wants HER!
They both want her!
I don’t exist!
Defiant, I head for Cam anyway, but Tag again pulls me back, face now red and puffy. “Don’t, Doni. Let’s go home.”
Just as well I am in too much shock to like screw up and crash on the PCH. I drive on automatic brain function.
When I pull into our driveway, a tree-trimming team is chipping branches. I toss the fancy bag with the designer dress into the screaming mulching machine. Sequins and pearls bounce, flashing in the sunlight. Tree guys drop jaws.”
Sedona is aware there is lots of waste in her privileged life. It rankles her, this social survivor’s guilt.
I and my friends are not privileged people like Sedona is, living on the beach in Malibu CA.
We’re not justice warriors or tree huggers gazing out the tall windows of mansions or villas.
We’re Ordinary People who have stopped using plastic bags, disposable plastic tubs, who have switched to highly concentrated detergents, or – bar shampoos/conditioners in cardboard boxes.
I haven’t had so much plastic in my trash for a long time.
I guess the focus should be to stay alive and well so we can catch up later.