Archive for May, 2012

why be happy / are you my mother

Yes, they are both meditative middle-aged memoirs by great lesbian writers. Both dramatize the writer’s complicated relationship with her mother and both name-drop Woolf and Winnicott all over the damn place. And YES YOU HAVE TO READ THEM BOTH. I don’t care. Cancel your calls.

Henry James did no good when he said that Jane Austen wrote on four inches of ivory – i.e. tiny observant minutiae. Much the same was said of Emily Dickinson and Virginia Woolf. These things made me angry.

I love them at least in part because the NY Times gave Bechdel a shitty review that boils down to “These women! How dare they think their inner lives are interesting?” Therefore reading these books is exactly the same as jabbing a burnt stick into the eyes of the Four Boresmen of the Aborecalypse (Mailer, Bellow, Roth and Updike. Could those guys HAVE more cockish names?) And if that doesn’t make you want to read them I don’t know what will.

I was very often full of rage and despair. I was always lonely. In spite of all that I was and am in love with life.

I remember curling up in Books Upstairs in Dublin, right outside the gates of Trinity College, and reading Dykes to Watch Out For like it was going to save my life. I can’t have been in Ireland for more than a week. And I never connected with Winterson in the same way; I’ve never even seen Oranges. But this book! This book. It took me apart.

I know these are ways of surviving, but maybe a refusal, any refusal, to be broken lets in enough light and air to keep believing in the world – a dream of escape.

nerdcore theology

Me: “Those people totally had it coming. I was within my rights to kill them with my laser beam eyes.”

Jeremy: “Uh huh.”

Me: “If God didn’t want me to kill people with my laser beam eyes, he wouldn’t have given me laser beam eyes.”

Jeremy: “Do you have laser beam eyes?”

Me: “…no.”

we’re pretty badass

aIMG_6646 by k0re
aIMG_6646, a photo by k0re on Flickr.

my little pony: friendship is magic

aIMG_6717 by k0re
aIMG_6717, a photo by k0re on Flickr.

Bells was a witch today, for Reasons, but by Grabthar’s hammer I am fond of this mare.

a weekend in the country

I booked the hotel months ago, but I realized on Friday night I never got around to buying eclipse glasses. By Friday night they seemed sold out throughout Northern California. Tears and recriminations ensued. On the bright side, during the make-up family hug, Claire said: “I took it out on Julia but I was actually mad at you,” which is a pretty sophisticated bit of emotional insight for a 9yo. The next morning I called Scope City as soon as they opened, and before I said hello the man on the other end said “We have a shipment of eclipse glasses arriving at 11.30am.” I laughed and said “We’ll be there,” and we were.

Christmas saved, we drove to Chico to see Tina and JD. Chico has dammed its river and built a swimming area around it.

There are so many storybook-style houses, it looks like the freakin Shire. It’s gorgeous. My daydream now is to be writer-in-residence at Chico State.

In Redding we saw the Sundial Bridge. What can I say? I’ve wanted to see it ever since I knew it existed. It sits on a bend in the Sacramento, with the snow-streaked Cascades to the north and trees all around. It’s a cantilever spar cable-stayed bridge, so its modernity stabs you with its sharp gnomon. What I didn’t know is that it also has Spanish ceramic mosaic all around the dial and down into the plaza at its base, so it feels like Parc Guell had a love baby with a James Turrell earthwork.

There’s a big science museum right there, too, so we got to watch the animal show with an iguana and a black vulture and a turkey vulture and a red-tailed hawk and a Stellar’s jay and a porcupine called Spike and a raccoon and a grey fox and a barn owl called Cricket and two cockatoos. Claire was the audience volunteer for the Stellar’s jay. She was given a hat with antlers and the jay perched on her head!

And then we hung out in the plaza under the bridge until the moon ate the sun, and we watched it through our eclipse glasses.

And it was epic. At totality, everyone clapped and cheered.

We drove all the way back. We had dinner in Williams, which is literally a cowtown. Our restaurant prides itself on cutting its own sides of beef, and is decorated with the brands – as in branding-iron brands – of local cattle ranches. The garlic bread was a mountain of garlic and butter on a baguette. J and I still smell of garlic 24 hours later.

the avengers

I am so not Hollywood’s demographic any more. A good way to annoy me is to pretend to blow up the Very Large Array and Grand Central Station and the New York Public Library. I’ve had enough explosions in Manhattan to last several lifetimes, thanks. But there was a fun ragtag-band-of-misfits story in there somewhere. Thor is adorable – I keep calling Jeremy to say in my best baritone “DO I LOOK TO BE IN A GAMING MOOD” – and I could have watched three hours of Tony/Bruce and Clint/Natasha casually invading one another’s personal space. To me there is more jeopardy in an exchange of looks than in a nuclear missile. I am so not Hollywood’s demographic any more.

happy mother’s day!

watching avatar, the last airbender

Claire: In real life there would be tons more benders. There would be over a hundred benders.

Jeremy: Technically it’s using “element” in a different sense.

Rachel: No! I’m with Claire! I wanna be a uranium bender!

Jeremy: I’d be a tungsten bender.

the children make their own dinner

We have a rice cooker – we bought it after the first Cambridge trip, when a rice cooker saved our lives – and last night I’d shown Claire how to make a cup of white rice with a pinch of salt, a glug of olive oil and a cinnamon stick.

There were leftover sausages, which Claire cut up.

Julia made Julia Salad:

A grated carrot
Corn kernels
Torn-up nori

Julia has a glass of milk, Claire is drinking mineral water and I am kicking back with a cold Marlborough sauvignon blanc. It’s a beautiful evening, the door’s open to the terrace, the Daleks are on the telly and all’s right with the world.

what’s amazing about bella

…is that these days I ride her on the lightest imaginable contact with the lightest imaginable aids, and yet when Sonya says “lengthen!” and I ask invisibly for a lengthened stride, Sonya then says “good!”

I used to haul this mare around like a school horse, and now I hold her in my hands like she is made of spun crystal, and she does not put a single hoof wrong. I sink into the saddle in front of fences and feel her locking on five strides out. “Everyone chill out, I got this,” she says. I soar. I am a hawk.