Saturday, January 05, 2008

We are cocooning and being disgustingly domestic and relaxed and happy, in our sweat pants and wool socks, eating meatloaf for breakfast, tapping away at our laptops, or painting, or playing music, or watching movies. I feel like I could be snowed in like this with C for months and not get bored. I’d emerge on the other end, pale and flabby with a full-length play and a bunch of paintings; meanwhile, he’d have built a whole addition to the house which would be turned into a sound studio/performance space, and fitted it out with equipment he ordered on-line.

It’s gray and wet and nasty outside—high winds closed several bridges, and there’s even been thunder and lightning plus torrents of rain. Inside we’ve been playing Bobby McFerrin and Eva Cassidy and Tuck & Patti and Eliza Gilkyson and C has been accompanying the CDs with guitar or piano and I’ve been singing along.

Right now he’s hacking away on the computer trying to help me apply for an NEA grant—the deadline’s not till March, but it’s good to start these things early. The web site is impenetrably lousy—it’s like a nightmare labyrinth which you enter as a little mouse, wanting the cheese that is the cash grant at the center. You end up chasing your own tail, scurrying through the virtual corridors for hours and not getting anywhere. I wonder if this is the government’s way of eliminating people. I know the grants are very competitive and I am not going to count on winning one, but, as G would say, it wouldn’t suck. I’d especially love it if See How We Almost Fly got taken, and then I could focus on writing a bunch of new odes to flesh out Sustain.

The Marie Antoinette play is inching forward and then I start revising the old play about the grocery store…

At breakfast, we talked about master’s degrees. I don’t have any—I’ve been a B.A. backdoor kind of girl all my working life--but I think about getting two; one in human development/psychology/criminology, and another one in scriptwriting. I don’t know that one learns scriptwriting in an academic setting, though. It seems more something you learn by just writing them, and maybe workshops and private classes and tutorials. As a professor’s daughter, the urge to get more letters after my name was imprinted early, but I’ve resisted it all my life because academia feels too cut off from regular life, and I know I learn best by the seat of my own pants. Still, I wonder if it would open doors…

We finally watched Volver last night—good movie! (Though I still like All About My Mother best.) Penelope Cruz is such a dish, absolutely ravishing, funny, sexy, and down-to-earth. Now I want to rent The Wire because Tony Kushner raved about it in an advertisement in The New Yorker.

I had a nice long talk with my darling Carla today—what’s great is that our conversation ranges from the deep and emotional—what do you want to do before you die? How do we shut down or open up in the face of deep feeling? –to the raucously funny, to the topical—How about that Iowa caucus? This whole journey with her and ALS is—or can be—an amazing lesson about feeling deeply and letting go. Moments of fear or grief (or in my case, numbness and denial) come up, but so do moments of tenderness, and often, Carla being Carla, deep humor.

Meanwhile I notice how when other people cry I shut down. Other people at the meeting cried—even the men cried—but I didn’t. Instead I went home and wept on C’s shoulder. Which caused him to start weeping in empathy—he cries more easily than I do—and then we both laughed because we were wiping our noses on each other’s shirts.

Two last words: pomegranate wine. From Armenia. Delicious.

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

Glad you finally caught Volver. I knew you'd like it! And All About My Mother is probably my favorite Almodovar film, too.

Hang in there, through the damp and the dark and the cold and grief. And keep writing!

XO