Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My friend's 50th birthday ritual went off beautifully, with a couple dozen friends and family rolling seeds into little clay balls. The clay is supposed to protect the seeds from being eaten by birds, also to weigh them down so that they sink into the earth rather than get blown into the ocean. We were down by the port of Oakland, in the sun and wind, singing, rolling, eating...it really was a ritual, meaning a certain amount of work, of pilgrimage to get there. Three million seeds. Three million. It took hours and hours to roll them all. And none of us knew how it would come together, including the birthday girl.

I was honored to be a Seed Singer along with Bethie and Hadas; we took up our places in the center of the earth spiral and sang our hearts out. Hebrew songs, Beatles tunes, and Michael Row the Boat Ashore. We leaned in close to each other to hear the notes, our voices were surprisingly strong and the wind did not drown us out.

The sun appeared, disappeared, reappeared. I kept putting on and taking off my sweater. We watched a huge freight ship from China unloading goods with a crane. Probably cheap clothes made in factories by slave labor. Now that the U.S. banks have been bailed out using more loan money from the Chinese, how long before the cheap goods made with slave labor are heading the other way?

The next day I picked up my Little Sister--we made chocolate chip cookies. She baked a gigantic one for C, on the theory that he's the man. When we had washed my car the other week, she insisted on washing his as well, paying special attention to the rims of his tires. "When you wash a man's car, you got to wash the rims," she instructed me.

I'm in the midst of doing job applications for Poetry out Loud, and for a program teaching drama to kids in Berkeley. Some of my CPITS schools are running low on PTA mondy--budgeting is grim everywhere. I'm also thinking of other jobs I could do. I loved working at SF General back in the nineties, being an HIV test counselor.

"Would you like to go back to school and get a social work degree?" C asks. Well, no, because it would take 3 years and then, I think, three thousand hours of clinical internship. But maybe a certificate in Addiction Studies from Berkeley. I like working with addicts and I can relate; I have a compulsive personality myself, although I tend to get more addicted to behaviors and/or people than to substances.

If anyone out there sees a job possibility for me, please pass it along! My resume is posted at www.alisonluterman.blogspot.com.

Meanwhile, C and I continue our work on the house, which has functioned as a catalyst to bring up all our issues. I'm glad. It's best we get as much as possible out on the table before we're married. It's fair to say that we know ourselves and each other a whole lot better than we did before we began this renovation project; that the learning has not always been easy, but I believe that wisdom sets you free, ultimately. It's the getting of wisdome that is hard. Sort of like getting into shape--it feels great to be in shape, but getting there is exhausting. Or like what Tony Kushner said when asked if he liked to write: "I like having written."

I'm still reading John Patrick Shanley plays and loving him more with each new play. He speaks so honestly and directly from his own wounded psyche right into the wounded psyche of America. His plays are full of men and women who sometimes hurt each other, but do not destroy themselves or each other. the pain is in service to a greater knowing, a greater growth. He does not leave the viewer/reader in despair and total darkness--he acknowledges the darkness and says, Listen to it. I love him.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

This last week I stretched myself several times. On Monday, quite literally, I stretched Carla, which was great fun, then ran to Wing It! practice, then went out to the port of Oakland with my friend to prepare a spiral path of wildflowers for her 50th birthday celebration--hoeing, chopping, shoveling dirt with a former rock star 9really!) turned park ranger; then I went and taught my evening class at Writing Salon, god knows how.

On Wednesday I painted most of the kitchen of the in-law--at least all the detail work, moldings, cabinets, windowsills, ceiling-corners. When I fell into bed that night a muscle in my biceps would not stop twitching. In fact it twitched for days.

Thursday C discovered that I had accidentally painted the windows shut and he was understandably upset. A little further investigation revealed that they could be slit open with a razor blade and not too much effort, so peace was restored. But today we noticed that some of the paint I put up is now peeling--it's hi-gloss paint and not sticking to the surface. So it may all have to be undone and redone.

Friday I took a friend to the hospital to get her cast changed, and then met G and Carla for dinner and we rode into the city together to see In Remembrance Of. We had a great time, laughing and teasing and talking politics. The oldest Interplayer was at the show--I forget her name--she is in her 80s. It was her generation whose oral histories I had used to make the poems. Afterwards she practically ran across the floor to tell me she loved it, and how important the anti-war rant at the end was.

I spent most of the show with a baby in my arms--Soyinka's god-daughter, whom she babysits a lot, and who knows me and trusts me enough to go to me, which is always a thrill. I even got to change her diaper.

Saturday I took my Little Sister to see a movie which she told me she had already seen--after I had plunked down the money for two tickets, a large buttered popcorn and a hot dog for her. We ended up only staying about halfway through, and then splitting to go inside toy stores along College Ave. She wanted everything she saw. I told her she could have one small thing. I give her presents every time I see her, I had a checkers set waiting for her at home, and we're not supposed to make this big sister thing about materialism. She was literally tortured by the array of temptations in front of her--all those toys and dolls, and face-paint, and costumes, and bicycles, and and and...

"Why are they torturing me?" she cried dramatically, spreading her arms.

Later that evening after I had dropped her off and was wandering in the video store I saw a family with two little kids, cruising the aisles. The little girl was whining and begging for everything she saw. I said to the Dad that this made me feel better about my little sister. He was a young good-looking black man with gold chains around his neck. He said wearily "That's what kids do."

My Little Sister comes from such a place of deprivation and want and we live in a land of so much stuff. Yet she also has stuff--plenty of it--I know because I've given her lots already. And her granny pulled out all the stops on her birthday--she got way more presents than I ever did at her age--silver lame sandals, a pink princess backpack, a fake cell phone, toys, etc...

When is enough ever enough? for any of us?

Today I read an interesting article in the Times Magazine section about bi-polar children. I don't think my little sister is bi-polar, but she is ADHD and very irritable sometimes. We're all just a bunch of chemicals. I wonder how much better it might have been if, instead of a movie and a walk past all the shops on College Ave., I had just taken her up to the hills to hike and watch the eagles? That's what I used to do with the neighborhood kids, ten years ago, when I had no money. We would just get in my car and drive to Tilden Park, visit the Little Farm, Jewel Lake, the playground...

Have the times gotten so much more materialistic in these past ten years or is it just that I'm older, and more solvent, and live on the other side of town now, farther away from Tilden?

All the giving of last week rendered me super-sensitive and touchy, sort of like an over-extended mother who feels taken for granted. It feels satisfying and right to give of myself, so what is the problem? What do I expect in return? I think it is just simple connection and presence. Not great gushing thanks or anything, but just being seen. I was snappish with my friend for pulling out a cell phone to talk to her other friends while I was driving her home from the doctor. It made me feel like I didn't count--that I was just a chauffeur. But part of that is cultural--I am fifty Cell phones were not a part of my growing up. Now they're everywhere, like a cancer, and I find them intrusive and obnoxious, but clearly I'm swimming against the tide.

As I'm writing this I can hear C downstairs, practicing bass and pianao. Some of my moodiness and irritability splashed on him this week-and he had work stress which he brought home--but we've worked through it all now, and are just glad to be home together, reading the paper and drinking coffee and passing the power tools back and forth. I learned how to change the sandpaper on the electric sander. In a minute I'll go downstairs and start a big salad.

A friend suggested an excellent Palin antidote--donate some money to Planned Parenthood in Sarah Palin's name. Have them send the acknowledgement card to Sarah Palin c/o the McCain campaign. Hopefully these donations will pile up and we'll be supporting a good cause. It's the most positive suggestion I've heard yet--and I've thought of my share of negative ones.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wow! That Sarah Palin post garnered a lot of comments! Okay, I need to read The Shock Doctrine and become even more terrified and traumatized about American politics than I am already. Obviously.

In the interests of spreading valuable information around, I'm copying and pasting an email that came across my desk to this blog. It's probably preaching to the choir (i.e. most people who read this blog are already in the choir.) But I'm thinking the information contained therein and the personal context of it may prove useful as an organizing tool to someone. If so, be my guest. I think the woman who wrote it is very brave, and articulate.

After this I promise we will get back to exciting adventures in wedding-planning, love in middle age, turning fifty, home-remodeling, Little Sister learning and playing, writing and procrastinating writing, poetry, theatre, spirituality, kvetching, and Carla.

"Date: Mon, 8 Sep 2008 08:53:03


I am a resident of Wasilla, Alaska. I have known Sarah since 1992. Everyone here knows Sarah, so it is nothing special to say we are on a first-name basis. Our children have attended the same schools. Her father was my child's favorite substitute teacher. I also am on a first name basis with her parents and mother-in-law. I attended more City Council meetings during her administration than about 99% of the residents of the city.

She is enormously popular; in every way she’s like the most popular girl in middle school. Even men who think she is a poor choice and won't vote for her can't quit smiling when talking about her because she is a "babe".

It is astonishing and almost scary how well she can keep a secret. She kept her most recent pregnancy a secret from her children and parents for seven months.

She is "pro-life". She recently gave birth to a baby with Down syndrome. There is no cover-up involved, here; Trig is her baby.

She is energetic and hardworking. She regularly worked out at the gym.

She is savvy. She doesn't take positions; she just "puts things out there" and if they prove to be popular, then she takes credit.

Her husband works a union job, 2 -- 0n the North Slope for BP and is a champion snowmobile racer. Todd Palin’s kind of job is highly sought-after because of the schedule and high pay. He arranges his work schedule so he can fish for salmon in Bristol Bay for a month or so in summer, but by no stretch of the imagination is fishing their major source of income. Nor has her life-style ever been anything like that of native Alaskans.

Sarah and her whole family are avid hunters.

She's smart.

Her experience is as mayor of a city with a population of about 5,000 (at the time), and less than 2 years as governor of a state with about 670,000 residents.

During her mayoral administration most actual work of running this small city was turned over to an administrator. She had been pushed to hire this administrator by party power-brokers after she had gotten herself into some trouble over precipitous firings which had given rise to a recall campaign.

Sarah campaigned in Wasilla as a “fiscal conservative”. During her 6 years as Mayor, she increased general government expenditures by over 33%. During those same 6 years the amount of taxes collected by the City increased by 38%. This was during a period of low inflation (1996-2002). She reduced progressive property taxes and increased a regressive sales tax which taxed even food. The tax cuts that she promoted benefited large corporate property owners way more than they benefited residents.

The huge increases in tax revenues during her mayoral administration weren’t enough to fund everything on her wish list though, borrowed money was needed, too. She inherited a city with zero debt, but left it with indebtedness of over $22 million. What did Mayor Palin encourage the voters to borrow money for? Was it the infrastructure that she said she supported? The sewage treatment plant that the city lacked? or a new library? No. $1m for a park. $15m-plus for construction of a multi-use sports complex which she rushed through to build on a piece of property that the City didn’t even have clear title to, that was still in litigation 7 yrs later--to the delight of the lawyers involved! The sports complex itself is a nice addition to the community but a huge money pit, not the profit-generator she claimed it would be.

She also supported bonds for $5.5m for road projects that could have been done in 5-7yrs without any borrowing.

While Mayor, City Hall was extensively remodeled and her office redecorated more than once. These are small numbers, but Wasilla is a very small city.

As an oil producer, the high price of oil has created a budget surplus in Alaska. Rather than invest this surplus in technology that will make us energy independent and increase efficiency, as Governor she proposed distribution of this surplus to every individual in the state.

In this time of record state revenues and budget surpluses, she recommended that the state borrow/bond for road projects, even while she proposed distribution of surplus state revenues: spend today's surplus, borrow for needs.

She’s not very tolerant of divergent opinions or open to outside ideas or compromise. As Mayor, she fought ideas that weren’t generated by her or her staff. Ideas weren’t evaluated on their merits, but on the basis of who proposed them.

While Sarah was Mayor of Wasilla she tried to fire our highly respected City Librarian because the Librarian refused to consider removing from the library some books that Sarah wanted removed. City residents rallied to the defense of the City Librarian and against Palin's attempt at out-and-out censorship, so Palin backed down and withdrew her termination letter. People who fought her attempt to oust the Librarian are on her enemies list to this day.

Sarah complained about the “old boy’s club” when she first ran for Mayor, so what did she bring Wasilla? A new set of "old boys". Palin fired most of the experienced staff she inherited. At the City and as Governor she hired or elevated new, inexperienced, obscure people, creating a staff totally dependent on her for their jobs and eternally grateful and fiercely loyal—loyal to the point of abusing their power to further her personal agenda, as she has acknowledged.
It happened in the case of pressuring the State’s top cop (see below).

As Mayor, Sarah fired Wasilla’s Police Chief because he “intimidated” her, she told the press. As Governor, her recent firing of Alaska's top cop has the ring of familiarity about it. He served at her pleasure and she had every legal right to fire him, but it's pretty clear that an important factor in her decision to fire him was because he wouldn't fire her sister's ex-husband, a State Trooper. Under investigation for abuse of power, she has had to admit that more than 2 dozen contacts were made between her staff and family to the person that she later fired, pressuring him to fire her ex-brother-in-law. She tried to replace the man she fired with a man who she knew had been reprimanded for sexual harassment; when this caused a public furor, she withdrew her support.

She has bitten the hand of every person who extended theirs to her in help. The City Council person who personally escorted her around town introducing her to voters when she first ran for Wasilla City Council became one of her first targets when she was later elected Mayor. She abruptly fired her loyal City Administrator; even people who didn’t like the guy were stunned by this ruthlessness. Fear of retribution has kept all of these people from saying anything publicly about her.

When then-Governor Murkowski was handing out political plums, Sarah got the best, Chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission: one of the few jobs not in Juneau and one of the best paid. She had no background in oil & gas issues. Within months of scoring this great job which paid $122,400/yr, she was criticizing her pay as too high in the press. I was told that she hated that job: the commute, the structured hours, the work. Sarah became aware that a member of this Commission (who was also the State Chair of the Republican Party) engaged in unethical behavior on the job. In a gutsy move which some undoubtedly cautioned her could be political suicide, Sarah solved all her problems in one fell swoop: got out of the job she hated and garnered gobs of media attention as the patron saint of ethics and as a gutsy fighter against the “old boys’ club” when she dramatically quit, exposing this man’s ethics violations (for which he was fined).

As Mayor, she had her hand stuck out as far as anyone for pork from Senator Ted Stevens. Lately, she has castigated his pork-barrel politics and publicly humiliated him. She only opposed the “bridge to nowhere” after it became clear that it would be unwise not to.

As Governor, she gave the Legislature no direction and budget guidelines, then made a big grandstand display of line-item vetoing projects, calling them pork. Public outcry and further legislative action restored most of these projects--which had been vetoed simply because she was not aware of their importance--but with the unobservant she had gained a reputation as “anti-pork”.

She is solidly Republican: no political maverick. The State party leaders hate her because she has bit them in the back and humiliated them. Other members of the party object to her self-description as a fiscal conservative.

Around Wasilla there are people who went to high school with Sarah. They call her “Sarah Barracuda” because of her unbridled ambition and predatory ruthlessness. Before she became so powerful, very ugly stories circulated around town about shenanigans she pulled to be made point guard on the high school basketball team. When Sarah's mother-in-law, a highly respected member of the community and experienced manager, ran for Mayor, Sarah refused to endorse her.

As Governor, she stepped outside of the box and put together of package of legislation known as “AGIA” that forced the oil companies to march to the beat of her drum.

Like most Alaskans, she favors drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. She has questioned if the loss of sea ice is linked to global warming. She campaigned “as a private citizen” against a state initiative that would have either...
a) protected salmon streams from pollution from mines, or
b) tied up in the courts all mining in the state (depending on who you listen to).

She has pushed the State’s lawsuit against the Dept. of the Interior’s decision to list polar bears as threatened species.

McCain is the oldest person to ever run for President; Sarah will be a heartbeat away from being President.

There has to be literally millions of Americans who are more knowledgeable and experienced than she.

However, there’s a lot of people who have underestimated her and are regretting it.


§ “Hockey mom”: true for a few years

§ “PTA mom”: true years ago when her first-born was in elementary school, not since

§ “NRA supporter”: absolutely true

§ social conservative: mixed. Opposes gay marriage, BUT vetoed a bill that would have denied benefits to employees in same-sex relationships (said she did this because it was unconstitutional).

§ pro-creationism: mixed. Supports it, BUT did nothing as Governor to promote it.

§ “Pro-life”: mixed. Knowingly gave birth to a Down’s syndrome baby BUT declined to call a legislative session on pro-life legislation.

§ “Experienced”: Some high schools have more students than Wasilla has residents. Many cities have more residents than the state of Alaska. No legislative experience other than City Council. Little hands-on supervisory or managerial experience; needed help of a city administrator to run town of about 5,000.

§ political maverick: not at all

§ gutsy: absolutely!

§ open & transparent: ??? Good at keeping secrets. Not good at explaining actions.

§ has a developed philosophy of public policy: no

§ ”a Greenie”: no. Turned Wasilla into a wasteland of big box stores and disconnected parking lots. Is pro-drilling off-shore and in ANWR.

§ fiscal conservative: not by my definition!

§ pro-infrastructure: No. Promoted a sports complex and park in a city without a sewage treatment plant or storm drainage system. Built streets to early 20th century standards.

§ pro-tax relief: Lowered taxes for businesses, increased tax burden on residents

§ pro-small government: No. Oversaw greatest expansion of city government in Wasilla’s history.

§ pro-labor/pro-union. No. Just because her husband works in a union doesn’t make her pro-labor. I have seen nothing to support any claim that she is pro-labor/pro-union.


First, I have long believed in the importance of being an informed voter. I am a voter registrar. For 10 years I put on student voting programs in the schools. If you google my name (Anne Kilkenny + Alaska), you will find references to my participation in local government, education, and PTA/parent organizations.

Secondly, I've always operated in the belief that "Bad things happen when good people stay silent". Few people know as much as I do because few have gone to as many City Council meetings.

Third, I am just a housewife. I don't have a job she can bump me out of. I don't belong to any organization that she can hurt. But, I am no fool; she is immensely popular here, and it is likely that this will cost me somehow in the future: that’s life.

Fourth, she has hated me since back in 1996, when I was one of the 100 or so people who rallied to support the City Librarian against Sarah's attempt at censorship.

Fifth, I looked around and realized that everybody else was afraid to say anything because they were somehow vulnerable.


I am not a statistician. I developed the numbers for the increase in spending & taxation 2 years ago (when Palin was running for Governor) from information supplied to me by the Finance Director of the City of Wasilla, and I can't recall exactly what I adjusted for: did I adjust for inflation? For population increases? Right now, it is impossible for a private person to get any info out of City Hall--they are swamped. So I can't verify my numbers.

You may have noticed that there are various numbers circulating for the population of Wasilla, ranging from my "about 5,000", up to 9,000. The day Palin’s selection was announced a city official told me that the current population is about 7,000. The official 2000 census count was 5,460. I have used about 5,000 because Palin was Mayor from 1996 to 2002, and the city was growing rapidly in the mid-90’s.

Anne Kilkenny

August 31, 2008"

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

I heard that Sarah Palin belongs to a church which believes you can "Pray away the gay," i.e. pray for someone and they will change their sexual orientation. I know Jon Stewart and his team are probably having a field day with this, even as I type (Note to Jon: if you have a job vacancy, I'm available,) but the possibilities are just too delicious.

"Pray away the gray!" A cheaper, non-toxic way to color your hair!

Or--my personal favorite--"Pray Sarah Palin Gay."

Everyone reading this blog please join me in a moment of fervent prayer that Sarah Palin wakes up to her true lesbian identity. I say this not out of selfish lust--Angelina knows where she can find me--but out of love and fear for this great country of ours. With all respect to my lesbian sisters who will have to deal with her in community (and they may be the only ones who can,) I think Sarah Palin turning gay may be our last best hope for survival.

Everyone, please, close your eyes.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

We were like a little faux family Friday night, C and I and my little sister and her real big sister as we went to see Elizabeth's show, In remembrance Of...at St. Gregory of Nyssa Church, 500 DeHaro St., San Francisco (starting time is 8:00 p.m., tix are 20.00, or 10 for students, but you can get them for half of that on goldstar.)

Acting on Carla's recommendation, I had bought some simple toys and crafts to keep M (little sister) entertained, and to my astonishment, they worked like a charm. Colorful pipe cleaners, a plastic doll with cut out clothes, and she was happy as a clam in her shiny silver sandals. True, we had to visit the bathroom about three or four times, and she asked a lot of questions about a moth on the floor in the middle of the performance, but quietly. Her older sister, age 12, was a dream.

We played "I spy, with my little eye..." over the bridge, which was jammed up, and I could feel C relaxing and enjoying himself despite all the traffic. The show was great, beautiful music, and the dancers danced their hearts out. My highlight was Elizabeth's rendition of the anti-war rant at the end, but there were many stand-out moments. Impossible to say how it would have been for folks who did not know the poems beforehand, but everyone seemed to like it, and both girls said they had a great time.

The rest of the weekend: scraping and painting. And writing. I have 3,800 words on the Carla piece, but it is far from finished. I'm just almost through the first draft.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

I have one word for Sarah Palin: hypocrite. Make that two words: fucking hypocrite.

Look, I'm a hairy-legged feminist with more lesbian friends than straight ones. I believe that women can do anything men can do and better and faster, and without making a fuss about it. I work for a woman boss. My sister is a single mother who accomplishes more in one day than most men do in a week.


Sarah Palin is trivializing parenthood by her attitude: have kids by all means, but after you've got them there's no need for follow-up, even if they have Down's Syndrome or are a pregnant teen.

I'm not a parent. And maybe that's the crux. Maybe I'm jealous. Part of why I never had kids was because I was overwhelmed when I thought of how big a responsibility it is. Why then, do people who have kids irresponsibly, who make such dumb-ass decisions to run for office when their families are in crisis get to be lauded as symbols for goodness, motherhood and apple pie?

Look, I want a woman President. I hope I live long enough to see that day. But I don't want a right-wing nut job woman president with a four-month old. I've had friends and family members with four month olds. It's not prime time for anyone, okay? This is not a judgement on women's abilities. The four month old gets older, everyone starts getting to sleep through the night, and executive function returns, even better than before.

But if you're going to have a baby at age 44, and if you're going to choose to bear a Downs Syndrome child and if you're going to work against letting teenagers have birth control and instead promote "abstinence" and then your 17 year old gets pregnant...well maybe, just maybe, it's time to focus a little on the home front.

What really burns me is the way Hillary Clinton got punished by the right-wing media when she thoughtlessly said she wasn't going to be home baking cookies in the White House during Bill's first run for office. Hello? Chelsea was already a teenager by then, doing fine in school, and seems to be making her way in the world very well, thank you.

Sarah Palin on the other hand knows all the right things to say: "I'm just a hockey mom, gee whiz," but is anyone looking at her actions? She and her husband are encouraging (pressuring? forcing?) their daughter to marry a self-described "redneck" boy, who declares that all he wants to do is drink beer and hang with his buddies. And she gets points for being Mother of the Year?

I dreamed last night I was screaming "Hypocrite!! Hypocrite!!" into my pillow. Maybe I was.

All right I'm done with my political ranting. Here is the blog I wrote last night while waiting for C to get done with his shower (he takes hours in the bathroom, I have no idea what he does in there.)

I’m in love again—move over Tony Kushner. My new god is the playwright John Patrick Shanley, who wrote “Doubt,” this year’s Pulitzer Prize winning play. I read that one and thought it excellent; now I’m reading 13 by Shanley, a book of thirteen of his plays, mostly one-acts, and I want to eat the book.

Everyone! Go out and see or read a John Patrick Shanley play! It’s better than Prozac!

Carla said she loved a short little one-act called “The Red Coat.” I liked it fine, but my favorite so far is “Women of Manhattan.” I can’t believe how well he understands women—how can he so accurately record private women’s conversations that he could have no way of witnessing. I feel like he put a bug inside my brain and taped all my most intimate feelings and thoughts, then rendered them as art more articulately than I could myself.

I also met with Phil today, after a series of emails which I called “Jews R Us.” We met with Suz, and he invited her into Wing It! which makes two of us in there now. We said and listened to a lot, and the conversation is ongoing.

C is next to me in bed reading as I write this Wednesday night. “Are you blogging about what a great boyfriend I am?” he teases. Actually, for once I’m not, but for the record he still is. We’re lying here in our hot room with just a sheet on; a breeze is coming in through the windows and we can hear all the sounds of the street. I’m gonna make him stop what he’s doing so he can read more Hamlet with me.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

C's first day back at school after an intensely intimate summer during which the most important things were small and private, some too private even to be blogged about...a conversation, love-making, song, wailing, work, fighting, playing, dancing in the kitchen...I called my first book, The Largest Possible Life, because that's what I wanted, to live big, not to be confined to the domestic, the trivial and the unimportant.

This year I have pulled way back precisely in order to focus on the domestic and the private. Hopefully what I sacrifice in breadth is gained in depth. On good days I feel it so, as subtle flavors of joy come to visit. On bad days I feel cramped, passive, and addicted. On still other days I feel torn between the communities and activities which have fed and stimulated me and my desire to be home with C, cooking us a great meal, or listening to music together. (He has ordered a bunch of Kai Eckhardt's CDs and is listening to them now.)

I told Carla I would prefer to do only two things a day and do them well, but that is not actually what ends up happening. Sunday I went to an Interplay workshop in the morning, left early but was late to pick up my Little Sister and spent a cuple of hours playing with her, and then ended up going out with C to get two copies of Hamlet because we are starting to read it aloud to each other. We've almost gotten through the whole first act. He lets me take the long speeches. Bliss...

Last Saturday we caught my teacher Liz Duffy Adams' play The Listener at the Ashby Stage. Great set: "Junk City," with plastic bottles, plastic bags, a curtain made from broken CDs, an old Coke machine, numerous crushed cans, a beat-up red wagon, etc. In these trash heaps squat a group of scavengers, the Finders, who find stuff, the Jimmies who make it work, the Namer, kind of a high priest character, and the Listener, who attempts to contact other survivers of the early 21st Century Apocalypse by means of an elaborately if dubiously rigged-up radio.

I loved the two Finders, who were like Shakespearian clowns, complete with their own rough language. And, having taken Liz' class, I understood how she had arrived at that and could appreciate it even more. The plot concerns an inhabitant from "Nearth" -- New Earth--who has journeyed back in his space vehicle from the colony on the moon where most earthling survivors emigrated as the world bacame uninhabitable. I won't give any more of it away. It was fascinating, disturbing. C was bothered by the ineaxactness of the science and what he perceived of as plot holes--I am untroubled by scientific knowledge myself, so I could accept them. I just ate up the language.

Then Monday i went over to carla's and hung out for awhile, helped her with her stretching exercises. We talked about John Patrick Shanley, a playwright I just discovered. He wrote Doubt which won the Pulitzer this year. I bought his book, "13 Plays," and am savoring it. He's not afraid to give his characters second chances, love, redemption. I feel safe in his hands, like he won't smash my consciousness against the harsh realities of life too violently.

We are getting ready for Elizabeth's and my show In Remembrance Of...which opens this weekend at St. Gregory of Nyssa Church, 500 DeHaro St. SF, 8:00 p.m. Go to www.mendana.org for more information.

Meanwhile, after too much teeth-gnashing and obsessing to retell here, I am going to meet with Phil (along with a Jewish facilitator ally) in order to discuss the spiritual imbalance in Interplay and see how we could diversify it more. I really want the highest outcome--not just to have my own neuroses pacified, but to have it recognized that yes, the whole community would benefit from having more Jews around. Phil asked, "What if we invited a Jewish person into Wing It! and you didn't like them?" and I answered, "Very possible." There are many Jewish people whom I might find annoying, but the fact remains that a group isn't spiritually diverse if it's composed of 97% practising Christians.

Our meeting is tomorrow. I'm going to go swim.