Saturday, September 01, 2007

In Which Things Change and I Get Out of the House

I had plans for this morning. They were canceled. Rob slept incredibly late (even by post-gig standards) and then had a party to go to this afternoon. This left me very little time with him but enough for us to go to the library and get me a library card and some books. Finally! I didn't get one before because I was always so very busy driving people around that I didn't have time to go to the library and often would forget to return books on time. As my schedule started to free up, I promised myself to get a card but then opted to try to read all of the books on my shelves first. However, there are books I wanted to read without having to invest in more clutter . . . I mean books. Which created a dilemma. How do I read the latest Elizabeth Berg book without actually buying it? And I already have the complete works of Shakespeare but it really is too large to sit down and read so how do I read any of his plays without actually buying them individually?

And so it came down to my needing a library card. Since my morning plans were canceled, Rob was perhaps more willing to drag me to the library to give me some goodness in what otherwise would have been a disappointing day. He's good like that. And now he's off partying and Titus Andronicus awaits. But first . . . I feel rather nappish at the moment.

Friday, August 31, 2007

In Which I Reach Out, Get Nothing, and Pull Back I threw away a telephone number the other day. I had a friend who, although she was a Christian, asked me to stop emailing and calling her with prayer requests. This was partially my fault because, when I would ask her to pray, she would send me links to some pastor's website, some Christian teacher's preaching, and I told her that rather than send me links it would mean more to me if she would pray for me herself. I guess that was too much or her prayers were conditioned on my following this pastor's teachings. I don't know. In any event, her husband and Rob are still in touch occasionally and recently the husband called Rob so that we could all hang out. This was the second time since I had come down with the vertigo and when Rob once again said, "We can't because Satia is sick" it suddenly clicked that maybe, just maybe, there was seriously something wrong with me. My friend called me. She left a message. I didn't get it for a while because I didn't recognize the number and forgot to check my messages. Eventually someone else called, a number I recognized, they left a message and that is when I got her call. I immediately called her back, left a voice message and nothing. No call back. I guess my saying, "Yeah, I know you heard I've been sick for a couple of weeks or months or something but it's actually been about eight months. So how have you been?" wasn't the right message to leave. Perhaps I should have read to her from the Bible or something if I wanted her to call me back again. I don't know. I obviously didn't handle it right yet again. Still, I held onto her number for a few weeks and then threw it away. Today I am doing the same thing with another friend who has been saying for years that we should get together to talk about our writing, perhaps offer one another support and encouragement. At first, it was not a problem that we never could align our schedules according to our mutual desires. We definitely were at opposite sides of things with her being free whenever I was busy and vice versa. But she was laid off from her job and then I got hit with this vertigo and we both of us had days in which we were free. Her daughter would be at school and why couldn't we get together now that we were both more free than ever before? That was back in April . . . let's wait until after Mother's Day. Then there was a problem with the power where she lived and when she came back (temporarily living with her older daughter) she would contact me. Or not, as it turned out. I finally emailed and said, "Look, if you want to get together the ball is in your court. Call me. You have my number." And I received an enthusiastic, "I'll contact you after August 13" . . . tick tick tick. Time's up. The thing is, I am frustrated with my lack of independence. I can't just run off to do what I want, when I want, or even bemoan the fact that I can't do one thing because I have other commitments already in place. One would think that I would not toss away these "relationships" so casually when my life is so seemingly empty of social engagements. But today, when I was writing about this article in my other blog, I realized that it ends with a very critical (for me) insight.
Feedback Writing within a group gives you the opportunity to air your work and gain feedback. Join a creative writing class or set up a writing group with friends, taking turns to suggest exercises. Seek out feedback that helps you to develop your creativity and find your own voice.
When the vertigo first hit, I couldn't watch television or read. Eventually I got to where I could do both but then I worked my way to reading. It can still make me dizzy over time but I could read. Then I began to write. Finally. I even wrote a short story. Only my mother and my step-sister have read it. Even Rob didn't take or make the time to read it. Whatever. The thing is, I want something in my life. I know specifically what it is. And in order to have this I need to get rid of dead weight, people who say they care but their actions say something else. I am making room for these new people . . . getting rid of the pseudo-friendships . . . enough. I deserve better than this and I am tired of settling for less just because I am not my independent self. Hell! All the more reason I shouldn't settle for less!!!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

In Which Rob Comes Home and I Really Have Nothing to Say

Rob came back from his overnight trip to Ozzfest. He had a great time. I’ll share his amusing stories below, mostly because they are his stories more than my own, more punk the quirk, and this blog is all about me. Me! ME!

Except, me didn’t do much yesterday. I was having a not great vertigo day. Not bad enough to stay in bed but bad enough to make the day difficult. By the end of it I was stuck in bed but that is par for the course except on a remarkably good day. Or one where I took a nap, which is what I do when I know I am going to be seeing someone for dinner or something equally late in my day.

And today Marc has work and school and I have the house to myself. Ummm . . . yeah. This could get pretty boring pretty fast so let’s move on to my horoscope and Rob’s stories before I fall asleep typing this.

Aries Horoscope for week of August 30, 2007

"Here's how you can tell if you have a bad psychotherapist or counselor," says my friend Laura. "She or he buys into all your BS, never questions your delusions, and builds your self-esteem even if that makes you into an a**hole." I agree with Laura's assessment, which is why I'm going to spend our short time together today calling you on your BS, prodding you to get introspective about your delusions, and not pumping up the parts of your ego that really should be melted down. Next week maybe we'll get back to gazing adoringly into each other's eyes, but right now you'll benefit from some tough love.

Apparently, while they were at the show, the guy standing next to Rob turned to him and said, “Punch me in the eye!” “Ummm . . . no thanks,” Rob replied. See how polite he is when he is asked to abuse someone? Rob isn’t as hard core as he looks, obviously.

At another point, Rob and Shay were in the bathroom using the urinals. Some guy standing next to Shay, after having used the urinal, reaches up and slides his hand across Shay’s Mohawk without washing his hands first! Ewwww. “Nice hawk, man,” this stranger said. Shay turned, without stopping his flow, and, moving his penis up and down to pee on the guy’s pants said, “Nice pants.” The other guys in the bathroom laughed.

So those are Rob’s amusing stories. Rob was asked to hit a stranger in the eye and Shay peed on some stranger’s pants. The lesson in this, boys and girls, is do not touch a man’s Mohawk without permission and/or without first washing your hands.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

In Which I Create Yet Another Blog

In connection with John’s Writing and Wellness Connections Conference (WWCC), I have been asked to keep a blog about my health, about my experience with writing as a means of healing, etc. The blog will be directly related to the WWCC website and John has already asked me to participate more actively in next year’s conference. (I couldn’t this year for obvious health reasons.)

I am sure that I will change things as I go along but for now I have a tentative game plan. I will be using this blog on several levels.

One: I will write about my health. This is not limited to my vertigo. This will include my emotional health both past and present. I will cull from previous journal entries as well as write about my present experience, revealing myself as a wounded healer, a scarred survivor, a worldly warrior. This will be the most candid and intimate layer of the blog, the type of writing I have elected not to do online for a long time now.

Two: I will post creative writing. This will include poetry, short stories, unsent letters and other journal prompt exercises. The creative writing will be slightly less intimate but still reveal a great deal of what I am feeling and experiencing. I will pull from my writing from the past while also writing new pieces.

Three: I will share interactive writings. Although this will be the least intimate layer of the blog, it will still be more intimate than much of what I have been posting online. It will include responses I have to things I am reading both on and off the internet as it relates to the overall theme of Writing and Wellness Connections.

I have set up a tentative schedule for myself for updating this blog so that I don’t get too focused on any one type of post. It would be easy for me to just blabber on about how I am feeling from one day to the next without really digging down into why I am writing about it. Almost as easy as it would be to just write about what other people have said and not dig down into why I am writing.

On a superficial level, I am doing this because it is good exposure. Being connected with the conference in such a manner can only help me as a writer to be taken more seriously.

On a less superficial level, I am doing this because John asked me to do so and because he is a friend, mentor, and has always encouraged me to keep writing.

On an honest level, I am doing this because I can. I have done this in the past and I can do it again.

Now is the time. I hope that those of you who are reading this will bookmark the newest blog in my ever increasing network of blogs. If you read something there, please link over to the blog. The more traffic, the better for me and the conference. And now it is time for me to return to the real world and try to get something productive done. Rob has been out of town since yesterday (Ozzfest in NC) and Marc was out all day yesterday. I’ve been alone almost the entire time and even though I am alone now as I write this, I am aware that it is time for me to return to the real world of engaging with other people in my life.

PS: As with the 101 Things blog, I won’t be writing about the other blog here except on rare occasions. Or maybe I’ll do so once a month, summarizing what has been posted to both. We’ll see. As with my life, my blogs are definitely a work in progress.

Monday, August 27, 2007

In Which I Finish a Novel
I found, clustered/buried among my too many books, a copy of Archangel by Sharon Shinn. I had picked it up years before at a second hand bookstore and bought it on a whim. I am not sorry to have bought it nor to have read it. It is a good book. If you like your science-fiction/fantasy mixed with a light touch of politics and a heavy dose of romance, you will like this book. No. You will love it. My favorite parts were the political and theological parts, which often overlapped. Does Jovah/Yovah exist? Will the god exact judgment? And of course, the typical power struggle between the Archangel and Archangel Elect—who shall prevail? Who, indeed. However, the book is more romance than anything. Gabriel, angelo soon to become Archangel, has been told that he must marry Rachel but finding her is not as easy as he had anticipated and time is running out. Once Rachel is found, things do not get easier. A predictable love-hate relationship—ala Elizabeth and Darcy, Anne and Gilbert, Scarlett and Rhett—follows right to the not surprising in the least conclusion. The problem is, I don’t read romance novels for a reason so what I liked best about this book was not enough for me to really like this book. But that’s me. A person who likes romance will find things to like. In fact, I would guess that most people who like romance would find the theology tedious. There are sequels to this novel. I won’t be reading them. Not because I don’t think that the author doesn’t write well but because I never really cared what happened to Elizabeth and Darcy, Anne and Gilbert, or Scarlett and Rhett after the book was closed. Now I can safely remove this book from my shelves and I am one step closer to fulfilling one of the things on my long list of things to do.
This week August 27 through September 2 This week you have an insightful revelation and it's one that will show you an important piece of your life journey or a certain situation you've been dealing with. Tuesday the Full Moon Lunar Eclipse takes place in your sector of spirituality and metaphysical thought and you'll be enlightened about an important issue in your life. Keep your eyes open for guidance and a message will come to you in an unexpected way. Once you learn what the Universe has to say to you, you'll be able to take yourself and your life in a new direction.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

In Which I Return to the Past to Determine What Disturbed Me

Warning! There are spoilers. Read on at your own risk!

When I first read Interview With a Vampire by Anne Rice, I was alone in thinking that the story was pedophiliac and incestuous. My friends felt I was being overly critical and needed to just enjoy the story for what it was. I decided, when the movie was released, to reread the novel to see if my assessment had changed. It hadn’t. I still enjoyed the story but found the implications distressing.

Which is why I chose to re-watch two movies that I had found disturbing to see if I still felt as sensitive about them. The first is Endless Love, a coming-of-age movie that was hugely popular with my friends. I did not see it until it was on cable, when I was older. I remembered little about the movie beyond the song and that Brooke Shields starred in it. I knew that I found it highly disturbing but I couldn’t say why. So watching it again gave me an opportunity to assess what it was about the movie that bothered me and see if it still did so.

The answer is YES! The tender love story between two teens . . . that didn’t bother me. The Freudian moment in which the girl leaves her father’s side to join her beloved on the staircase . . . well, Brooke Shields looks so perfectly like a young bride that the layers of allusion could not possibly be lost. And the relationship spiraling out of control . . . I remembered much of these details.

I even remembered the mother watching her daughter having sex for the first time from the staircase but I did not remember how the mother sat and watched rather than politely leaving the two alone. I did not remember how the mother, later, actually tries to seduce the younger man. (That this happens after the mother is divorced and the daughter and boy are no longer together I suppose makes it less horrifying for some but not for me.)

Forget some of the silliness of the plot, those ridiculous coincidences that make the storyline sink into melodramatic soap opera foolishness . . . what I found most offensive and disturbing is the scene in which the boy and the girl are finally reunited after years of being apart. She is going to college and has moved on with her life and she has come to him to tell him he needs to do the same. Let go of the past. Move on. Be happy. Like me. And when he refuses to hear her, she tries to leave. What does he do? He grabs her because he loves her so much. He throws her onto the bed. He forces her to listen, kissing her, as she first struggles, screams, fights and then . . . of course kisses him back and starts to cry.

Because when a woman is being assaulted, practically raped, this is what a woman does. She melts with love for the man, especially if they have a past together, and gives into the romance of the moment.

As for the other film . . . I saw this one with my children, Rob and my mother. My mother and I are the only ones who found V for Vendetta disturbing. She for the violence and me . . . for something else. The violence was surprising and I did find it distressing but there was something more, much more, going on inside. Something to which I could not put a finger.

Rob bought the dvd and we eventually watched it although I avoided watching it for a while. Politically the story should have appealed to me—oppressive regime, citizens rising in protest, an inspiring hero. I admired the daring of telling a story about a terrorist and trying to make him sympathetic. Such a challenge to only be brooched by a facile artist. I already have a liking for the Wachowski Brothers, in spite of their heavy handed use of metaphors, and I like graphic novels. So far so good.

Then came my favorite part of the film . . . the love story. Not the story between the main characters but the other love story, the story within the story, the one shared with Evey as she is being tortured. The lesbian love story of a fellow victim. And when the story within a story is told we learn that V is the one torturing Evey, to break her and rebuild her. Yes, I understand that she needed to be strengthened so that she could face her fear and do what needed to be done. After all, isn’t this what most women empowering movies and stories are about? Beat the shit of out a woman or rape her and watch what happens. She comes back with a vengeance. Now she is a real Woman of Power, far superior to her weaker self before this horrible nightmare happened. I mean, it isn’t possible for a woman to be strong and empowered without first being tormented right?

Let me interject that this particular part of the movie follows Evey nearly being raped and then dressing up as a child, pretending to be a prostitute, and I had to wonder at what point is this not exploitative . . .

But in the end we must remember that there is love between these two victims—Evey and V—as evidenced by her giving V a kiss before saying goodbye. Ahhh . . . so that’s the way to win a girl’s heart? Rescue her from being raped and then kidnap her, use the Stockholm Syndrome to manipulate her and the situation before you pimp her out in hopes that she will commit murder for you . . . if she doesn’t get raped in the process, that is . . . then, when she has managed to escape, kidnap her again, torture her, lie to her, torture her some more, and more . . . and more . . . and know that in the end she will give you love’s true kiss, surround you with roses, and live the fulfillment of your dire dreams after you have died.

Ahhhhh . . . love . . .

I am tempted to read the graphic novel, to see if the plot is less alarming for me. I don’t anticipate that I will have a change of heart. If anything, I would be surprised if I didn’t experience a sense of reinforcement, of even greater disgust at what happens in the story.

Mind you, both movies are good (but not great) and if you are into these things then by all means . . . watch them. You will find a young James Spader and Tom Cruise in the first movie. And Natalie Portman is so lovely that watching her is always a pleasure. I will probably end up watching it again simply because we own it on dvd. But I also expect that I will return to this theme of movies I find disturbing but don’t seem to disturb others.

In fact, I can practically guarantee it since we are talking about Hollywood and all. I can probably find more fodder for this theme on my dvd shelf even now!