fictional: (Default)
As a synonym for female genitalia, it leaves something to be desired, no? Oh spam filter, what would I do without you...

On another front, dreamwidth!!! I feel so out of the loop. This is definitely a sucktastic time to never be near the internets. It is impossible to perform the appropriate amounts of suck-up networking. Anyways, if any of you have an invite going spare... *bats eyelashes*

News from the cancer fields: Things mostly the same, except the bills have started coming in. I hate them. They are incomprehensible, the people you can reach by phone are, apparently, paid to be unhelpful, and it is infuriating. My parents continue to be remarkably incompetent for the educated, sensible people that they are, and I DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHY. Last night, my dad had a fever. Does my mother call the doctor? No. Does she read the nice red, crab-decorated notebook that I have prepared where I write down everything that happens, all the instructions given, and all the doctor's contact info? No. She calls me. Whereupon I have to do all of this, over the phone, and then speak to the doctor, who recommends an antibiotic and calls it in -- then I have to come to their house to pick up the prescription card, run it to the all-night pharmacy, wait to get the prescription filled, run it back to the house. In the middle of the night. (D. [blessings be on his head] drives me around, so this is less aggravating than it could have been, and I'm happy to do the running, but what the fuck????)


Also, Eve Sedgwick has died. I was extremely fond of her, and will always be inexpressibly grateful to have had the opportunity to work & make things with her, if briefly. On my very first day at the Graduate Center, I met her... and was blown away in a wave of fangirliness -- and since I was already sort of nervous and freaked out with first day jitters, it was all sort of overwhelming. She gave me an enormous cuddly, comforting hug, and I've never forgotten it. It was always a shock to realize that such a fine, penetrating, incisive intellect was housed in such a... snuggly exterior. She was profoundly kind, and I will miss knowing that she is in the world. Sigh. Also, cancer. FUCK YOU.

Anyway. How are you guys doing?

Here is some cool stuff:

a video shown at a Sony executive conference earlier this year regarding the information age. I thought it was pretty neat.

And the Indonesian hobbit skeleton goes live today at SUNY Stonybrook for the first time.

Also, Trek Yourself! Cheezy goodness, sponsored (appropriately) by Cheeze-it. You haven't lived till you've seen yourself as a Vulcan. Live long and prosper, kids.
fictional: (star wars)
Wow. Step away from the internets to go see a play... and BOOM. It's all runes and nazis and what??? Yeah. I'll try not to be away so long next time. =D

In other news, the play: Architecting by The TEAM. [ profile] faris_nallaneen and I deeply enjoyed it, with one caveat. First of all, it was crazy in a worlds-collide-y sort of way. I read & post about race and fiction, and then go to see a play... about (among other things) race and fiction. And America and fiction, which in some ways, is the same thing. But mainly it was about so many of the questions I (and [ profile] rm, which is one of the reasons we write together) have; the obsessions that are always somehow at the heart of my fictional explorations. How one can be enchanted and revolted by something at the same time. The task of an author is to believe in contradictory facts, all of which are true. Being in love with a society that is both beautiful and wrong, and lost the war, and grieving for that loss anyway. Loving something at its end rather than at the beginning -- the sunset, instead of the sunrise, autumn rather than spring. (I'm never up early enough to see the sunrise anyway, and I love the fall. All metaphors intentional.) Burning things down in a glorious conflagration rather than having them stolen from you in increments of lost dignity and fake-ness.

"Do you miss your [dead] father?" the play asks.


"Was he a good man?"


"Would you miss him, even if he wasn't?"

And there is silence.

And so you have the American South - Atlanta, and New Orleans and Arkansas, and all its farce and tragedy and ridiculous splendour, and its chequered past - the Confederacy, and I thought of reading Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind, and being enchanted and revolted and then watching Joss Whedon's Firefly, which is like the Confederacy, without that pesky slave issue1 -- and thinking, oh how nice, but you can't just TAKE THAT PART OUT, can you?

Which brings me to my caveat. It was a play about race and fiction and the American South. And I was engaged and interested and admiring except THERE WERE NO BLACK ACTORS. Not one. There was a black character though, and he was played by a white guy.

Um, what??? It was like a visual aid to [ profile] deepad's post, about voices being appropriated and removed entirely from the discourse. I was so distracted by it, and really fucking disturbed.

We had several theories for why this might be the case:

1) (in my opinion the most disturbing) They think that white is race-neutral, and so thought casting poc's as any of the parts would distract from the language-specific discussion of race.
2) (in E's opinion the most disturbing) They had no intentionality, and just didn't think about it as an issue.
3) None of the TEAM (who collaboratively write and perform their shows) are black, so they didn't think it would be troubling. (But it really, really was.)

The sad thing is that aside from this, and the length (it dragged a bit with an inexplicable dance number towards the end), it was stunning. And (especially) for something written collaboratively by performers, its language was complex and erudite and interesting. It ended with this line, which was the subjectline of this post: when spirits give up their ghosts and put on flesh.

And I thought of stories and entrances and imaginary worlds. How we call them to us. How they become real. Even if they're not true.

Then I came home, and discovered that Ricardo Montalban has died. Khaaaaaaan!! That's another shout of my childhood there... and a Mexican playing an Indian who is one of the greatest villains of all time. Those ear bug things! *shivers*

All those worlds. All those stories. Flesh.

1But with a billion more Invisible Asians. Oh Joss, I love you anyway.
fictional: (full face)
If you know me in person, you know I am mostly on time for things. Not always, not every day, but I spend a lot of time on street corners, waiting for people to meet me.

The sad part about this is, of course, that it's made me think of myself as the Person Who Shows Up. (Corollary is, naturally, When Other People Don't.)

Perhaps you know the feeling? You're waiting by a predetermined location. It's cold. You eye the crowd, picking out a jacket color that looks familiar, or a certain way of walking. There they are, you think excitedly, this is them! But they come closer, resolve into focus and out of expectation and you realize it's not the person you're waiting for at all, wrong hat, wrong height, wrong face, wrong, wrong, wrong.

And then you wait some more, and do it again. Lather, rinse, repeat.

If I changed this around a little bit, tweaked the metaphor, it could be a description of my entire childhood and adolescence. Longing, waiting, expecting, and the inevitable rush of disappointment. Over and over and over: waiting to be met, perfected, chosen.

Never happened.

That's true. It never did.

Because the trouble is, of course, while you're waiting, you have tunnel vision. You miss a lot of stuff. In the background, over there. While I was waiting to become cool, to become a musical prodigy, to have some stupid boy fall in love with me -- things were happening. Ordinary things. I was being chosen, and not only did I not know it at the time, if I had, I probably wouldn't have cared.

In an elevator, I was about a year and a half old, a toddler, and going down to the laundry room with my mother. The woman who lived in the apartment above us was in the elevator too. Somehow, and I don't know why or how, she met my eyes -- and she must have fallen in love. That's what she says, anyway. Flash forward a little more than a decade, and she's taking me with her on a trip to Tennessee, and a little place called Highlander.

It's there that I meet Rosa Parks, who tells me that she thinks I'm stubborn & tenacious. And that means I'll do great things. It got her places, after all. I don't really care; I'm much more concerned about not getting that solo in chorus.

A few years later, I'm in high school. We're singing with Pete Seeger in some concert in Central Park. Sweet Honey in the Rock is there too, and out of the chorus rehearsal, Bernice Johnson Reagon picks me out of the line - (I'm in front because I am short.) She calls my name, says in that deep, rolling voice of hers: "How are you doing? Remember you used to sing for us in that apartment in DC? We talk about you all the time... Don't you waste your promise, child."

I didn't really care about that either; just an old lady I can barely remember from when I was a kid, nattering on. Not important. Much more concerned with an argument I'm having with my friends, and how lonely I feel all the time. No one sees me, I think. A few weeks after this, I perform a social experiment: I stop speaking except when absolutely necessary for three weeks, to see if anyone notices. No one seems to, and I feel humiliated. And vindicated in my humiliation.

There's so many of these encounters, I can't even tell you.

I met someone in an elevator -- not that I remember it, I've just been told -- and they fell in love. That had nothing to do with me, I was just a toddler. It was just grace. Luck. And because of it, I was a child who was known to so much of the civil rights movement -- heroes, REAL heroes -- and I didn't notice or care.

Today I heard that Odetta died.

I don't know what to say except that I wish I had appreciated being chosen to be a child in the presence of greatness like that.
fictional: (Default)
I saw Eternity the other night,
Like a great ring of pure and endless light,
All calm, as it was bright;
And round beneath it, Time in hours, days, years,
Driv'n by the spheres
Like a vast shadow mov'd; in which the world
And all her train were hurl'd.

-Henry Vaughan

I learned that poem, and an innumerable host of things that I cannot catalogue from the novels of Madeleine L'Engle.

Who died yesterday.

I've known she was sick for a very long time, and it's good that she's at peace now, but I am...I don't know. Utterly, utterly sad.

I loved those novels, and I hope somewhere in Lucien's library I will one day find a copy of The Other Side of the Sun.
fictional: (full face)
Somehow, I can't quite believe that Pavarotti is dead. Another little piece of my childhood seems to have crumbled away. "Two Tenors" just doesn't have the same ring to it.

Also, he was one of our models for Rodolphus from [ profile] descensus_hp, so that's another little random sadness.


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August 2009

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