Sunday, February 21, 2010

Past Perfect

Ahh, it's good to be on a new schedule. Rising at seven-thirty in the morning feels like an indulgence in over-sleeping. By eight the dishes are done and a new cupboard has been reorganized. It's another sunny, beautiful day here.

I feel unburdened these past few days. I've
let a lot go, much more than I might have hoped. Coming home I felt empty and I still do, in some ways, but in that space I've found room to breathe. I'm singing again, and boldly.

Yesterday a friend put forth the idea that the past is perfect, in a way, because it can only ever be what it was. There's some truth in that.
Another friend jokingly asked me to describe my trip in ten words or less, to which I replied: Paris was freeing, freezing, complicated, illuminating, costly, beautiful, peaceful, quick...

How much has changed in the days since I've come back! It's been strange to return to my house, and to see so clearly that it is not my home--it's just another place, and one which is barely familiar, at that. But it's a good place, a kind shelter, and I'm looking forward once again to growing new life in the space outside.

Inside, there's still much work to do. I still have no couch upon which to rest, no table at which to share food, no piano to play. There is cleaning and scrubbing and sanding and painting to do, and at some point I'm going to have to challenge and conquer the mighty Charybdis... For now, though, I hope to sleep long hours and spend a lot more time in the sauna. I'll sweat out what I can. It's good to be back.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Oh, Mighty Charybdis!


And just like that, I was locked out of my house.

There's a certain sort of euphoric lucidity that comes hand in hand with the ripping consciousness of change, while being repeatedly sucker-punched by the benevolent and all-forgiving universe. Life's been "good" to me lately, in the sense that whatever has not killed me thus far has finally made me strong enough to withstand the hideous beauty that's inescapably reflected in the thousand shards of my diamond-cut soul which now litter my inner sanctuary. Honest to god, I had no idea what a total shithole of a person I've become. So now it's my conscience versus the sexist joke, my will alone that shields me from the slings and arrows, my own unjustifiable faith against all evidence. Have I really been so unloving?

These demons I've harbored take bites of me as I set them free. Past skin and nerves, blood cold, I'm down to bone. To bedrock. Meanwhile, I'm showered with blessings, with freedom, with the bitter sarcasm of the universe spoken through what might easily have been kind and loving words from acquaintances and friends. I am not the butt of this joke, I'm just the audience who doesn't get it, the offended listener who laughs anyway. Hear no evil? Speak no evil? Do I really say such things? Could I go back to that faraway land where I don't understand what's being said?

Charybdis. My little brother thus christened the toilet in my new place, which at every mundane flush swirls into such a raging vortex that it threatens the entire house with flooding, until finally after what seems like hours it rushes down the drain, drowning the sound of my futile curses. I'm in it now, surrounded by my own floating shit. I am the sea-monster, cursed, pulling toward certain...wetness?...any who stray too close. Careful, though--there's another on the other side of this passage who's just the same.

Some Buddhists might suggest that what we experience is "merely" a reflection of how one feels about oneself. Rather simplistic. Is oneself me, or you? So how could I possibly feel that way about you? Am I really such an asshole?

Well, anyway. It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, all bright blue sky and sunshine. I've got my spare keys back and I'm going for a walk, on my own.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Domo Arigato, Mme. Margato

Well kids, I made it home a couple days ago and I think I just got over myself sometime this morning. I've come a long way these past two weeks, although I'm still awaking to the doorways and arches of Paris, until my vision tells me where I am now.

I'm working through the trip and the photos, both of which contain moments of wondrous beauty and godawful bullshit. Sadly, my computer doesn't have the necessary resources to deal with my images (it has trouble even typing) so it may be a while before anything comes to light.

I came home with a few things: One earring lost. My favorite sweater shrunk to an impossible size. A hat intended for someone half my age. Part of a bag of coffee. A phone number I sort of wish I didn't have. Renewed confidence. Shattered self-esteem. A void where my heart used to rest. Love of blood sausage. Faith in possibility. A new song. Absence of overpowering regret. The texture of pastels, of the filthy & turgid Seine, of rooftops from the terrace, of soft cheeses, of bodies carved from stone and wine on my tongue. The smell of the street in the morning. A pair of tubas playing "It's Now or Never".

Wow, that makes it sound almost romantic. How cute.

Favorite things about Paris include how much it didn't stink, how walkable it is, how rideable, tiny cars, not understanding the language, a young boy trying the back door at just the wrong moment and yelling MaaammaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaan! one afternoon when I passed from scowl to smile, an apartment most comfortable, that fleeting sense of freedom, flying there and back, sleeping for twelve hours straight, getting my suitcase back after three days of calls and waiting and finally with the assistance of Mme. Margato who phoned to explain in zero Anglais to my unspeakable French,
bottomless bowls of chocolate mousse, all those amazing things in the science museum, superhuman detail of Tibetan paintings, that little girl with the two baby doll strollers and knockout sunglasses, the lady and the unicorn, windows and doors, the revelation of Degas pastels and Van Goghs and others, pairs of bodies shaped from a single stone, wrinkled skin in marble, mossy graves and real live gravediggers, rehearsal at the opera, Orion from the balcony, thinking of nothing.

That's all I have for tonight. More another day.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


I wanted just to say goodbye, thank you, my love to you (if you are reading, this means you!)... I wish you peace. I hope to return with joie and photos.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

je ne sais quoi

It's been a difficult week. I'm in an emotional stew which has been by turns a roiling cauldron of fury, a thick mess of humility, a thin taste of hopelessness, a burnt soup of sorrow, a bubbling broth of joy, a spilled puddle of heartbreak, a simmering pot of rage, a lumpy gravy of regret, a sticky porridge of self-loathing, a creamy pudding of hope, a spicy curry of possibility, a black potion of doubt, a sweet brew of transcendence, the bitter medicine of shame, spoiled leftovers of life. (Into the compost, mix with shit...)

Work has taken its toll on my spirit, especially of late. Yesterday I realized that during the entire past year I did not have a stretch of more than three workdays off. Of those, one was a vacation with family, split in two locations. One was two days off after a weekend, also split in two locations, in which I was taken down by serious illness. The other was the two days I took off to move out. It's been a long time since I had anything close to resembling a "vacation", and it's run me down. I'm stretched, tired. I'm not excited about going to Paris, I
have to go. I have to leave here, be away from here, have something else for a while, anything else. Paris seems a bit much right now, but there it is, all I've got. I have cute new jeans, snacks, books and my camera, among the many things I'm packing up tonight. What I will not carry with me on this trip is any peace of mind about my life, my relationships, my future, my self. I am not concerned about getting lost, or not knowing where I am. I am worried about not knowing who I am. I'm afraid of being my own and my only companion. I wanted to leave for this trip with an open mind and an open heart, in peace. As it is, I'm just... leaving. And I already don't want to come back.

I have much to do tonight, little hope of getting any rest before I go. There's so much I've wanted to write down these past few days, to leave behind, and now it seems I'll have to take it all with me. Maybe I'll get lucky, lose some baggage on the way home. Au revoir.