Friday, November 28, 2008

Heart Mandala for the Bloggers With the Open Hearts

Susan, she of the Crow with the beautiful voice, and the two sites, Phantsythat, and Adventures Ink is a talented artist, and not just with the words, though there is no denying her talents there. She is a visual artist too. Randal asked for a new painting from her and she painted a Heart Mandala. I studied Buddhism and had an old hippie friend who made several of those fashionable trips to India in the 60's along with the Beatles and every other musical type with an eye to a trend. One of my friends in that category came home with a guru and some Indian friends and she and her partner opened a little shop in Brentwood called Sat Purush, where they sold beautiful handmade Indian clothes for men and women with means, and some very fancy concert get-ups for the big name rockers. A friend of hers came back from India with a side trip through Tangiers and brought back one suitcase full of hashish and another full of Bedouin wedding dresses. I got one of the dresses and smoked my fair share of the hash. None of this is very Buddhist, more like some amalgamation of Krishna consciousness and Buddhism with a little hippie hashish thrown in along with the beautiful Bedouin dresses. And out of all of this, the hash smuggler--a life long painter, began to paint Mandalas. Extravagantly beautiful Mandalas. The lower chakras were her specialty. Nuff said.

But Susan has painted a Heart Mandala, and if anyone needed an opening of the heart it is I. Susan must have sensed this to address my heart's need for opening, and so Randal, the Boarder Explorer and I were the first recipients of this lovely art to become a new Award. I do not remember if there were instructions or suggestions for the passing of this award, but I believe that this award needs to be passed to those whose hearts have been wounded and yet manage to remain open and honest about their wounds and the ways they work on healing. Or perhaps it is the bloggers with hearts so open they can read your heart and know what you need and are only too happy to ask for your address to send it to you. Imagine all the trust in that?

At any rate the first blogger I wish to award this Heart Mandala is SaoirseDaily2 for her incredible generosity of heart. If you've missed the earring post, go back and look. If you missed yesterday's Jenna Mamnina clip. Well, you're hopeless, keep up.

Next to Liberality who gave me my first Award ever in my entire life, ever, and I had only been blogging a short while. Well, it thrilled me no end. I had so little skill it took weeks to get it home and "Link?" What is this link of which you speak? It only took me six or eight months to give her credit for the gift. That takes a lot of patience on her part. But I give this to her because... Well, she knows why.

And to Linda Sama The Ageless Hippie Chick who gave me The Rebel Grrrl Award. Now that goes right to my badass image of myself. Pretty funny when you think how old I am. But Linda IS
a Buddhist and she does indeed collect Mandalas. Who better to get one than one who loves them so. Besides that she teaches Yoga and could probably teach me how to open mine.

And to Dcup whose hearts as big as her cup size, and as open as her mind. I love you dear. Have you figured it out yet, that my heart belongs to Dcup, no matter my deep and heartfelt flirtation with Tengrain, and Kelso and his nuts, and Fairlane, who never even noticed, and yes, Dcup even Mathman.

And to D.K. Read, because with hair that red, her heart is shining right through her hair. Can anyone deny it? Because when Stella doesn't take the silly Anonymous commenters on, DK does. My fierce protectors.

And to Stella who posted the very first comment on my blog and then told me I reminded her of Dorothy Parker. What better reason could there be?

This comes with no strings attached. No rules that I know of. So hang on to your heart or pass it around. It's your heart after all. The only thing I ask is that you post your Mandala on your sidebar and link it back to Susan.

Jenna Mammina

Ms Saoirse Daily2 sends not only handmade earrings I'm now calling my "Lobe Jewels" just precisely because it does sound a tiny bit nasty, and I'm that kind of woman, but she sent me a CD. Now, I have to confess something and I know it makes me sound like an asshole to admit this, but I have a hard time visiting sites where there is music playing the moment the site pops up. Often my speakers are turned up too loud because I might have been listening to my favorite Diana Krall last night and now, I'm just not expecting music I didn't chose, to come blaring at me from anyone's peaceful space but mine (which might not be exactly peaceful, but has my own soundtrack playing, if anythings playing at all). This might mean I'm a snob, or closed to the tastes of others, and that could be true. I wouldn't argue with you if you said that about me. But it's more that I feel oddly assaulted by waves of sound not of my choosing. Again, those words--"of my choosing." There are many of you who have turned me on to music I didn't know existed, and now that I do, I spend at least 99cents a week buying music you led me to. So it isn't just that I hate new stuff, but I do hate most of what you guys have playing on your sites like it was goddamned elevator music. Sorry, I had to say it. But what you like and wish to listen to is very personal. If I post a music clip and you cruise right past it without a pretense of a listen, I completely understand. I do the same thing. I may say something like, "Lovely music. So what did you think about the stampede at WallMart at FIVE FUCKIN' AM this morning?"

Ms Saoirse is the loveliest of women. She is talented and generous too. Why after giving me gifts must she listen for a moment to what I have to say about the music playing at her place? Because it explains the time it took me to open the CD cover and slip that baby into the slot and crank up the volume. And what I heard brought tears to my eyes from almost the opening notes, but all through the whole CD did I weep. Because Ms Saoirse has been paying close attention to my taste, and she has the magic of the true gift giver--she gives, not from her own desire, but for mine, or yours, or to whomever she gives. So, I can't tell you how much I love this gift of terrific new jazz, now I will be pulling up the YouTube clips almost everyday to not only listen to, but to watch as well. If you don't like it, put your fingers in your ears and go lalalalallala as loud as you can, but I'll be here either dancing or singing along, or crying, because it's just all so damn poignant and touching, and it swings.

Eugene Fodor Used to Play Paganini In My Backyard

This was the Eugene Fodor I knew. His fiance was a student of my husband's in the mid to late 1970's. I remember entertaining them in our tiny apartment in the Cherry Creek section of Denver. She was a small, voluptuous, dark haired beauty and she and I hit it off immediately. I was not so sure about Eugene. He was more politically conservative than she, and if I remember correctly, an ardent gun enthusiast. And when we met them, he was already a virtuoso concert violinist, world famous, and with a certain rock star following of lovesick young women. So I watched him for signs of arrogance, but what I saw instead was inexperience with anything other than his doting mother and his ambitious father whose talent was not so great, but a fierce desire for his sons to have what he could not. Eugene was a boy who grew up on a large ranch with an older brother who was also a talented violinist. Eugene was both a young genius and a strutting cowboy. And then it came so early, this star stature. Underneath that wattage was a sweet, generous, romantic young man with great good looks, a bit of a rough edge and a monster talent.

We were invited to the family ranch for an engagement party. It was a Spanish style event with a Mariachi band. And a short time later we were invited to the wedding. They moved to New York and I remember working on a painting in a new medium to send to them for a wedding present a few months later.

Shortly after that we moved to Missouri, where my husband got a teaching job at one of the lovely State Universities. We used to see Eugene play now and then on Johnny Carson.

They wrote letters, called occasionally, and then we got a call that they were playing in a concert in another Missouri City and wanted to come stay with us the night and day before the concert and that we would be their guests for the event. We were both delighted and worried. I more worried than my husband. Eugene's wife, my friend, whose name I can no longer recall I'm embarrassed to say, was very pregnant with twins. I worried that the bed in the guest room wasn't big enough or comfortable enough. But they were both so sweet. We had a lovely afternoon. Fixed dinner at home. We ate simply, at their request. And when she went to bed, he wandered into the backyard and played. So under a cool autumn sky full of stars on the edge of the Ozarks, we listened to perhaps the worlds most famous Paganini virtuoso play Paginini. It was the most magical, transcendent musical moment of my life.

And again, late the next afternoon, he wandered the backyard and played for at least an hour. Then the black limousine came to pick us up for the two hour ride to the concert hall. When we got out of the limousine, hordes of girls began screaming. Eugene signed some autographs and then we were herded into his dressing room. We had champaign, caviar, cheeses, fruit. And then we were taken to the first box in the balcony to look down on the stage. Before he began playing he blew his wife a kiss, and people rose from their seats to look up at us, she looked around and smiled and then the concert began.

I had never been a fan of classical music. I grew up with jazz. Oh I'd certainly heard plenty of classical music. My dad's mother loved it. But not until high school had I gone to concerts or listened to classical music of my own accord, until I heard Rachmaninoff's Isle of the Dead did I find something other than Jazz that really moved me. Then I discovered Stravinski's Petrushka, and The Rite of Spring. And then Vivaldi, and so it went. Yet still, I did not like Beethoven, or Motzart, or Wagner, especially not Wagner. Then later found Bach and that was the sweet spot, classically speaking.

After the concert in an unnamed city in Missouri, there was a reception. As we walked into the room, a wave of applause swept over us, Eugene's wife grabbed me by the hand, asked me to come with her, approached the nearest matron in a flowered dress, and asked her where the ladies room was, all the while tightly clutching my hand to her ample bosom. She dragged me to the crowded ladies and then, just inside the door to the packed room, put a hand to either side of my face and pulled mine to hers and planted a juicy kiss on my startled lips. And the room went silent for just a moment as most of the waiting women held their breath. Then my hugely pregnant friend spoke in her rich musical contralto and asked to cut in line, as her husband was waiting for her, and because she was so very preggers, she needed to pee so very badly. And we walked into the first available stall together, since she still held my hand. Once inside, she opened her little evening bag and pulled a tiny silver vial out, unscrewed the lid, dipped in her little finger and scooped out a nail full of coke. She snorted rather noisily, then giggled and kissed me again. She had me backed against the wall, leaning into me slightly as she bent back and scooped another nail full. She whispered, don't breathe or you'll blow it all around. Then she snorted another. She said, close your eyes and hold your breath. I did. She said, "breathe" and I sucked air in through my nose along with a powerful hit of coke. And again. Then she pulled a joint from her purse and hiked her skirt and sat on the toilet. I whispered, "Do you think this is wise in here?" Never mind, "You're pregnant, aren't you?" She lit it, and we giggled through a joint while the ladies room emptied.

That is my last memory of them other than a birth announcement and a couple of letters. His career was in full swing, and she was hanging around with the guys in Divo and going to all the hot clubs and parites. I heard she was studying Opera Singning. Then silence.

Then we heard they'd divorced. Then we divorced. I moved back to Salt Lake and then First Love/Last Love and I started living together. Then one night we saw something on TV about Eugene Fodor's arrest in the Hamptons for a break-in and a drug bust. And then nothing after that. Such genius and the demons that sometimes accompany extraordinary gifts. And today, while listening to Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg I thought of Eugene.