Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bea Arthur is Now Singing With Rock Hudson, If There Is A God

Like a thief in the night I've gone creeping about reading. And though I too will miss Bea Arthur I hadn't found just the thing I wanted to post to note her passing. And then I stopped by E's at StarSpangledHaggis, and found this:

And if you know me, you know why this is one of my favorites. And like E says, it's "So Retro"

Cal, I'm Sorry

I have done something so casually cruel and careless that I can barely stand to be in the same room with myself. I have tossed off what I hope will be the last bitch slap of my entire life. I often do this with remarks about rightwing fundamentalists or other political types with whom I disagree. I think of this as snark, but maybe now is the time for me to give up snark as a form of expression. Since I have taken snark from the political to the very personal and in a most shallow and careless way, I have injured a man who did nothing more than attempt to befriend me. In this instance I have become my mother, and the feeling of having been possessed of my mother's lack of sensitivity for the feelings of others is almost too awful to bear. Cal, I'm sorry, and I know it's too late to take anything back. What I have said and done stands out starkly for me. I see the bitch who lives inside of me. It will require some very difficult work for me to exorcise this creature. She is not a woman I wish to be, much less live with. I am embarrassed and ashamed of myself. I need to work very hard at learning the delicate art of friendship before I can trust myself to be kind and considerate enough to offer friendship to anyone. As it is, savage was truer a name for me than I ever realized before.

Seeing With Old Eyes

I have always known that none of us sees things exactly the same way. I'm not speaking of having a different point of view, I'm talking about the literal act of seeing. I discovered this when I was six or seven. My mother had a friend she only saw once or twice a year. I thought this woman was lovely. She had red hair and pink cheeks. She almost always wore green. And warmth was what radiated from her eyes. I told my mother after this woman left our house one day that I thought she was pretty. My mother said, "My god, you've got bad taste. She's gaudy and cheap looking." It was in this moment that I knew my mother and I did not see the world the same way--that what was pretty to me was gaudy to her.

I have since noticed with my friends that what I choose to photograph or paint is not something they usually see as beautiful. I have one friend who works hard to make herself appear invisible. I have another friend who works very hard to make herself seen.

As for point of view, I believe there is nothing that can't be talked about, examined, and therefore "seen." My two friends both think most personal things should remain personal. This means to me that there are things they think should be secret--the dirty laundry of their lives. I think nothing cleans dirty laundry faster than a good airing. So in this metaphorical sense we do not see the world the same way.

I've been thinking about seeing because I've been taking photographs again. Looking at the photos from my past life that I've chosen to frame and put on the wall. They are all photos of small architectural details from places I've lived and loved. But the person I lived with in those places is absent. I have no family photos anywhere in my house except in old dusty albums tucked in the closet. I have so few memories of my family that are free of pain that I have chosen not to look at them anymore. But it was only after years of minute examination of their impact on my life and the truth and validity of my memories and feelings that I was able to put them away.