30 September 2009

I'm reading several books....

Beside my bed are: The Prince of Tides, Pat Conroy
The Dark Side of Camelot, Seymour Hirsch (sp?)
I'm looking for The Family, by Jeff Sharlet.  I brought it with me when I traveled this weekend and I haven't unpacked yet.
Black Reconstruction, W.E.B. Dubois

I have read about 1/2 of the 1st 2, 1/4 of the 3rd, and only a chapter or 2 of the last.

I want to read one book that I can't put down.  Tides is dragging ever so slightly.  I get it, Tom Wingo, your Dad was a failure at everything except shrimping.  So was my Great Uncle Calvin.  Now, on with it!  Of course I did a little research & found out about the Big Trauma, which I'd forgotten from the film years ago.  I've only read one other Conroy book, The Water is Wide.  I think it was his first.  Excellent, autobiographical book about teaching on one of the SC sea islands. 

Someone who has a house on Fripp Island told me he is a curmudgeon.  Someone else who spent time with William Styron told me he was also a curmudgeon.  Their writing reminds me of each other's.  We lost Styron, when, last year?  I loved Sophie's Choice, read that years ago.  A few years ago I read Lie Down in Darkness.  I liked that.  Geez, just checked-Styron died almost 3 years ago. 

I've done a lot of genealogy research, and most of my family is from a remote area of NC on the inner banks of the barrier islands.  Styron also had ancestors from this county, Hyde County.  He wrote an interesting piece about his grandmother's experience as a child of a planter, then having her home burned during the Civil War and having to move to a town in Beaufort County.  It's on Hyde's County's genealogy website.  You can find it here.  It is quite eloquent. 

I've always felt a connection to him because of shared heritage, being born in Newport News where Styron grew up, his father & my father worked at the Newport News shipyard, his grandmama lived in Little Washington, NC, which was the closest large town to my parents' hometown.  Oh, and depression.  I tried to read Darkness, Visible, about his experience with depression, but didn't get far.  Mine has been different, although there's always a connection between people with depression. 

You can frequently tell if a writer struggles with depression by their work.  Styron, Conroy, definitely.  I love a good melancholy read myself!  I love to read books about crimes.  I like the ones that are written well, and have a solid basis on the time and place and cultural context.  Two good ones that come to mind are Lorenzo Carcaterra (Sleepers, and another one I read, forgot the name), and James Ellroy, best known for the novel LA Confidential, but I love a book he wrote about his own mother's murder called My Dark Places.  Mikhail Gilmore is or was, not sure, the brother of Gary Gilmore, who Mailer wrote about in The Executioner's Song (which I read about 1100 of the about 1200 pages of TWICE?!).  I think Gary Gilmore was the 1st person executed by after the death penalty was re-instated in-1974?  Anyhow, Mikhail Gilmore wrote a fascinating memoir about growing up in that toxic family.  It was called  Shot in the Heart.

Until next time...  Stay awake!

29 September 2009

Grey Gardens

Whenever a film is made about true events or people, I check to see if there is a documentary, and there was for this film.  It was made by none other than the great Maysles brothers, Albert & David.  Just finished watching this and it was interesting.  Unfortunately I was distracted by something with my family today and I couldn't enjoy it as I might have.  I'm trying to digest something huge, which I found out about at 5:36pm.  I'm trying to get to a positive place with it.  

Regarding Grey Gardens, I'm sure the recent film starring Jessica Lange & Drew Barrymore was much more stylish, but this documentary was very authentic.  I was also distracted by researching these women on the internet, while watching the documentary..  I should probably watch it again, but I doubt I will.  I pretty much have the scoop now!  I recommend watching it.  It is an interesting study in, extreme eccentricity, at least.



Morning is peace, tranquility, joy.

Morning is an assault to the senses,

Harsh, tentative

I lay with my alarm clock to my chest, snoozing, worrying, wanting.

28 September 2009

I've been thinking about....

One thought I was having about my prolific blogging today is from Bob Dylan,

"I've got a head full of ideas, that are driving'me insane!"

One of my favorite people to quote is Mark Twain.  I love the man.  He was so before his time and when I hear things he said it's like a breath of fresh air.  I don't like lies and secrets.  I can't say I've never lied or told or broken a secret, but I try to advise people not to tell me secrets because I can't keep them!  I love Twain's quote:

"If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything."  I think I like that because I'm forgetful at times.  Also, it just feels practical and resonates inside.

Regarding Ayn Rand, I read 2 of her books many, many years ago when I was a teenager.  I read them for pleasure because they were lying around the house.  We the Living was the first novel of hers that I read.  It also happens to be the first novel she wrote.  After that, I read The Fountainhead .  I loved this novel.  Howard Roark's devotion to the purity of his art endeared me to him so.  What I didn't know for years was that this book spawned a school of thought or philosophy call Objectivism .  I confused Objectivism with Existentialism, neither of which I understood well.  I just felt all of the architecture created by Howard should never be changed because it was his art.  I guess I was thinking like an artist, although I've never thought of myself as an artist.

Later I found out about Ayn Rand's popularity and following.  Now that I do understand Objectivism, I find it very interesting that former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan was a devotee of Rand's and actually lived with her and her followers as a young man.  I never read the behemoth Atlas Shrugged, probably because it looked like work, and by that time I knew she was a proponent of this philosophy I didn't understand at the time.  I may tackle it one day.  It may be pertinent to our times.

I just thought about Elizabeth Kubler Ross.  Perhaps more later, or maybe someone reading this has some thoughts!!  I do know when she was trying to help children with Aids in the western part of Virginia in the 80's   she was threatened, her home and many of her papers burned (through arson, I believe), and there was a lot of opposition to it.  I found that sad.  But there is so much more to this fascinating woman.  Anyone out there want to to talk about her, or any other artist, book, art work, architecture, etc.?  Please feel free to comment. I want to know what you are thinking about this stuff, and certainly learn more about all of these subjects.

A feeling of being without fear

What are dreams to you?  They can be an idea or wish of something we want to accomplish.  Or, they can be those interesting activities that go on in our minds when we are sleeping.  I'm going to speak a bit about them.

A little while ago one came to mind I want to share.  I don't want to make a long story, but I was brought up Baptist, I am still a moderate Baptist, but I'm beginning to wonder about organized religion.  It seems there is always so much conflict, and one wants to be right and make the others wrong, etc.  However, I think if a church is where I can be the most connected, I'm there!  Hasn't been the case for me recently, but that may be changing.  Anyhow, I fear death.  I joke that I'm still not sure if I'm going to hell or not when the truth is I don't even believe in a hell that doesn't exist on this plane.

So, I thought I feared hell more than death, but a dream I had within the last few years showed me otherwise.  First, I've had a recurring dream about plain crashes throughout my life.  It started with a knowledge of a crash at the airport, each dream brought me closer to the airport over the years until I saw the plane crash.  Then I didn't have the dream again.  I did have another dream where I was in a plane that crashed and I knew I was going to die.  I felt fear, then an incredible peace and feeling of safety.  I welcomed death.  Then I woke up.

I believe we are sometimes blessed with reassurances from Spirit in our dreams.  I could go on about other dreams I've had in which I felt this.  They are somehow different.  This one didn't feel like one of those.  I did remember the feeling of being without fear vividly, however, and it was like a precious gift.  I had no idea how much fear I have in my life, which I, of course, have tried to become more conscious of.

Let me know if you have any dreams to share, or want to 'talk' about.  I love dreams.  I write them down a lot and sometimes I can't read what I wrote!  They are usually a little unpleasant, but that one offered me a glimpse of what it would feel like to not have fear.

Oh, by the way, I always take a tranquilizer before I fly.  I've been doing this about 5 years, and Jeezum Crowe, it's so nice not to be staring at the flight attendant the whole time, to make sure he or she doesn't look panicked!  And being able to breathe during takeoff and while landing.  I like breathing consistently.

Whiz Bang Woman

I just had lunch with a new friend and we talked about--writing, expressing yourself, creativity, art, psychology, family life, career, college,   I also spent the weekend with one of my best friends who is an artist.  We immersed ourselves in art the entire weekend--an art talk by 3 artists at a co-op gallery, a private show, a public show at Galleria d'Arte in Ridgefield, Ct, and a party of a friend and art mentor of hers who had actually won an Emmy for writing on his PBS show.  And he's a painter!  Figure that!

Here are Kudos and plugs for these 3 whiz bang women.  Each of these women is an entrepreneur, and a creative, positive, powerful force.  Click on their names to go to their websites.

Donna HighfillStephanie Joyce, and Dara Polenghi-Quinn

I bought a piece of art at Dara's show and it was an emotional, powerful experience.  Until last year, I had collected pre-Civil War era American furniture, so I never met any of the artists.  When I bought my first fine arts piece last year in Denmark I was so moved by the piece and by the artist.  The same happened Saturday when I bought a silver piece of jewelry from an artist who was actually showing paintings at the show.  I connected with him quite viscerally.

I am awed by the power and spiritual connection in art, literature, creativity, and emotion.

Please share with me and other readers any experiences or thoughts that come to mind.  I'd love to hear about it!