About The Girl
- NON SEQUITURS UNITE
- California, United States
- Not-so-silent observations that splinter my conversations. Harnessing the steady flow of random thoughts and musings that continuously interrupt my daily conversations. Paired here with my artwork and photographs from recent adventures. Non sequitur (pronounced \ˈnän-ˈse-kwə-tər\)- a response which, due to its apparent lack of meaning relative to its context, seems absurd to the point of being humorous or confusing.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Am I the only one who feels they often simply forget to turn the darn thing off?!
I live my life in a similar fashion. I wait for opportunities to present themselves. Then I respond. Methodical. Orderly. Planned. I am patient.What happens when I desperately want to get somewhere and the universe hasn't yet changed the signal?
I feel an urgency to move away from where I am right now. Anywhere but stay here. This is no longer a delightful discomfort. This is an excruciating urge.
There are others I know who confidently chart a course across streets, between cars, darting through the gaps in traffic. Moving is a chronic state for them.
Are they choosing to deliberately cut corners and to break the rules or simply to follow an inner voice?
Rather than wait for the signal these brave (or foolish) pedestrians take control of their fate and charge forth. Convinced they are able to determine when the timing is right for them. Signals are meant for other people. The ones incapable of determining when it's appropriate on their own.
Is there fearlessness or courage in jay walking?
The signals, rules and cross walks were designed to keep us safe, to keep things orderly, to allow traffic to continue to flow. This system serves the community. What happens to the individuals' rights?
Does this habit reflect the way in which we live our lives? I stand still, quietly waiting for life to tell me when the time is right. Waiting. Deliberately. Emblematic of my path to date. Others spring forth and seize the moments and opportunities as they observe them. Pouncing with a ferocity for life. A zeal. A hoot-spa!
Would it serve me to become comfortable with jay walking? Or is there value in staying put where I am with my discomfort? Who will send the signal to let me know which is the appropriate choice?
What about you? Do you jay walk through life? Or are you practiced at staying put?
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
"Hope" is the thing with feathers-/that perches in the soul-/And sings the tune without the words-/And never stops at all." Emily Dickinson
Organ music tends to drag me down. On a glorious morning in Balboa Park I welcome the din of leaf blowers over that of the organ.
Organs make grave companions.
I have always fervently believed that organs are best left to accompany church choirs, dastardly villains, wax museum monsters and Vincent Price. Not necessarily in that order.
Organs lack versatility.
The deep, resonant tones of the organ tug me into a somber state. Its heavy, melancholy notes sap the very life and vital energy from around me creating a funereal mood.
Changing my tune.
This evening I witnessed a joyous, "thrashing" of the Spreckels Organ. Our musician played with an enthusiasm he credited to his fourteen-year-old self. Dennis James has played the organ alongside silent films at Spreckels for over 2 decades. This man is unquestionably, contagiously passionate about what he does. So much so that his zeal sustained him during 77 continuous minutes of pairing his delightful music to Buster Keaton's silent film, The Cameraman.
I cannot remember the last time I laughed so continuously, so raucously. I felt compelled to stop laughing myself only so that I could enjoy the guffaws and fabulous belly laughter that surrounded me. Here is a hero I truly want to rally behind - a clumsy-yet-amiable human, imperfect and yet perfectly loveable. It almost feels like voyeurism, watching Buster become instantly enamored with Sally, his open admiration and their awkward first date on a Sunday stroll.
Elicits delightful emotions.
I credit Mr. James' sheer delight for warming my heart to the organ's tunes. This man is obviously living his dharma. Together with an audience of several thousand, my emotions rose and fell on cue with Mr. James' precise coaxing.
There is something extraordinarily therapeutic about laughing out loud, uncontrollably at times, in a large crowd. The vibrations of unrestrained laughter resonated within us, surrounding us with positive energy, similar to the chanting of om as the sounds harmonize and become one with everything. I have a colleague, Santosh, who guides a Laughter Yoga workshop (http://www.yogasantosh.com/). Unexpectedly, I believe that I experienced a sampling of the transformational power of this form of yoga tonight.
What is it about the silent film that awakens our inner emotional dialogue?
Silent films embrace simplicity, minimalism. The message is pure and uncomplicated. Transparent. Genuine. It's true that at times the scenes are slightly exaggerated to illustrate the story in the absence of dialogue. But I felt no lack, no shortage, nothing missing from this evening's performance. Only abundant humor and high spirits. Instead it was absolutely perfect. Timeless.
Once again, contrast.
Such stark contrast to the presently noisy, muddy and complex productions created by Hollywood. Usually I would bemoan the crowd's laughter as distracting, a hindrance to hearing all of the dense dialogue necessary to explain the subtle details of the plot.
Not tonight. Here the audience's reactions became the dialogue, a supporting role to the events unfolding on-screen. The laughter mingled with the live organ music to create a spontaneous symphony chronicling our response to the plights and pleasures of our hero and his quest to woo and win the girl. Relying on the audience to truly, openly feel. I left charmed by the experience. I find myself eager to allow the simplicity of laughter and silent movies to infiltrate the rest of my world.
May sheer, authentic joy reverberate throughout your life like an uncontrollable, belly laugh.
In order to illustrate the evening's tone I feel it necessary to share a sample of laughter and organ music mingling. ENJOY!
To learn more about the Spreckels Organ, upcoming events and how to support silent movie night, please visit, http://www.sosorgan.com/.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
In my haste I missed all of these lovely details. The subtleties, like the first signs of the changing seasons, would go unnoticed.
I am grateful for the power of slowness. Now I appreciate meandering. I savour soaking up the details. Noticing. Listening.
Enormous drops, timed as though the sky were opening. Shedding heavy tears. Pregnant with the weight of accumulated emotion.
While most of us lack Cyrano's blaring protuberance, we each travel with what we believe to be our own unlovable aspects of ourselves. These facets may be less immediately visible than Cyrano's extraordinary nose, but they present equally treacherous obstacles between us and the achievement of our authentic happiness.
I watched as Cyrano confidently conquered his adversaries with his delightful combination of wit and words. All the while, he hid his talents behind the mask of what he believed to be the idyllic, handsome figure. Cyrano repackaged himself.
I was reminded that each of us feels a secret longing for acceptance and love. Someone who will love even those parts of ourselves that we view to be glaring imperfections, unlovable features that we struggle to live and accept ourselves. We ache for the day when someone is willing to love us because of our humanness and beyond even our own expectations.
For a time we find ourselves frivolously tossing coins and wishes into fountains - reckless of what we ask for and how it might be granted. If we're fortunate, there will come a time when we find a genuine wish, our heart's true desire that requires a patient, thoughtful, focused gesture. Let us honor the intrinsic beauty cradled precariously within this hope.
"...have you ever noticed that there are people who do things which are most indelicate, and yet at the same time--beautiful?"E. M. Forster, A Room With A View
Tact and fear have a habit of tightening the reins on the natural strength and beauty of our emotions.
"Through the whirlwind which your eyes stir up inside me. But now, in this blessed darkness, I feel I am speaking to you for the first time."- Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Act 3
Blessed darkness may take the form of lengthy emails. A format in which a trusting heart blossoms with the latent force of conversations yet unopened. Oh, the possibilities that lie restless and awake as darkness descends upon the park! In the silent stillness I feel a rising tide, filled with all the words left unspoken, now gushing forth, aching to flow freely upon your eager ears.
"You're a genuinely good man. There aren't many of you left."- Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Act 2
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Our family history is filled with quirky superstitions and time honored traditions.
A bayberry candle burned to the socket means health in the family and wealth in the pocket. In our daily lives tradition verged on superstition. When does tradition become obligation? I would fear to forget to light a bayberry candle on Christmas Eve. I would be too concerned that the result might be a year of poor health, little wealth and general bad luck.
At what point does tradition no longer serve us? How do we determine this? Is a tradition something of value to preserve or simply a means of spreading ashes across the generations? When does the tradition enrich the experience? When we lost my father I found myself clinging to memories and traditions. As time passes, some of this naturally falls away. Hopefully we willingly shed that which is unnecessary and no longer authentic for our family.
My daughter and I have begun a few of our own traditions. Thanks to a lovely dinner a few years back at a dear friend's home (The Boyle's), we now include Family Peace at the end of our pre-meal grace.
On lazy mornings we always enjoy playing the Under-the-Covers game.
We still enjoy Highway Pieway. Only our variation is with non-dairy ice cream and frozen yogurt. Yogurt Escape is our recent favorite!
Some traditions fade over time. Others we adapt and redefine to fit our changing lives. I only sincerely hope that I am present enough to judge when it is time to let go and shed the traditions and routines that no longer serve us.
"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
This is a wonderful quote as it has many facets to it. Here, I am introducing it to elaborate that I truly believe that we are all a bit insane, especially families. We create roles for one another. Ultimately we often practice the same scenes over and over again, all the while expecting a different outcome. These are the traditions it would best serve us to leave behind and shed.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
We're all familiar with the way it plays out. Just as the gorgeous bouquet of cut flowers he hands you will eventually wilt. It predictably begins...
Once upon a time...
After much fuss, somewhere near the end, a tragic, rather gruesome finish deservedly comes for the wicked stepmother, evil queen or terrifying, dog-killing lunatic.
What is Cruella Da Ville? A cougar of the fiercest kind?!
I rather doubt if any of them were still alive to comment, that they would describe their endings as happy. No, somehow that doesn't seem to be a line these villains would easily deliver.
Instead, the happy refers to the bright, new beginnings and unlimited possibilities that the future holds in store for our heroes and heroines. Now that the other ending has conveniently disposed of their adversaries, our champions can happily move on.
What happens when there is no evil antihero?
These days the story lines have slowly blurred, disintegrated. Our protagonist lacks her rapscallion counterpart. Without the contrast of her evildoer's dire fate, our heroine's happy ending appears woefully bleak.
Our courageous woman must single-handedly survive both fates. Alone she must create the desired contrast that enables us as an audience and her as our central character, to truly appreciate the happy ending. She must weather the expected demise of something or someone she desires. This sense of loss then creates the opening for what is to come. On cue, just when we fear that all is lost, a happy new beginning occurs.
In order for the happy to exist, the end must also simultaneously exist. Therefore, it would be redundant to quip happy beginnings.
If we could only depend upon a timely happy ending. The arrival of a convenient solution within the hour, just as our patience was lapsing and our faith seemed challenged. Next Stop Wonderland.
Like karma we know only that the opposite of our condition exists, somewhere, possibly just beyond the horizon, or possibly as far off as in a whole other lifetime.
My favorite cinematic happy endings tend to offer contrast paired with a solidly happy ending. While a favorite, The English Patient is a bit too tragic for words. Disney movies almost always offer a clearly happy beginning to the end. There is no remaining doubt or uncertainty. From Snow White to The Parent Trap to Enchanted the unhappy endings lead to joyous beginnings. One of my all-time favorites, A Room with a View, offers slightly less clear-cut distinctions between good and evil, but a nonetheless tragic-turned-delightful ending. While Shakespeare focused on the endings all around for Romeo and Juliet, Cyrano and Much Ado About Nothing provide a slightly more cheerful outlook at the finale.
Wishing you all sweet dreams and happy endings that lead quickly to even happier beginnings.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
I have an admission to make. I am unable to squash things.
I carry spiders out of my house on little squares of toilet paper.
This distresses my daughter to no end. The capture and transport of tiny, helpless creatures takes much longer than the squashing. Fearlessness of creepy crawlies is apparently not genetically transferred. Or perhaps if it is, it skips a generation.
I'm not completely certain about cockroaches, but we've fortunately never had one. The very thought makes me nauseous. Mind you, not the thought of the roach itself, rather the thought of the loud crunching sound I imagine a roach being squashed would make. Or those bugs are large enough it might even hiss or shriek. Excruciating torture to my ears!
Judging from our experience with ants, crickets, spiders, lizards...I remember the Christmas when an entire colony of hibernating ladybugs hatched as soon we brought our freshly cut tree inside the loft. I am guessing I would attempt to capture a cockroah and set it free outside. I always remind the creatures on the way out the door, to "just please stay outside of the house from now on."
Wow! I talk to bugs. This just keeps getting better!
I have no idea when these symptoms began. I have no clear memory of the first time I saved a bug, carried it lovingly out the door and safely set it free in the garden. In college, I came home one night and found an enormous trail of ants marching across my bed. I was horrified!
Is that transferable?
If I'm kind to enough tiny creatures does that cancel out being rude and hostile to the customer service agent who kept me on hold for 20 minutes? Or wanting to throttle the driver who nearly t-boned me running a traffic light?
You better not…
As kids we would taunt each other over this idea. You hesitated to squash something because you might one day be resurrected as that creature.
Fascinating! Even at a young age we began conjuring theories that there was no actual, concrete and final end to life. The first law of thermodynamics, conservation of energy, states: Energy cannot be created nor destroyed. The energy of life is converted, simply given a different shape. What peace this brings. Each time I glimpse a squirrel scurrying up a tree trunk at Balboa Park I imagine my beloved cat Linus has been reincarnated!
Sometimes I even encounter resistance from the bugs!
Case in point, this morning during breakfast I noticed several straggling ants wandering through the kitchen. I reached for a nearby seed packet, stiff paper is better for carrying ants, and began coaxing the ants onto it. What did they do? Panicked and ran the other direction! Not helpful. After all, I was trying to save them and NOT to squash them. Of course, I began to calmly explain this to the ants. My daughter arrived just in time to ask who I was talking to. I repeated this exercise many more times throughout the course of the morning. Ants, it seems, seldom travel alone. They send out scouts. There are always more on the way.
At what point is enough, enough?
Valid question. I evaluate case by case, day by day. I wrangled about a dozen ants before I left the house this morning. If there was a full-scale ant invasion, hundreds across the countertop, for instance, I would have to take more drastic action. I wish I could negotiate with them, convince them to turn around and go back outside peacefully! In this case, I would resort to a non-toxic citrus oil spray that I keep on hand...
Yes, it still kills them, just not us. Toxic to ants, not humans.
And then I feel very guilty afterwards. All of those tiny, lifeless ant corpses scattered across the counter, up the wall and back across the floor. It feels a bit like genocide to me. I am fairly certain they were here first. I am the one who built the house on top of them. And we all know bugs far outnumber even humans. Spiders are easier to handle. I lightly capture them in a piece of tissue and deposit them outside. They don't travel in large colonies.
In a blind fright, one tiny ant scampered across the seed packet this morning and right across my hand. I followed him as he marched back and forth across my open hand, tracing what I believe palm readers would call my life line.
I suppose another person might have simply squeezed…
It's unclear to me whether I save these creatures because I fear the proximity of death, the karmic ramifications of my actions or if I simply have a great respect for these tiny, complex creatures and the precious life force contained within in them. There's a complicated brew of my emotions, combined with hand-selected scientific data, at work here. For now, whatever the reason, my tiny acts of mercy will continue.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
inaugural post I already had doubts,
In the ebbing darkness of early morning I began to lose my resolve...my faith wavered and I waffled. I began to question the subtle meanings behind my choices to blog and the name for this space. What have I done?!
Monday, August 10, 2009
Somehow we began to walk and talk. How did it all begin? With each purposeful step, our dialogue seemed to flow - rich, abundant, satisfying. For a time, the flow of conversation and topics and commentary seemed vast, endless. Overflowing through rugged hikes and lazy strolls the banter continued to spill forth. Did I mention that this friend of mine is that perfect mix of patient and honest, clever yet subtle, challenging while encouraging.
It was on one of our many meandering walks that my dear, honest friend finally interrupted MY interruptions to express his frustration with my constant mental chatter. He had once again lost his brilliant train of thought due to the random thoughts and commentary that would suddenly and spontaneously erupt from me. It seems that in my genuine urge to communicate with him I had created a running narrative on our surroundings, passerby and the strange chain -reaction of thoughts these would stir in my mind. (Breath. That was almost a run-away sentence.) As he expressed his annoyance, I, of course, interrupted triumphantly with the condition for the symptoms he was describing with such distaste - "non sequiturs!"
At the time, there was some relief, accompanied by heartfelt laughter, that came with being able to call "them" something - even though a shared relevance or connection was a stretch, as each one of my stray thoughts was, by nature, completely unrelated to the next. Conveniently, non sequiturs became the topic of conversation. Therefore, in order to thoroughly illustrate their definition, these unrelated interruptions belonged as a necessary part of our dialogue, for a time...
Now there is a place to put these random thoughts, curiosities and inner musings. While each entry may defy logic or reason in its original context, here they all find a home - related to one another due to the mere fact that they are completely unrelated to each other or anything else.
With immense gratitude to authentic friends who are not only willing to listen, but are also willing to engage in, the messy art of conversation. And in honor of my dear Father who patiently shared with me his thorough love of language and of life.