While I was happily unplugged in Playa del Carmen, pursuing indolence with a white-hot focus, the San Antonio contingent were up to their usual obsessions. They took online quizzes--The Nerd Score,
For starters, Lee tagged me for what I'll call Revisiting the Past. Her instructions were thus:
Go back through your archives and post links to five of your favorite blog posts:
Link 1 must be about family
Link 2 must be about friends
Link 3 must be about you
Link 4 must be about something you love
Link 5 can be about anyone or anything you choose.
Here's what I came up with:
1. El Rancho de las Brujas, my account of a beautiful day I spent with Bennie and the kids at Ghost Ranch. Family, nature, speculation about reality, enchiladas. These are a few of my favorite things.
2. Hell on Wheels, inspired by The Dante Inferno Quiz, discovered by--you guessed it--the San Antonio Contingent. Subsequently taken by numerous of my other blogging friends, all of them more than happy to join me in various Circles of Hell. What are friends for, right?
3. Doing It the Hard Way, ranting about a frustrating day in the studio, wearing sideways heels, making chicken pot pie.
4. Savoring the Sweetness, a description of Flannery's 21st birthday dinner, complete with Italian food and Oakley showing up in a suit.
5. Sweating the Smalls, my take on the Native American sweat lodge.
Not a lot to choose from though, since I started blogging last September. Sorry.
Also, JS tagged me for a meme that in and of itself should score decently on The Randometer. Here are her instructions:
1. Grab the nearest book that has 123 pages in it.
2. Go to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Type the fifth sentence and the next three.
5. Tag whomever.
I grabbed Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, and here's what I found:
OK--so we are all one, and divinity abides within us all equally. No problem. Understood. But now try living from that place.
Yeah. Try living from that place.
Then Paschal kicked my lazy butt back into the real world with this little tag:
Determine what superhero you are, a little research if need be to flesh out the back stories, and then fire at will 4 voicings. In his case, Paschal riffed "very loosely" off Lucille Clifton's "Notes to Superman."
Who could I be but Spider Woman?
Especially when a whole minute of internet research turned up this gem about her powers: Spider Woman can generate bioelectric "venom blasts," that she uses to startle, stun, or kill her prey. These sometimes leave her depleted of energy. She also exudes pheromones, which cause a general feeling of "creepiness" around her, as well as the "occasional" attraction some men feel for her. Repressing these pheromones using drug therapy also repressed her powers, so she decided to live with her sometimes unpredictable body chemistry...
That's what I call real superheroism--deciding to live with one's unpredictable body chemistry so as to hang onto one's powers. I'm a midlife woman. Enough said. Even so, I would expand this notion into--deciding to live with one's limitations so as to hang onto one's sanity. That can feel like a task requiring super powers, but it's the source of any real power. With boundaries come strength. With walls come focus. Shut me up. I'm starting to babble more platitudes than a self-help book.
Now, to get to the four voicings. OK, lemme see.
1. What about an exterior view of my "Alternative Medicine Cabinet"? One of the ways I work with the uncertainty of life, my own limitations, is by playing with art. It's my "alternative medicine." When I open that door, I become Spider Woman. Power is mine. I can cling to walls. Beware the opponent who stands in my way: I will spurt venomous pheromones. Don't try to take away my venom. It's what makes me Spider Woman, the one who weaves the web, connects the dots, keeps it together.
2. A "poem" I wrote in response to an earlier of Paschal's tags. I was so new at blogging then, I didn't know what "tag" meant, and so I posted the response at his own blog. The idea was to write in response to 5 words: vineyard, root, rescue, perseverance, divided. I opted to use these words in a poem:
Your Old Shoe
digging in the moonlit
for your old shoe
I didn't find it
but did stumble
on the root
of your grandmother's
then I found
of all things
it sprang out
of an old
whose rusty crank
it popped up
again and again
it smiled at me
I smiled back
thinking now nice
and how rare
one's own head
that's what I call
and to think
we were divided.
Superheros, Spider Woman included, have rescuing in their job description, right? "How rare an experience to rescue one's own head." Get it?
3. Now, an interior view of "Alternative Medicine Cabinet," an experiment in working with limitations, ensnaring simple (ugly even) things into the web, turning them into "art." Some of the things: plastic medicine cabinet, tongue depressors, plastic medicine bottles, cork bottle stoppers, Mexican milagros, used toothbrush, stolen aphorisms from various sources, archival paper, ink.
4. An excerpt from another of my poems, Go with the Flow, a poem written for a friend on her birthday, a textile artist. Like Spider Woman, she spins. She weaves. She dyes. A poem about...what else?...aging:
...In school we were taught the heart is a pump. Its steady observance of whatever flows
can cause a restlessness. Memories accumulate.
The heart's tributaries swell with pain. They can burst.
In a long silk scarf, or a canvas by Renoir, dark-colored rivulets
may burst into beauty, a flock of birds startled from the branches of a tree.
Sometimes I imagine that the heart isn't really a muscle or a pump, but a small red scarf
wound round and round an axis, deep within the chest, and it turns.
That as the years unfurl, so does the scarf. That as the scarf unfurls, so does beauty.
That as this beauty unfolds, so does peace.
That the red scarf, unraveled by beauty, unraveled by peace, begins to disappear,
birthday by birthday, like a magician's scarf. And one day, we just give up resisting...
Now, I'm supposed to tag people. Being Spider Woman, I tag everybody. I tag the cashier at Whole Foods. I tag the driver who cut me off this morning. I tag Brad Pitt. (Come on pheromones. Do your job.) I tag the prophet Isaiah. I tag Dick Cheney. (What do you have to say for yourself, man?) I tag the entire city of Roswell. I tag Mars and Venus. I tag the inside of my desk drawer. I tag the other side of sleep and this side of paradise. I tag The Worldwide Web. In other words, I tag you.