Tuesday, March 4, 2008

3 Tags: 4 Voicings, 5 Posts, 123 Pages, & My Life as a Superhero

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, The Weird Quotient, The Randometer (to discern one's level of randomness, very Nietzche), What Superhero Are You? They relayed memes across cyberspace. They tagged me. And they tagged me. And they tagged me. I almost wrote ragged me.

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."

Simple, huh???

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
weeping willow
then I found
of all things
my head
it sprang out
of an old
whose rusty crank
I turned
my head
it popped up
again and again
each time
it smiled at me
I smiled back
thinking now nice
and how rare
an experience
to rescue
one's own head
that's what I call
and to think
damn them
they said
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.


CrazyCath said...

Oh San there is so much there that is poignant! Beautiful post today. Thank you.

And thanks for the tag but please do clarify - which tag? *Panic panic* Never been tagged before so don't know which to choose! *Totally overwhelmed*

Good to read you.

Lee said...

LOL I love those posts. All of them. So you've caught up with us. And I think surpassed me. I've got an image of a super hero but no name for her. Like me she is unique. So I haven't responded to Paschal's meme except in comments. Maybe I should do some research.

Thanks for linking to me. :) That's what blogs and friends are for, connections!


Sparkling Red said...

I love your poem.

I love your alternative medicine cabinet.

I love your list of who is tagged.

I love this post. :-)

San said...

Cath, thank you!

As to the tag, feel free to choose any and all. You certainly don't have to do all of them. I've had a lot of pent-up blogging in me , having been unplugged on vacation, then playing catch-up with daily life. Hence the lengthy, somewhat involved post.

San said...

Lee, good luck in naming your superhero. She will no doubt be SUPER!


San said...


I love your comment!

jsd said...

A wonderful bit of medicine in that there medicine cabinet...Speak softly but carry a big story...if only we all recognized the beautiful story of ourselves; I love the humor of the big throat lozenges.

San said...

JS, the "big story" quote was taken from Rev. Talitha Arnold. When I was working on the cabinet, waiting for a layer of paint to dry, I checked email. In came the church news, with that quote as the subject line. It was our minister's upcoming sermon topic.

"The beautiful story of ourselves"--that's what it's about, isn't it?

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

So *much* work you put into this. Wow!

murat11 said...

Damn, girl, I'd say you'ze ready for another vacation after that avalanche. Awesome, the interwoven words, objects, and images. Just like a true Super Arachnid.

The League of Women Smoters is heatin' up.

Ciao and pax.

Carol said...

After reading this great post, I am feeling a need to write an equally great comment (Ha! I am no match!). BUT I'm cleaning the house and packing for my trip, so the only things on my mind right now are... hmmmm.. things that I'll find in my MEDICINE CABINET that need to be packed. Speaking of MEDICINE CABINETS, I love yours! And your poem!

I'll be back to visit in a week - after I've rescued my head. I like that!

lime said...

wow, now that is a lot to weave together so seamlessly into a post. but you, being spiderwoman and all, did it so skillfully.

heck, even your tag was poetic. it was so poetic in fact that i cannot bear the thought that i might tamper with its perfection by adding my thoughts to it in the form of picking up the tag. i will simply step back and marvel at it. (how's that for a poetic way to dodge a tag? ;) )

Kim said...

Wow San! I am impressed! What a post! There is not any way a comment from me can do this post justice. I will not even try. Now you know I will pick up the most on the medicine cabinet! That is just way too cool! I Love Every Part of It! And the poetry is incredible...that is a very special part of you...thanks for sharing it.

San said...

Well, Nick, nobody said being Spider Woman would be easy.


San said...

Paschal, another vacation? OK, I'm game!

"League of Women Smoters." Wish I'd said that.

Pax back.

San said...

Carol, thanks for your kind words.

Happy Head Rescue Mission!

Peace, my friend.

San said...

Thanks, Lime.

As to your artful dodging of the tag, I believe you've expressed your own Inner Superhero--Slippery-Way-with-Words-Woman. Maybe you should run for office!


San said...

Wow, Kim, I am impressed by your gracious compliment.

Thank you. You make me glow, girl.

Celebration of Life said...

Good morning to you, San! Loved your 'alternative medicine cabinet'
Spring is in the air even though we got two inches of new snow last night; the wind is calm and the sky is azure blue today.
Have a great day!

San said...

Thanks, Jo!

We're having springish weather too, tempered with a bit of snow a couple of days ago.

And I've been hearing birds singing in the morning. Great day to you, too!

self taught artist said...

OMG i feel like i just dived into a bulemics stomach. (i dont know why that image came to mind). what i mean is, good lord woman what have you ingested today? you are ON and woweekazowee i got a dose of something just reading this post.
love the poems
love the art
love the rant
and thanks for your comments, they spur me onward more than you would imagine.

San said...

Wow, Paula. I love most of all that you love the rant.

Correction. I love most of all that you are spurred on.

Angel... said...

San, you are so coool. Wow... I love your medicine cabinet...its cool

I like your peom " your old shoes " as well...

I love your posts

I know being a spider women is not easy...

See you,

San said...

Hey Angel.

You are cool too. I'm really glad you like the medicine cabinet and the shoe poem.

Superheroics, they don't come easy for any of us.

whimsicalnbrainpan said...

Great, fun filled, inspiring post!

I love the "Alternative Medicine Cabinet"!

San said...

Thank you, Whimsical. I'm glad you love the AMC.

YOU are very inspiring!

velvetginger said...

You are extremely talented!

San said...

Rubye Jean, you are extremely kind.

Meg Wolff said...

I am SO inspired by you! Loved reading! ox

SandyCarlson said...

"Your Old Shoe" made my day. Thanks for this beautiful post, and thanks for stopping by. God bless.

Lori Witzel said...

I love your Crazy Taggery!

Darn fine post, and thanks for the smiles.

Sandi McBride said...

I'm exhausted! Beautifully done San...I don't know, it seems like hard work!

Shrinky said...

That image of the red scarf unwinding (unbinding) the heart as the years flow on - such an acute observation, so true!

Ah san, you are a gift my friend (and even one I would choose).

San said...

Meg, you're an inspiration. xo

San said...

Sandy, if an old shoe can't make somebody's day, what can?

You make me feel good. Thank you.

San said...

Lori, thanks much.

I'm glad you smiled.

San said...

Sandi, I'm picturing you spent, draped over your keyboard, tongue hanging out. Or are you picturing me that way?

San said...

Shrinky, you just unfurled my scarf another centimeter.

I am basking in your compliment, babe, and pondering the mischief we would get into if we didn't live thousands of miles apart.

The Moody Minstrel said...

What a post!

Your poetically artful super-heroism is leaving me with a feeling of awe rather than "creepiness". Pheromones? Naw, more like a vibe.

(Besides, pheromones can't traverse the internet.)

San said...

Thank you, Moody!

That's quite a compliment coming from one who pulsates with artistry.

Angel... said...

San, hope you are doing well.. just stopped by to say you hello


San said...

Always good to see you, Angel.


kate said...

Your poetry and medicine cabinet are both beautiful. You did admirably with all these memes.

I'm now in escape mode from memes and blog awards ... my latest resolution.

Maggie May said...

Hi San, thank you for visiting me. Your post is a very busy one! have enjoyed reading it & loved the art & the poem in particular.

San said...

Kate, your compliment means much to me. Thank you!

Know what you mean, memewise.

GoneBackSouth said...

Hello Spiderwoman nobody-escapes-tagger. I like the scarf imagery too. And I'm looking forward to the not-resisting times because I'm not quite there yet (but probably should be).

San said...

Maggie May! Thank you for returning the visit and plowing through this long post.

I'm glad you enjoyed the art and the poem.

San said...

Hello GoneBackSouth.

Truth be told, the "not resisting" is a bit on-again, off-again. I'd say you're in a pretty good place--that scarf doesn't look tight at all.

Sandi McBride said...

I've been rereading your poetry...it's so wait I'll think of it...so flowing...not sappy...but magical...want me to come whup Benny for you?

Mima said...

I really loved reading back over some of your old links, and the cupboard is wonderful!! I can also really see you as Spiderwoman - what powers you would have to change things around you for the better - wonderful.

Thanks for checking in on me, and I'm on catch up again today!

San said...


"Flowing...magical." Well, what wonderful words to read first thing in the morning.

Not to mention your most generous offer. I'll take a rain check on that, sweetie.

San said...

Mima, I really appreciate your reading through some of the old posts. And the compliment on the cabinet too.

I hope that your being out and about in Blogland is an indicator that you're feeling superheroish. You are changing things for the better by being you.

It's always such fun to have a visit from you!

JafaBrit's Art said...

what a magnificent journey to read your blog entry lol! Those shoes are soooooooooo wierd, and the entry about the sweat lodge so interesting. I love the cabinet.

I loved your tag list LOL! my mind boggles at what some of them would say.

San said...


Thank you for going on the journey. :-) And for the compliments, which make me glow from ear to ear.

So far none of the tagees have accepted the challenge. Brad says Angelina won't allow it and the inside of my desk drawer is "thinking about it."

Anonymous said...

Are you all caught up now? What a SUPER post! Love the medicine cabinet.

San said...

Hey, Chewy. Me caught up? Never. :-(

Thanks for your SUPER compliment. Glad to see you're out and about despite your abstinence vow.

And I hope the art is flowing--can't wait to see your new work!

Angel... said...

Just stopped by to say you hello.


San said...

Hey, Angel. Good to see you!

Paula said...

Hi !

Fun to find you at Miss Doodle's place. Small world. I'm In Rio Rancho just to the south of you. I took a job in Albuquerque six years ago and thought it would last just 6 months, so I'm at least in Rio Rancho ~ never did make the move to Santa Fe which was my goal. Actually I love my little house, my garden and especially my studio, so guess that means I'm here at least for now. I have a fabulous view of Sandia Peak.

I marked your blog and will come back for a better look. Looks interesting.

Some one gave me Wonder Woman stickers for Christmas, so I guess I'm a superhero too.

San said...

Pleased to meet you, Paula. I've visited in Rio Rancho. New Mexico, it isn't called the Land of Enchantment for nothing.

Small world is right. But still big enough for all of us Superheroes!

katydidnot said...

that is a lot. in a really good way.

San said...

Katy said not a lot (in a really good way.)


andrea said...

Thanks for dropping by. Your medicine cabinets are inspired!

San said...

Thanks, Andrea. You look the picture of inspiration.

Julie at Virtual Voyage said...

What a great, variegated post.
I ended up doing the super hero quiz
and got....Wonder Woman.

My spouse will die laughing when I tell him.
Good to see you on mine.

San said...

Thanks, Julie.

You're a wonder, as is that new profile pic.

Jeff B said...

Nice to see you back in action. That post was all over the board. Enjoyed it very much.

I think you need a them song to go along with your super heroness.

San said...

Jeff, I tag you to write the theme song.


Jo Beaufoix said...

Oooo, now I get to play. Great post San, and I love the photo, what a stunning place.
Have a wonderful weekend. :D

San said...

Jo, good to see you!

Yes, it was a dazzling place. Happy weekend to you too.

Patty said...

Whew...what a post!
I'm envious of your way with words. You always come through with an interesting read. Loved the AMC. You are truly gifted, my friend.

Celebration of Life said...

I'm having a blah day today. I hope yours is better! Wish you could pop over and have a cup of coffee with me this morning; sorry I ate all of the cinnamon rolls! ;o)

San said...

Patty, my friend, you are truly kind.

San said...

Hi Jo. Sorry about the blah day. And about the cinnamon rolls. :-(

david mcmahon said...

Always a privilege to read your work, San. And I do love the people/ things you've tagged!!

San said...

Always a pleasure to have a visit from you, David.

CrazyCath said...

Hi San
Just popped by and amazed at how long your comments list is! Hope you don't mind another!

I was re reading your poems and had to tell you, I agree with a lot of the posters. You have many talents girl! The old shoe for me is about wisdom - you don't get it until you find where your head's at, and the heart scarf - beautiful. Just beautiful.

Anyway, I'm not surprised you're on a break after all that tagging and work you've done! I'm cheating and only done one tag - Superhero. This is just to pace myself and get more fun out of it but also the "previous posts" one - I'll have to wait a little while till I've got some previous posts! lol.

I know you drop in on me from time to time - thanks. Your visits are welcomed.

San said...

Cath, what a reading of "Old Shoe." The interpretation fits, so yes, I'll wear it. Thanks!

Your visits and thoughtful comments are more than welcome, Cath.

Cestandrea said...

San, what a great post.I love the medicine cabinet, it astonished my eyes and my mind, and it has a smoothing effect on my mood:)
Love your poems too, they are like little short-cuts, very peotic metaphors,
have a wonderful day, San, and thanks so much for your great comments on my blog,

The Wisdom of Wislon said...

What are sidesways shoes?

Love the painted cupboards!

San said...

Poems as shortcuts--I like that, Andrea! Glad the AMC smooths your mood. :-)

Good to see you here again.

San said...

W of W, thanks for the compliment.

Sideways heels? Click the link and you'll see a picture of them...yes, they actually exist.

Ms. Creek said...

my goodness, you have been busy!

San said...

It's a tough job, but somebody's gotta do it..

Good to see you, Ms. Creek.

Angel... said...

Hello San,

Well... Not much is going on, but I wanted to say hi. I hope you are doing well


Sandi McBride said...

Hi San, just checking back in with you...did I tell you before that I love your poetry? I love the symetry of words, they make me feel in control. Talk to you again...Sandi

San said...

Good morning, Angel. I'm about to take off to run some errands. I'll check back later...

San said...

Thank you, Sandi, for such lovely words about my poetry.

Finished "The Lovely Bones." What a wonder!

Angel... said...


Just stopped by...to say hi

see you,

San said...

Hey Angel. See you soon...

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