The only times of my life I feel that have been wasted are the times when I didn't fully believe in myself. In my process. These were the times I listened to the words of my father. These were times when I tried to focus on money and career and things outside myself. These were times when I was trying to prove something or forcing myself along a path that looked like something I saw someone do that looked normal.
Did you grandma ever do that thing?
Whenever there was an article or a story or a street with your name she would rip it out or take a photo and mail it to you? Buy a keychain or a mini-liscense plate at the tourist shop on her travels?
I had grandmas like this. One would clip out articles about symbolic birthrights such as roses or sheep (the Hebrew meaning for Rachel is "ewe"). The other found a myriad of other clippings that shared our humor. Marmaduke and Garfield.
I do this now, though I had forgotten the origins. I find a little something with a friend's name, a dedication page or a subway station. I rip
it out or take a picture. I send it along.
This instinct is so funny. Maybe a way of strengthening our identity in the world. Grounding our existence here, proving our place, making us valid.
I had this crisis that streets in Paris near cemeteries were named after me.
Though this only happened twice, isn't that enough for a conspiracy?
Tonight, I'm reading The Complete Saki, a book I checked out of the library seeking the quote, "find yourself a cup of tea; the teapot is behind you. Now tell me about hundreds of things."
There is a chapter, "Esmé," which thrills me and I'm embarrassed by the feeling that I can't wait to share this with my friend of the same name. I laugh at myself, "why? Where does this desire root from?" Why does it matter? Why do I care?"
I'm beginning to articulate these instincts as love. And I realize, in my own extension of these desires, how much I was loved by those women, my grandmas.
In those little scraps and moments they found me, some greater proof of my me. Something to support my position on this earth.
It's silly and absurd and darling and amazing. It's a small afterthought of a gift that means everything.
"I'm thinking of you. You are in my thoughts. I love you."
When I first moved to Portland I lived in a large house in St. John's. That winter was mild and I was able to drag a rake and a shovel into the backyard to do what I called "the Lord's work."
So many years of old leaves and broken branches covered the yard, letting the earth rest. Keeping it tucked and nurtured until it could be played with and cultivated.
From the raking, shoveling, and uncovering of juicy black leaves I found a path made of stones. I uncovered secret places. The movement in the yard began to stir. Newer growth and seedlings emerged.
In a corner of the yard I designated a shrine to the three voices in our life: our childhood, our mother-self, and our elder. I circled three stumps around a larger stump where they could converge and talk. I placed stones on this table symbolic of nothing or this-that.
It wasn't meant to last, it was simply intended as an idea or a hypothetical place I could always go where the real work was being done. The Fates unraveling their spools. Subjects of great importance being negotiated and settled.
Later, I learned in a workshop about Goddess worship about the significance of the three phases of the moon and the three phases of our life.
The Maiden: when the moon is waxing. The Mother: when the moon is full. The Crone: when the moon wanes.
Each are loaded with meaning, characteristics that represent learning, mastery, and wisdom.
"Listen to your intuition," the psychic told me at the Farmer's Market in Eugene a few days ago.
"Your intuition is a wise woman who sits here," she said, pointing to a place above her breast.
She sits there, inside me. She lives in my work as an artist of course.
But I like to imagine her as them, the three women, continuously in conference in a circle of three stumps.
This old-timer at my work asked if I was a student the other day.
"Naah, I don't like school. I'm an artist. I write and I draw and sometimes other stuff. Sometime I teach."
"My advice for you as an artist is to marry rich," he tells me.
"Naah, I don't think so. Being an artist, a partner has proved to be very useless."
I think of Marina Abramovic's interview with The New Yorker Presents:
Ariel Levy : ... there's some man artist working at 4 in the morning, and he has his girlfriend come and give him hot soup in the middle of the night in his studio, right?
Marina : And which woman great artist gets the hot soup? Nobody know that women do not get the great hot soup. Is complete disaster.
No hot soup.
"I don't need money," I tell him. "I can make money. I want someone to bring me some soup."
I did an April Fool's prank once. I called a friend, Holly, who lived down the street, and told her we were going roller-skating. She ran over and I told her, "April Fool's."
It was so lame. Such a minor disappointment.
Rob Brezsny challenged his readers/followers this astrological week to "carry out a prank that makes someone feel good." And I'm curious about the implementation. To give someone lowered expectations then rise higher than them? Take away a misery?
And I'm thinking of reversals of fate I wish could manifest. I'm thinking of God as the pranksters. Coyote the trickster. The Fates.
Our meddlings and deceipts are so minor. But even the most minor deceit feels somehow wrong.. even if it does make someone feel good. White lie. But liars are the center of Dante's hell. The frozen center.
Does God ever lie? Or are things just made unclear? Obscured?
The Biblical God never seemed to have a sense of humor. The punishments were serious. This god is so ridiculous.
This is all to say, I wish this were a divine comedy. I wish this day was a day of the big reveal. I wish I could wake up to the unobscured reality. The real. Something obvious would be shown.