Monday, January 23, 2006

An embarrassment of riches? Yes!

A re-reading of yesterday's entry surely reveals the clear fact that I woke euphoric. It's that strange phenomenon that defies understanding -- unless we factor in morphic resonance, maybe? Rupert Sheldrake may be onto something, truly. And why do you suppose that Sheldrake would have come to mind on Saturday -- 24 hours before? It's that strange experience of a feeling of getting out of sync with time ... acting on information that I don't yet have.

How on earth could I have known that later in the day there would be word from Charlotte in Southern California that -- years ago I'd given her a cassette tape of six of my songs (the tape I've been searching for with a sense of hopelessness for months now) and that she would forward it to me tomorrow? I could have shouted for joy! I'd really started to believe that only those lyrics still in my memory had been preserved -- and that my songs were lost forever. This surely means that I'll need to learn how to add sound to my journal so that you, too, can hear them. Will do.

But that's not all. Later in the day I found a message on my computer that someone was seeking permission to be lifted from the spamblocker. The name was unfamiliar -- but, in the subject line were the words, "Farallon Light." This was the title of the film that I wrote and performed the music for (two songs) lo those many years ago and that I'd never been able to find anywhere on the planet. I'd never told anyone that I'd done that work since it was a created in a time of mental illness and I wasn't all that sure it wasn't simply symptomatic of that and not much more. I knew that it had won festival prizes; and for years had been shown in the theater of the Lawrence Hall of Science on the University of California's Berkeley campus. I'd watched it there with my granddaughter who was about six at the time (she's 20-something now). Only in the past several months have I tried to trace it after re-discovering the old script and stills in my files. I wrote about that here at the time. It was then that I'd contacted this film library.

When I opened the email the message said that they have obtained "...a scratchy copy that we're willing to tranfer to DVD if you're still interested in owning it." Wow! I have a friend who heads the media department at the local community college who might be able to do some repairs or at least smooth out some of the more serious flaws. I want it no matter what shape it's in. It's proof that I've created something that might be of timeless value -- and having it to view after so many years is a priceless gift.

Today the National Women's History Project's annual catalogue arrived in the mail with a reproduction of this year's poster on the cover. I also received by email the draft of the 500-word bio that will be published soon. After reading it, I figure I could spend the rest of my life trying to live up to my own image!

If this is my obituary (so much coming together so eerily!), I'm ready to go, guys. It's gotta be all downhill from here!

Photo: This one is self-explanatory.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Another Sunday morning ... and this one feels good.

Furnace is back humming like a top. And -- naturally -- it wasn't "broken" after all. After two days of sitting in a cold apartment feeling forlorn (PG&E informed me that they couldn't send out a repairman until January 26th!) and unloved, I finally flopped face down on the floor of my den and carefully read the manual on "re-lighting the pilot" and decided (with Tom's reassurance by telephone from Mendocino) that maybe I wouldn't blow up the entire building if I simply tried to do it myself. So saying, I pushed the little button marked pilot and the thing roared on as predicted. Another problem solved; but it did little for my ego to know that the problem probably hadn't existed at all, but was my own misreading of the situation. Sound familiar? Right. It was undoubtedly the "God of Small Things" (see Arundahti Roy) getting me in line again after the ego-tripping caused by that dive into notoreity. After all, seeing one's very own face on a poster has to cause some unbalance in the psyche. I am surely not made of stone.

But to get back to Sunday. Woke slowly and lay with my eyes closed for a long time trying to recapture that feeling of reverence that Sunday used to bring when -- long ago I would have been getting ready for services at the Mt. Diablo Unitarian-Universalist Church in Walnut Creek on Eckley Lane. I might even be preparing to participate in some ceremony or doing a reading or meeting with a religious education class. This morning I truly miss that congregation of old friends, if only to share some of the joys and sorrows of the past weeks and months. There is such a backlog of feelings now -- and except for this journal -- I've no place to use them up ... .

Then there's this place in my mind where nothing ever dissipates but remains whole and retrievable until the time is right to reappear:

This song is not mine, but is a hymn, a real "Ode to Joy," that I discovered trapped in an old 2/4 German(?) march in the pages of the burgundy-bound UU hymnal. I freed it by transforming "Life" into a romantic gypsy peddler, gave it a new and lilting melody and performed it before the congregation on a Sunday morning such as this. The poem is by Sara Teasdale (thanks, Amie.)

Life has loveliness to sell -- all beautiful and splendid things,
blue waves whitened on a cliff, roaring fires that sway and sing,
and children's faces lifted up -- holding wonder like a cup --
for life has loveliness to sell, all beautiful and splendid things!

Life has loveliness to sell, music like a curve of gold,
scent of pine trees in the rain, eyes that love you, arms that hold,
and for the spirit's still delight -- holy thoughts that star the night
for life has loveliness to sell, all beautiful and splendid things.

Spend all you have on loveliness, buy and never count the cost --
for one bright shining hour of peace count many years of strife well lost,
and for a breath of ecstacy -- give all you have been or could be --
for life has loveliness to sell, all beautiful and splendid things!

Such a lovely bit of poetry ... such lush imagery!

Imagine my surprise and delight when -- appropro of nothing -- there at the gates of San Quentin prison only a few weeks ago -- Paul Sawyer mentioned that he had recently been listening to my voice singing this little hymn audiotaped at some church occasion long ago. The music and lyrics have been coming back in bits and pieces since that day. This morning it came together behind my closed eyes -- whole -- in brightly-colored fragments from the corners of my mind ... in slow motion -- drawn together irresistably like metal shavings to a magnet in a lively videographic animation ... as consciousness returned for another day of life.

Somewhere beneath the pain and disappointment; the sense of needing completion somehow and that I'll surely die without ever knowing that feeling; that despite the weight of her life upon my own -- Dorian has kept the child in me alive because that's the place where we meet without judgement. I know that the repository for the artist in me is in that child. I know that -- however The World turns out, eventually, despite my imperfections -- I will have fulfilled my self-imposed obligation to leave footprints deep enough for the children I'll leave behind, and at least as well defined as those left by the ancestors for me to follow. Together with countless others, we've helped to create a country and a world even when we were unaware of our effect upon human history.