OK, so I'm in Minneapolis now, a northern state, in the North and it's close to 100 degrees F and I am dying here. OK, so I'm exaggerating but still.
It is so hot that I just helped James drag AC from basement to living room, this indicates that I am (a) desperate for relief. Have spent late afternoon huddled in their bedroom reading through yet more letters of Jani's (who is also Darcy's grandmother). One letter is the one she wrote her parents before leaving Vienna. I will probably type out the contents soon, as it is quite telling, but then again, perhaps only in context. For instance, her recollection of Robin (my mother)'s state and my mother's memory of same is opposite. According to my mother, she was upset and traumatized, which since she was 8 or 9 and leaving a place she knew as home with only her mother on a boat across the Atlantic, having seen her parents having a fist fight on the streets of Vienna, makes sense. According to Jani, Robin is 'delighted' to be coming home and seeing her grandma, etc. So, there you go. My mother and I also have divergent experiences of each other at crucial times as well. I think this is perhaps an epidemic problem (a) in my family or (b) in all/most families where traumatic experiences are involved or (c) with everyone period (Brits: full stop).
I was feeling very depressed about my own impending separation, or I should say actual separation as there is a good chance my husband will have already moved by the time I return. A bit surprising to me, but then again, so is everything right now. And reading Jani's laments and her lurid poems to husbands and complaints about exes, etc. was not helping. Then my wonderful friend Sarah sent me an email that just made me laugh my ass off about everything, and for that I was grateful. I once heard a definition of unmanageability as losing one's sense of humor and I know for me that is true. I hasten to add here however that that does not mean laughing off other people's or my own pain, but it does mean getting a good perspective on certain things that might otherwise make you want to (a) kill yourself or (b) kill someone else. Yes, I mean this metaphorically. No, no one is going to die, including me - right now, that is, violently, by my hand - of course we all eventually will die, and people are this moment doing just that while others are being born, etc. Just to clear that up right away.
I saw the Walker Art Center today, watched Nan Goldin's 'Ballad of Sexual Dependency' slide show, which is incredible - taken in NYC primarily from 1982-1996. If you haven't seen it or her photos, go find them. She is relentless, honest and an amazing photographer. I like her more vulnerable photos of herself and others more than the really sexually explicit one, as they are haunting in a good way. All are naked photos even when fully clothed, sometimes more so. Her pictures of young children were particularly riveting as they were neither sentimental nor exploitative in any way.
Had to take a break right after writing above to help James install above-mentioned air conditioner as I was not exaggerating about the heat apparently. The heat factor was 105 degrees and it was over 90 degrees in the house. Hoping my room will cool down before I go to sleep.
I have brought to the young people of this house a new series: Dr. Who. They are riveted but one episode has scared the older one somewhat. I did, I must add, first vet the idea with their parents. It is interesting to watch this series in the US as so many of the references are British and I had to explain a lot of details, such as the meeting of "I'm a chav." (Americans: this loosely translated would be: 'white trash with attitude' - peroxide blonde, stone-washed jeans, etc.) I am not saying that because I believe people are either 'chavs' or 'white trash' but for translation purposes only - just so you know.
Also explaining what a police box is and the like...
Now sitting inside at night, listening to the constant drone of fan and AC, and watching James with Simon at the dining room table. Darcy went off to bed early, I think perhaps I wiped her out with the Nan Goldin and the old family photos. I seem to have this effect on people these days - in my relentless search to see/find/express something as close to what one could call truth as possible. Emphasis on relentless. Probably lightening up is in order - as Sarah's email showed me.
However, one of the things Darcy and I talked about today (during our breakfast-arts center-coffee hide from the heat day) is our experience of being considered 'too much' so I am probably taking this on like usual...I feel pretty raw and rejected right now in lots of ways and notice my instantaneous desire to blame myself for that. A kind of default position that I hope/pray etc. is getting close to its sell by date.
Just had a charming conversation with Simon, who was scared by the episode of Dr. Who, about how it's just a TV show and why some things are scarier than others and why. He's an amazing kid who can articulate that he feels scared and why. I'm truly impressed. I love the fact that with both Leo and Simon I can just talk to them, they don't want to be talked to 'as kids' and that's nice. Nor am I talking to them as if they were short adults, but they understand really complex stuff, so not condescending either.
I never understood how good for the soul hanging out with an 8 and an 11 year old can be. Especially if they are lucky enough to have Darcy and James as parents. It's amazing to see kids who are actually given boundaries and rules and go along with them - yes they push and the rules and boundaries are flexible when necessary but basically they are in place. Case in point: I was able to meditate today in a quiet room today because Darcy asked them not to bother me in that room, and they not only didn't bother me, they stayed quiet in the house.
So, it's quite a healing place to be for many reasons.
I will end this post tonight with some recent photos from the Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis:
|store front in St. Paul - old school signs probably from 60s or 70s|
|by artist Mike Kelley in Walker Art Center exhibit curated by John Waters|
|name of above picture - please note American 'junior high' specificity|
|Darcy and her friend Becky (seated below) enjoying their boys' soccer (rest of world: football) game|
|view of downtown Minneapolis from Walker Arts Center sculpture garden.|