I’m spending much of this weekend trying to make life lovely for family members, including a few days worth of preparation for a Sunday dinner celebrating birthdays. I excel at throwing Sunday family dinners. And the doing of them takes me back to my Aunt, Sissie, who did Sunday dinners for the family – birthdays and holidays and, well, I’m old enough that it was expected on Sundays all the branches would gather at my Grandfather’s home each weekend out of respect — and Sissie orchestrated these. Cooked, cleaned, etcetera. Sissie didn’t even like to cook — I do. And even though I do, cooking for groups, making things delicious, fresh, special — very time consuming. So, this weekend, I am thinking of (and cooking with – in my soul) Sissie. A lot.
But, I think of her a lot ALL THE TIME — in fact — remembering things and triggers — well —
When I started this post — YESTERDAY — I wanted to do a few short links and be on my way. I had a lot I wanted to accomplish. So, I meant to write a short introductory paragraph about how much time I am spending remembering things, and how everything in the NOW seems to trigger me into some THEN. But, well … brevity is not my strong point. So, after 400 words of blather; I exited to start my projects.
Wow! Short version.
- Cleaned my 13 year old great nephew’s room and rearranged furniture to make room for bookshelf and trunk from another room. Please be advised, the conflagration of fading boyhood stacks of toys, pubescent boy stink, and a walk-in closet with room for MONTHS full of discarded bedclothes and un-worn/worn/un-folded/oh-my-god-what-is-that? articles of clothing and towels and socks and — well, I should have worn a mask.
- Re-arranged sister’s room to make it more like a retreat and less like a stuffed-sausage of a space.
- Shopped for ramekins and extension cords and power strips and swivel-chair and groceries for various projects of weekend.
- Had lunch with sister.
- Came home and spent four hours to make two kinds of lasagna totally from scratch and an apple crisp for Sunday dinner.
During all of that I managed to do some friend-texting and some Tweeting. I haven’t actually seen a friend in ages. My friends have busy lives and I’ve been staying in. I’ve been spending a lot of time with my sister (and my Mom) and my writing and my books. I haven’t even been making it to the gym as much. Today I am making roasted beets for the Sunday salad and prepping the Molten Chocolate Lava Cake in Ramekin recipe so it’s ready to be baked tomorrow.
And having lunch with a dear one, to meet his new inamorata.
So … I’m going to try, AGAIN, to keep the REST of this as short as possible … Oh, Charles.
I don’t know what it is; a dangerous side-effect of writing and the observation required, or if this happens to everyone at a certain age, but staying in the moment, simply living in the present, becomes increasingly difficult for me. Everything echoes. Everything — each word, behaviors I see, colors, sounds, tastes, yes, Everything — is not just itself, but this portal into the past, a confluence and conflation of memories and emotional recall, as if, even in the NOW, I am seeing my life from somewhere else, somewhere in an ethereal eternity, far away, and I am framing each moment of NOW, every thought, everything that happens, in the context of the final version of this book that is my life.
I have always been on the receiving end of sentences (judgments, actually) along the lines of;
- Stop being so dramatic; and
- You think too much; and
- You make everything so complicated; and
- I don’t want to be like you, I just want to do what I want to do and not think about it; and
- You want too much, I’m not like you; and
- Can’t you just let things go without having to decide what everything means? and;
- I don’t love you that way (enough, at all, etc).
But, that’s not how my mind has ever worked. I have always, always believed that every second, every tiny atom of energy and being is somehow connected, somehow means something, has a purpose. Now, I guess that is what makes this late in life atheism and nihilism, born of having seen such inconceivable cruelties and incomprehensible behaviors, witnessed such pointless, needless despair, lived in a world full of selfish, hateful, nasty people, and been personally eviscerated by those to whom I devoted my soul, my reason, my heart, sacrificed my own well-being only to be abused and used and abandoned and lied about and — well, I am not sure now whether I believe everything is connected, has any point, matters a whit.
But, holy mother of all that is holy, everything I see, read, hear, feel, is — of late — so reverberant of the past. And, often, its destruction. Examples:
The Cafe Edison, west 47th Street in Manhattan’s theater district, is closing. Read the New York Times article by Glenn Collins; [click here]. Discovering this unpretentious diner-esque spot was one of the lucky accidents of my life. During my New York trips I ate there frequently. In fact, I ate there with the relatives for whom I am making Sunday dinner on a very wonderful trip to New York — memories of which, now, make me both happy and make me cry for reasons too complicated to – SEE – THIS PAST THING — UGH — anyway, Cafe Edison, visiting it, along with the lobby of the Algonquin and St Patrick’s Cathedral, was part of my New York ritual, my own sort of stations of the cross. Now, with Cafe Edison closing and the Algonquin Lobby disrespectfully stripped of its history and aura by the Marriott Corporation and tourists now speaking full-voiced and allowed to snap photos in St. Patrick’s, the continuing assault on what I loved about the past, the shape of what was magic in my life, continues.
I also read an article about this kid who got some bad Molly (look it up in UrbanDictionary if you don’t know what it is) stole an ambulance and ended up jacking off in a police station. Now, no one I know ever stole an ambulance or pleasured themselves while handcuffed in a police station — well, wait, that second part isn’t true, but, though there were handcuffs involved, there was no arrest (recorded) and it wasn’t in the public part of the police station. Anyway, the point of this is, when I saw the article, I was taken back to the first time I heard of Molly, who explained it to me, and what he told me he’d done while he was rolling. And I was … well, never mind what I was and what I felt and why he told me and all of that. But, bad behavior and compromised judgement while on substances — this is one of the reasons I stopped drinking. And I do not miss it at all. Poor dumb kid. Here’s a link to the story [click HERE].
Speaking of masturbating, my favorite porn star is spreading his erudition via a new art project. I’m a huge Colby Keller fan, and the article about “America’s Most Intellectual Porn Star” [CLICK HERE] made me love him some more — when he said how infrequently he manages to hook-up, when he said men often don’t achieve erection with him, well, all except for that part where they think they want to and actually approach him — that sounds like me. Except, of course, my rejections are all happening in my head. I’ve jumped right to the break-up or turn-down, I don’t bother with actual interaction any more. I just live in my head and write about it. Real people are far too inconvenient. All my lovers are now fictional — which, when you get right down to it, has always been the case. But, I am a fan of Colby and I would love to meet him – with or without erections — and I’m fairly sure it would be without, LOL. I mean, look at him. Then, at me. But, we’re both smart and have given away a lot of our shit in pursuit of a more unencumbered existence. Unfortunately, he’s getting to fuck his way across the country and sustain himself by making porn with other stunningly attractive fellows. I’m making lasagna and house-sitting. All good.
All good, right, yes? Colby went to art school in Baltimore. Colby ate at Woodbury Kitchen in Baltimore — one of my favorite restaurants, EVER, and Colby is sane about sex. That is so refreshing in this world in which we live where most people so decidedly are NOT sane about sex. Or, much else.
But, wait, this was about memories and such and well, is it a function of aging, these reveries? Aging? Uhm, Bonnie Raitt turns 65 and Joni Mitchell turns 71 this weekend. Dear mothers of all that is holy. How is this possible? My love from long ago, Amy, gave me Joni Mitchell one night on her couch, in her rented Braddock Heights apartment, when we were doing our version of Molly-ing. Oh man, I miss Amy. I miss spending nights holding someone with no agenda but being incredibly happy with each other, that kind of love, and the music being the blanket. Both Bonnie and Joni recorded Joni’s That Song About the Midway. It always makes me cry. It has a resonance for me now it didn’t have then, but, wow . . . “over time I’ve lost my fire … always playing one more hand for one more dime … slowing down I’m getting tired, slowing down … and I envy you the valley that you’ve found… cause I’m midway down the midway … slowing down. Down.”
Hey, Colby, you want to listen to some music — talk about the first times you heard Joni and Bonnie and with whom and what it meant to you — compare their versions of Midway, talk about our own midways, and not have an erection with me? Happy weekend, Love and Light, friends.