"I did not want to feel anything that did not originate with me. Because the big deal, as they described it, was that it made you feel so good. I did not want to feel something that was dependent on it. I want to feel what I feel. What's mine. Even if it's not happiness, whatever that means. Because you're all you've got."-Toni Morrison
From bad luck to doom, (write a doomsday poem) I hope Poetic Asides gets a little Sunday-lift to their prompts. Except, I like them and I like the strange path my reading and the prompt inspired.
Soon, I am heading to Toni Morrison and seriousness, but I'll begin--in case you want to drop-off with the whimsy and the sweet.
First, a cookie recipe, (because doomsday predictions make me hungry) and because I have an old, unfinished story that contains a grandmother making end-of-the-world cookies--those cookies involved putting every favorite cookie thing in one recipe:chips and nuts and gumdrops and even things made to be folded-into them like cheesecake and fudge. The excess of them appealing to the granddaughter-narrator for the way they contained a vibrant message. This doomsday cookie recipe is a bit more restrained but tantalizing.
It is the end of the world, as we no wit. Or at least, that's my belief. But bad puns aside:
Brace yourself, it gets political, but only a little. You see, yesterday was an errands day. I was stupidly happy with the weather, a recent, important award and the general swivel of the days made more special because last year, at exactly this time, found us at the beginning of a long, slide down into chronic, frightening illness and family death. A day in the life of the mortal. The stuff of poetry, really. But yesterday, yesterday was blessedly normal, just clean sunlight and a trip to my beloved The Andersons, plans for a meal at Papaya (food that makes me happy!) and Mr. Poppycakes time, a walk by the Leatherlips Yacht Club (I kid you not) and an evening of Thirty Rock. The quotidian-made-amazing because it had nearly been yanked-away. The bathroom remodel up ahead, the sunroom nearly completed (images forthcoming) a run to Half-Price Books for a chance at a copy of Rushmore.
Mid-day, an old friend called. My call log died with my old phone, so I am at the mercy of outside callers and memory to re-construct my old contact list. So the call was a bit of a blind-side. The friend, friendly-enough, was talking about the war on women and writing songs of parody from the perspective of Republicans and directed towards women (think of Joan Jett's I Hate Myself for Loving You reversed into I Love Myself for Hating You and you'll get the picture). My own politics and concerns aside, I am facebook-fatigued, some days the Cult of Personality of all social media (I am writing this on a blog: Irony-Embodied!) exhausts me. I was out in light and air, I was buying plants! As for political-uglies, I was, Sweeters, I confess, checked-out.
A week before at a diner--a Ma and Pops place in Delaware County--three televisions hung over the three horseshoes of old counters and they all streamed continuous footage of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman. These issues are crucial and we've a right to be engaged and I too, have been thinking constantly about the ways that we drop vigil on social-issues and in dropping our vigil, often because certain social equalities have been gained, we might lose major ground or allow unthinkable persecutions. But there are such loudspeakers everywhere, all of the time, that we have little room for the quiet contemplation and gathering of facts that these things demand. There is so much opining going on, that we can't hear the ways-to-go and whats-to-thinks that careful, critical thinking demands.
I have been thinking about women: Lady Gaga telling her fans "Don't Eat" (a quote that SD cannot abide by!) and the rhetoric surrounding women that will doubtless, be central to this election season and my first niece, seconds from entering this world (uncertain of all, save that she enters) and what it will mean to her to be a woman and how she will shape that meaning with her every new breath and I am both heartened and afraid, all of this: but I am not interested in the conversations taking place amongst men about it.
I am interested, and have been all year, in how the women in my life bring me a particular, unduplicatable, joy. Sweetcakes, with older children, a more daily feature in my life again, my sister, after a couple of months of silence (pregnancy, sister-feuds, sheer, foolish, colliding, impossible, incredible love, ) re-connecting, a new neighborhood friend who showed me the literal (but they feel figurative too,) cut-throughs that finally have me walking again in a new and difficult-to-perambulate neighborhood, my daily talks with my mother and the stunning-closeness to the sisters. Women: crucial and beautiful and unlike any other bonds I have, even with my wonderful father, or with Mr. Lovely Poppycakes. A sweetness, sympatico, solidarity, unique to us and not completely comprehensible to any male (politician or otherwise) but a beholdable thing, glittery in the light.
So I was reading Toni Morrison this morning, an interview actually, over at The Guardian and she mirrored so many of my own thoughts: what home is, where we really live, feeling what one feels and that age is our container, so much of our us-ness is inside and timeless. At 81, I don't feel guilty about anything." (As she will explain, she appears here in role as Toni Morrison, as distinct from Chloe Wofford, her birth name and real self.) "So there!" Throughout the afternoon she is gloriously, unexpectedly giddy.
I love her for her fierce self-knowledge and intellect. I think of the households of Sweet & Poppy Cakes and how much time has passed in our friendship and how in one way or another, we were trying to say what Toni Morrison says so succinctly: Home is bright and sharp and brutally real. When she sits at her desk, Morrison says, everything else disappears. "I feel totally curious and alive and in control. And almost… magnificent, when I write."
Oh Toni: there is seriously no "almost" about it.