Saturday, 26 June 2010

Listen to her.............................

The Moon she grows wild in the night skies; we've crested past Midsummer's Eve and the Moon will shine in her glory tonight: pending the omnipresent summer storms that have tormented the region these last few weeks.  What is cooking?  What indeed.

I don't know about you --- but that damn orb in the sky (my muse, and my beacon) has been stirring up some sea of madness as she is wont to do.  OOOOOO I am cagey today and ready for some amusement.  Good thing then that I am booked this weekend with activities a'plenty:  Crossroads Guitar Festival, Pride Parade - a run in a few minutes to shake off cobwebs.  But even as I plot my schedule, my tasks -- I suspect that my dear friend the Moon will blow a few surprises my way.  She makes me pesky.  And I sense some devilment in the air.  What mischief will I be in???  What revelations in store?  For always the Moon, she tests us.  Our rules, our precious expectations.  The things we promise or hope for - like so much dandelion fluff blowing in her midst: gone, gone, gone.  Only the now.  That shiny promise.  The shriek of cats mating - disturbing, shrill, ugly.  Children laughing in mayhem outside till one suddenly cries out. The sound of lovers: moist, panting.  The breath climbing in exaltation, working ever closer to release, to death, to some halting answer FINALLY to all our questions brewing like those storm clouds on a grey green horizon of fear.  Or worse nothingness. 

And still we feel something coming.  Or is it as Jack Keroac said or speculated "the sound of the unborn listening to us?"  O'that moon and the waters she moves.

"I am a ribbon unfurling 'round a lighting bolt.  Feel me.  Now.  I am your blood, your reason, your despair and wanting."  That's what my moon cries..........and she smiles wickedly when she says this while she dries my tears.

Do we dare follow the call
or like cats ---eyes shining in the dark - watch someone else try?

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

O there are days.....

And today being the solstice is one of the longest ones - literally, but in truth most of this week has seemed infernally long, stupid and trying....and nowhere near the full moon yet so who can imagine what is in store in the next few days ahead?  Trust me, when you live next door to a crazy lady, often off her meds, you can peg the moon's path by the "lunacy" demonstrated.  It's all the more beautiful when the crazy person in question is actually, yes, a lawyer for the Fair Housing Act.  I can't make this shit up, it's so beautiful.  AAAAH!

How this nutter can operate in court and not get disbarred is just one of those topics you don't want to get into unless you like tearing your hair out and shrieking at the skies.  But this flipping broad is seriously bi-polar and has a BIG BONER to dick with anyone in her path.  Her special delight is fucking with the condo board here because mad or no, she has just enough legal chops to create a ruckus.  And did I say, she's fucking coo-coo for coco puffs?  Like seriously scary, don't look into her eyes, she'll steal your soul, nuts?   Well, this week, our precious Leslie, the 95 pound hag from Hyde Park, was on my ass big time and consequently, yours truly is pooped out.  I only regret I did not take pictures of the hallway where the loony bird treated the carpet (after purposely letting her animals wander the hall) and then proceeded to make an obstacle course of blue duct tape and household items around the treated piss-stained stairway including but not limited too:  a hula hoop, feather duster, basketball, small boxes, and several disturbing hand written signs that were taped everywhere - including the floor.  She then left me a series of handwritten threatening notes (addressed to yours truly) up the stairs (on check registers) and littered the hall with her business cards.  Although she did manage to actually slip her late June assessment and special assessment of $750 under the door.  Totally priceless.  Being the treasurer for this infernal place, I will take this as win.  Oh, but at what cost?

I know it was rich because the gay men of the building, all soused from their afternoon liquor, came up to me with hugs and kisses at the yard sale on Saturday and shrieked, "You go girl, take her on!"   We conversed and traded Leslie stories and finally after much ribald laughter, I actually felt better.  Especially when I admitted that I was surprised not to have seen an ear lying on the stairs - ala Vincent Van Gogh.  But when I did witness her leaving the building today in floaty red sundress and red Converse hi-tops before starting this post,  I had to sigh in relief and giggle. 

Truth is always stranger than fiction and always more so in Rogers Park. 

But today, blissfully - today is like time stopped.  The whacked broad next door took down her paraphernalia in the hall and left.  And the summer skies are bright as the solstice culminates tonight.  We are in the throes of summer:  summer with all it's sweet mysteries and inside jokes. Summer and the clang of dishes being scrapped across the gangway from the building next door.  Fireflies.  Craving soft serve ice cream.  (Let's go, let's go to Dairy Star!  And watch the Hasidim and various softball and soccer teams chow down on kosher non-dairy soft serve!)  The gentle breeze off the lake.  The sound of the TV in the front room trickling down the hall.  Don on the phone quietly with his daughter Nicki.  My strange little home in the city.

I read somewhere online that the brightest light cast the deepest shadows.  Tonight when the skies finally darken and the cats prowl,  I will take stock of both the light and the dark - and sleep soundly.  There are days, my dears, there are days.....................when we meet symbolically the witches of our nightmares and also our dreams.  

Did I say the nutter actually looks like Margaret Hamilton????  Mi Vida Loca, babies.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

why she runs........?

One of the strangest things to happen this last year and half has been my recent running craze. 

Of all of the odd little surprises in life, I truly did not see this one coming.  First of all I was never an athletic kid.  Yar.  In fact, I remember classically being the fat klutzy girl that some team would have to take after all the selections were done.  My best memories of gym class in high school center almost exclusively on the amazing and very deep conversations that would occur in the outfield with my other non-athletic counterparts during softball.  Of course invariably we would get screamed at when there was a hit and we were too busy to take much notice.  (Fuck: I knew who I was at 15 ---- and if I saw a damn ball coming for me, I ducked.  End of story.)  I tried out for volleyball my freshman year and some sadistic Amazonian spiked a ball in my face and I went down like bag of hammers, picked myself up and walked out with my chin in the air before bursting into tears.  Balls are evil.  I have never managed to do any sport with a ball.  Don't even let me get started on the horrors of golf.  Satan plays golf that's all I'm going to say. 

How I even managed to take years worth of dance classes for my music theatre degree and survived: a miracle.  Although this is for Virginia Van Pelt, my former ballet teacher at Illinois Wesleyan, who told me and I quote, "You don't deserve to dance!"  I hate you Virginia Van Pelt.  I wish I had looked you coldly in the eye that day and told you that you didn't deserve to breath.  But I didn't have the chutzpa to let you have it then so today I am going to pimp you for being so heartless and enjoy it just a tiny bit although Jesus/Buddha/Allah and I are all trying to forgive you.  Somehow. 

VVP: kiss my now skinny ass you hateful whorebag.

So yeah, not an athletic gene in my body till years later when dating the bike messenger.  He gave me a bike and I became enamored with cycling in our fair city.  So from 32-39, my bike was my passion, my joy.  I commuted downtown and lived for long rides on the weekends.  I mocked runners.  I couldn't understand them.  So running?  How on earth had the avowed messianic bicyclist parked her double dharma-wheel of pleasure to clomp down the streets like a great huffing ox?  Where on earth did this notion come and why do I now have a fetish for dry-wick clothing?   Moreover, dear God, why do these endorphins make me so convinced that I am doing your will?  Biking is good but running is better....why??? 

I think the first reason was because I was told I could not run as part of a Chiditarod team with the twins in 2009.  Of course, I later ended up running it; but classically got my shorts knotted thinking that my friends had tried to box me out of a race that the rest of them would be running.  (Sort of like being the last damn kid not chosen, I guess.)  Whatever the case, this all occurred when we had gathered as group to run laps at the Galter Center.  And I was told, ever so politely that there could only be 4 mushers to a team although I had been dutifully showing up on Saturdays to run like everyone else had -- mostly because I was lonely and wanted to just hang out.  But to think I was not chosen, that I was not included?  Oy, it killed me.  I think I actually went to the shower afterwards and cried I was so distraught.  So I promptly signed up for the Shamrock Shuffle online and never told one of them.  Even after I had been invited to participate when one of them dropped out.  My former fat girl does not like to be told no.  Truly it was a psychic wound.  As if my heart was clamoring:  "I DESERVE TO RUN!  Damn you!".  And even if I didn't I was going to anyway.  I attribute this to the bonehead gene of defiance.  But it does serve me sometimes.  Anyway I signed up out of spite and wounded pride for my first race because by god even if I had to do it alone, I was going to do it.

Well I ran the Shamrock Shuffle in 2009 (5 miles) and it snowed like hell and it was 23 degrees and I did it.  I ran the rest of summer and later signed up for the Hot Chocolate Race in November (9 miles) and got through that.  And I even ran though the winter --- although I never signed up for a class.  I just clomped through the streets and did my miles and spent a lot of time thinking while getting from point a to b.  2010 arrived and I did my annual Shamrock Shuffle to commentate my first full year of running.  And then the unimaginable occurred.  Not sure yet if its still fat girl defiance or something more lofty/finer -- but I signed up for the marathon.  Yep the Chicago Marathon: 10/10/10.  Today is my first training day and I'm to do three miles.  And at the end of the week, the solo defiant one will run for the first time in her group and we will see what lies ahead.  I'm more afraid of running with a group than actually running the 26 miles.  Of course, the lesson is that we are always running in a group symbolically, we are never really alone:  but I'm sure, just as this chapter began, it will provide some comedy along the way.  All the same, the moxie that got me to this point is not going to be the only skill required to get me across that finish line.   So here we go....

Friday, 4 June 2010

The Lady of Situations

To start there must be a beginning, a marker.  So this year to honor the Turn of the Wheel: (my birthday on May 24th and entry into my 44th year) I decided that I would start my own blog and see where it would lead me.  No great shakes to try it, I guess.  Especially when every other person seems to be doing this ever so earnestly --- but here's hoping this will be a different ride than most.  Or at least good amusement.  Please strap in; it may be a bumpy ride. I will not feign any sort of delicacy.  Or pretend that I'm a good editor/proof-reader.  If anything, I hope to merely tear up the scenery a bit and find the thing that's new. After all, the provocative thing about being 44 is the fact that that you're in the middle (hopefully) of your run and maybe it's time to step it up!??

So I consider this journey/exploration to be it's own sort of spell.

Now some of you may poo-poo the power of a spell and I will be the first to clarify that a "spell" is just intention ritualized, but I realize all the same that I'm a little fruity and off the beaten path -- so call it what you will.  In the story of my life, which I am forever creating - I am a witch from Rogers Park.  And apparently from the number of alternative types in this hood, I'm in good company. All the old hippies of Chicago come back to Rogers Park it seems.  So here it is that I find myself again after 22 years when I first moved to Chicago with the small blond nymphomanic (ex-best friend) to find our fame and fortune and do a decade and a half+ of non-equity music theater. (O'the perils and stories to come regarding those chapters.)  I cannot mark this beginning without acknowledging that one, and in spite of the rancor that still bubbles regarding Ms. Mary and our love/hate friendship that spanned 20+ years, the thing that bears the largest testimony is the love I still continue to feel for her when I think of the past. Since moving back to Rogers Park, I often walk "with her" in memory anyway. This itself has been a balm to quell the hurt we did to each other and often gives me more perspective on our youth/wisdom in general/and the nature of forgiveness. So memory and present often unite --and also redeem.  More importantly, our stories are the tree rings that mark our lives. Yes, it all started on LUNT. Not Paulina or Melvina but LUNT.  Now that roach infested courtyard is a condo called Greystone Manor or something stupid like that.  But it's still the same old place next door to the HEARTLAND CAFE which still continues to serve the world's most atrocious food. (Seriously, how has that place stayed open these many years??????)

So yes, I am a self-proclaimed oddball that would rather be alone than stand in the center with the rest of the common denominator that's too chicken shit to recognize the mystery and power we all possess.  IE:  I might not ask the Sphinx the right question in the end, but damn it all, I'm going to grill the mo'fo - okay?  Let's rumble, Sphinx.  I'm ready!  

Besides, maybe my secret shy girl had to defiantly cultivate a sort of Shirley McClain image. All I know is that I bought into the fact that being different was cool and all the new age hocus pocus of the late 80's/early '90's really spoke to me.  This culminated when I moved to Rogers Park in 1988.  I would dutifully buy my crystals from Isis Rising, subscribed to Circle Magazine, burned my nag champa incense, chanted, took meditate courses, read a "wicked pack of cards" ---- and even went so far as to block out my windows so I would bleed with the full moon.  You name it.  To this day I seldom am without my token moonstone (talisman of Avalon for those of you who have read Marion Zimmer Bradley).  I'm all crazy like that, it's true.

Now, I can blame all of the above on several things but I think its the fact that I grew up watching the TV show BEWITCHED.  From the age of three on, I believed I was a witch or pretended to be. Which of course is one and the same.  (Although I never got the nose wiggle down!)  But what we think about is what we become -- thus, what we write about and create from a blank page is no less than life itself.  Or to quote, my dear ribald, cock-waving Daddy figure Henry Miller:

I reached out to for something to attach myself to - and I found nothing. But in reaching out, in the effort to grasp, to attach myself, left high and dry as I was, I nevertheless found something I had not looked for - myself. I found that what I had desired most of my life was not to live- if what others are doing is called living - but to express myself. I realized that I had never the least interest in living, but only in this which I am doing now, something which is parallel to to life, of it at the same time and beyond it. What is true interests me scarcely at all, nor even what is real; only that interests me which I imagine to be, that which I had stifled every day in order to live. Whether I die today or tomorrow is of no importance to me, never has been, but that today, even after years of effort, I cannot say what I think and feel - that bothers me, that rankles. From childhood on I can see myself on the track of this specter, enjoying nothing, desiring nothing but this power, this ability. Everything else is a lie - everything I ever did or said which did not bear upon this. And that is pretty much the greater part of my life. (Tropic Capricorn/Henry Miller pg 13-14).
Most of my life has been spent trying to figure out where the hell I'm going and most days I honestly don't know. Yes, of course, I work, I pay bills, tend to family, take care of all the THINGS we're supposed to do -- all those precious day to day menial tasks that give form to our lives. But it's my internal life, that rich murky stuff that leads to longing, dreams, manifestations - that's what I want to dig into. That's what this will be:  a recipe, a spell for self creation.  For who among us can live without food, love, desire, and language?  From this vantage point I have always watched the world and reported it through stories: expanding the truth and living it like a mad Peter Pan. Now I am simply going to catalogue my sauntering tales and share them for those who may find some amusement and solace from one of the outlandish witches of Rogers Park. 

So sit, enjoy and take it in....who knows what might come from a simple online jaunt?

Last note: why the Wasteland theme for the title? Madame Sosostris appears on line 43 of the Wasteland and my 43rd year was about to turn.  Moreover I've always thought there is something very tongue-in-cheek about Madame Sosostris -- as if, perhaps, she knows she is a ruse herself.  Whatever the case, she's always been with me and is very much alive in my imagination. Thus, if if I am reporting from the field -- as a post modern witch in an unreal city --- what better way to pay tribute to my liberal arts education, as well as acknowledge that at base, I'm an old show girl at heart?  So whether I'm spinning a yarn, telling a tall tale, reading your cards, or making you dinner -- know I'm always going to try to give you a little song and dance: n'cest pas?

Madame Sosostris, famous clairvoyant, Had a bad cold, nevertheless Is known to be the wisest woman in Europe, with a wicked pack of cards. Here, said she, Is your card, the drowned Phoenician Sailor, (Those are pearls that were his eyes. Look!) Here is Belladonna, the Lady of the Rocks, The lady of situations. Here is the man with three staves, and here the Wheel, And here is the one-eyed merchant, and this card, Which is blank, is something he carries on his back, Which I am forbidden to see. I do not find The Hanged Man. Fear death by water.I see crowds of people, walking round in a ring. Thank you. If you see dear Mrs. Equitone, Tell her I will bring the horoscope myself: One must be so careful these days. TS ELLIOT: THE WASTELAND
Here's to the journey ahead. May the Lady of Situations, our eternal muse - lead us forth. 

And lest it be forgotten:  this one is for Alison Chisolm Cooper --- who told me long ago to do this!!!!

About Me

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Chicago, Illinois, United States
A post modern crone, living in an urban fairy tale set in Rogers Park. Two parts story telling -- one part practical kitchen/spell magick.