All right, motivation gland, you wacky trickster, I'm listening. Today is not the day for work, you say. I mean, obviously. Since it's one-fucking-thirty in the afternoon and I have done ZERO paid work. Since all I can think about is big swirly questions, and since last night's mood happened, and since I've written e-mails to both the Metropolitan Opera of New York and the author of the last book I finished. And also gotten splatters of cherry juice all over the unfinished wood surface of my desk and honestly don't know how to clean unfinished wood. It's been a chaotic day, sitting here staring at my computer for the last six hours.
I went to Der Rosenkavalier last night, the last of the summer encores from the Met. I stayed through the first act and most of the second and then gave up and went home. This opera did almost nothing for me, especially compared to the last one I went to, Les Contes d'Hoffmann, which shook me and delighted me and made me think slightly differently about art than I had the day before. Rosenkavalier felt like pop fluff, felt like Strauss wanted to write a sitcom to put talented singers into it to show their stuff, where Hoffmann felt like it was an entire, whole piece of art even without standing back to admire what the singers brought to it.
On the way out of the theater, driving home, walking from the parking lot to my apartment, I had this awful paranoiac anxious feeling, like the shadows were full of thieves and blackguards out to do me harm. Generally I find the world to be a positive place, and the number of people who want to commit crimes against other people seems quite small, but last night I felt vulnerable and unsafe. I don't know why.
Although I think it has something to do with my intake. I am very, very tired of reading fierce and eager words about guns and violence and presidential candidates and war and cancer and starvation and poverty. I know that putting my head in the sand doesn't make any of this go away, but I don't want to consume it anymore. I read something the other day that I don't remember clearly enough now to make a point about it, but it was something about the mad-eyed perspective that heavy TV watchers have (heavy = 6+ hours per day, I remember that detail), how they're more anxious than most about what goes on in the world. I was thinking about it in the shower, and I think it's the constant motion on TV that can drive you mad, the advertisements and the scrolling headlines and the pop-up coming up nexts and the credits of one show boxed below the cold open of the next. When I compared that to sitting quietly in a 19th-century home, an inadequate fire, a poor candle by which to read, uncomfortable ten-year-old clothes, I felt numb and sad and unsurprised about all that's happened in the last twenty years.
I might take a week or so off of Facebook. Just to sit alone and percolate in what I've already acquired, instead of searching for new! new! new!. I just hate missing things. Some of my friends, and some of my "friends", are so clever, and have access to such fascinating and unique stuff. If I miss it, it could be lost, and it could be a thing that improves my life. I nearly didn't go to Les Contes d'Hoffmann, either, and it's already enriched my life despite the short time between when I consumed it and now. But one of the things I reread on my bookmark day earlier in the week was this, which I read many months ago and still has more to tell me every time I read it. Surprising for a silly CNN article with uniformly evil comments on it.
This week I finished reading Clockwork Heart, by Dru Pagliassotti, and I'm going to recommend it to anyone who has the time for a lovely steampunk adventure. I enjoyed it more than I've enjoyed the last several books I read, for sure, and this morning I wrote the author and told her so. Right now I'm reading a memoir, The Chronology of Water, and it's probably part of why my mood is chaotic and thoughtful, as it's profound and frightening and beautiful. It's got an astoundingly clear-eyed and confident perspective on being female, further evidenced by the remarkable article the author wrote about the boob on the cover.
I could write on about that, about the cover and the concept of Body and the trouble with overanalysis and the lesson from Last Tango in Paris that I've taken with me everywhere I go in life, but I think I better make this day worth something and get to my manuscript. I've read a lot this morning, and it's all reminded me that I have my own things to say, more than just a ramble on a blog.