SOL Tuesday although it’s Wednesday

An opportunity I was given took.

I asked my dear photographer friend to do me the honor of taking some pictures of me that might be used in my book. She has photographed me before and those pictures are among the absolute favorite images that I have of myself.

She rented a studio. I was very close to being on time.

I arrived hungry and spent but I brought along some maki and spring rolls to share. Eating was my first priority. I felt a little cranky from the day’s nonsense. Thankfully we were not in a rush. We chatted as I fed myself and she fiddled with getting the espresso machine to produce something potable.

We’ve been friends for many years. We used to work in the same school. I’m still there. She moved on and now does only the photography that’s worth doing. I love her work.

I changed into a simple summer dress. Perhaps my favorite by now – it’s blue and feminine and undemanding.

To begin she showed me an approximate spot on the backdrop spread and instructed me to close my eyes and just dance. Music was playing, I felt relief and began to move. I dance rather naturally. If there’s music that speaks to me, I just listen and respond, however I choose, in whatever way I feel. She encouraged me to do precisely that.

small movements, just the hands, then a slight sway of the torso. My eyes stayed closed while my shoulders relaxed and my feet joined the party.

At some point I opened my eyes and danced more freely. Twisting, turning, reaching, bending. She asked me to spin. My skirt rose while my calves flashed. The soles of my feet peeking out at the camera lens, also wanting to be seen, appreciated.

Music flowed – some familiar, some not – and I moved. I sat on a stool and danced. I sat on the floor and danced. From time to time L. would show me a group of pictures, excited about their beauty. And I agreed. They were beautiful photos. Of me. Just moving, talking laughing in front of the camera without a care, well, in those moments I felt beautiful.  Graceful. Strong. Expressive.

There was nothing hard about it. I got to be me – dancing, moving, conversational me. L. gets me. She sees me for who I am and knew exactly how to help me show who I am for the camera.

In the afterglow I realize what a rare gift I have been given. These few hours in a spotlight that is kind, generous and warming. I put myself on display for an opportunity to be seen and to see myself.

Tomorrow I will get to see a sample of what the camera captured. I wonder what my memory will say.

Advertisements

SOL Election Tuesday 2018

If I should die before I wake

I pray the Dems the House to take

And in the Senate let it be

A big blue wave to set us free.

 

Go, go, go to vote

locate your polling scene

patiently, patiently, patiently wait your turn

Democracy a dream

 

I’m so glad we had this time together

Just to have a vote and wait in line

Seems we all know who we need to put in office

But the polls insist the stars are not aligned.

 

May our votes be counted, our voices heard, the results favorable and our fundamental rights remain in tact.

 

 

SOL Tuesday: Letter to an old friend

Below is a letter I imagined writing to a friend when I’m in my retired years. Not sure what prompted this but it was an interesting experience.

Dear K.,

When was the last time you received a letter from me? No doubt, it’s been a while. Instead you’ve probably heard from me in blurbs and bite-sized communiques traveling through the digital ether.

You should know I’m still here at the same e-mail address. I still live in the same city. Google will find me if you think you can’t.

Some stuff has happened, some things have changed. Both sons are out in the world chasing their dreams and discovering where there are nets and where there are none. As far as I can tell they are both happy and well adjusted. Each is an artist in his own right – one in the digital realm, the other in athletic forms of flight.

As for me, I’m getting on in years. Physically I can still hold my own on a yoga mat. I walk regularly and Fall has become my favorite season when the air is crisp and ground is damp with colorful leaves. I’m grateful we still have seasons. Who knows for how much longer?

The old man and I lead a pretty quiet life together. We read a lot and alternate turning off the light for each other at night once we drop the book we were holding and drift off into the comfort of slumber. Our sleep schedules tend to align only partially. We still say goodnight with a kiss but after a few hours usually only one of us is in bed. So it goes. We are grateful for our relatively good health and projects that keep us curious about the future.

I bet you have barely aged. I’d love to hear from you and know that you are still bringing good into the world. I regret that we have always lived so far away from each other.

Maybe we can see each other again before… well, you know.

Be well! Lots of hugs,

S.

SOL Tuesday: Deadlines on vacation

I’m on vacation. We’ve chosen a week at a thermal bath near the mountains smack in the middle of Austria. My 11 y-o is into Fortnite, youtube, some swimming, reading and more Fortnite. I’m working pretty hard at this relaxation thing.

And I have deadlines. Imagine: a course description for a week long intensive course of my own creation on the topic of Digital Identity. It’s only a couple of paragraphs but it should describe an at least rough plan of action. Yeah… And throughout the process, I need to keep reminding myself that I am capable and qualified to do all this. Because in between I, of course, hear my chorus of inner skeptics telling me quite the opposite.

I also promised to proofread a chapter of my husband’s master’s thesis. Because after all, I have time, right? Of course, but I still want to drink 2 glasses of wine at dinner because I can, and sleep in because I can, and wow, the day just flies by.

While I am here in this peculiar social configuration called an all-inclusive hotel stay let me make a few random observations:

  • After a certain hour, like 1:30pm, most of the guests seem to have been in or under water at some point. In any case, everyone you see in regular clothes looks scrubbed – you know, a little rosier, maybe even a bit shiny.
  • Small children seem most likely to be interested in practicing their independence at mealtimes.
  • The guests are a reasonable cross section of central Europeans: Austrians, Germans, Hungarians and maybe a couple of other nationalities. Middle aged folks outnumber millenials at least 4 to 1. (At these prices, no wonder.)
  • Random socializing is limited and rare. People stick to their pre-arranged groupings while remaining vaguely polite to strangers.
  • Dinner is the only meal that offers evidence that the hotel is more or less full.

At any rate, the water is warm, the room has a view, we have time and opportunity to spare. Deadlines will come and go. We will have relaxed to the best of our ability.

SOL Tuesdays: Blurb Art

“achingly beautiful prose”

“gorgeous, funny and heartwarming”

“vivid, fast, funny, way-smart, and verbally inventive”

“quirky characterization, iron-laden repartee, and edgy humor”

“gripping deep dive”

“astonishing literary debut”

“drops on us like a thunderclap”

“a comic vision haunted by profound sadness”


 

vision: gorgeous

prose: astonishing

thunderclap: loud

By a vivid debut of literary vision, we are haunted, achingly so, by inventive repartee that drops profound sadness on us.

gripping and gorgeous, these quirky characterizations warm our hearts.

inventive, deep, profound

iron-laden and beautiful dive

like way-smart.


 

 

SOL Tuesdays: Angry Poems

Sometimes I feel anger and I’m not sure where to take it. So I write. Below are some angry poems to vent my frustrations.

 

Statement

I will not pass inspection on Thursday

or ever.

Please accept my resignation

effective immediately.

 

Discrepancy

Your manic cleaning spree may clear out the cobwebs

and banish some crusty panels of dust

but the collected silences and

ingrained resentments between us

will not yield to your polishing hand.

Your soapy fingers scratching the surface

are no match for a decade’s worth of false pretenses.

 

 

SOL Tuesday: Ignorance Walks

A student comes into the library and requests a novel that features a portrayal of Native Americans as “savages”. The novel was written by a white woman and published several decades ago. The student was referred to this title by her current English teacher.

This happened.

This continues to happen.

Over and over and over again.

It’s a pattern that plays out in hundreds of variations in school curricula, library selections, in homes. The demand for racist literature sustains itself over decades. But is it a demand specifically for racist literature?

Oh, of course not!

Rather, what it is and stays is a well trod ignorance; a pair of heavy blinders that prevent the clear perception of any racist baggage or intent. Not racist, maybe outdated, some might say.

Well, racist literature exists in all eras and is published with remarkable frequency although it is seldom seen that way.

Here’s how I think this happens: we are accustomed to whitewashed history, a penchant for happy endings, and the separation of multiple, concurrent forms of oppression; as a result we compartmentalize, dissemble, and prepare our escape routes from uncomfortable truths.

The US is built on slavery, genocide, theft and cruelty.

We decide it’s time to do something about our ignorance of Black history, so we read some books and forget that the genocide of native people played a role in that same history of how the United States came to be. We learn to finally acknowledge white privilege as an actual thing but can’t quite grasp what folks mean when they claim that American society is definitely White Supremacist. We keep our biases contained, or so we believe.

Instead, it’s true that our ignorance walks. It talks, travels and welcomes comfort. It asks for neat packages, clear story lines, uncomplicated histories. Not surprisingly, we have whole industries dedicated to satisfying these specific demands.

So it was that a child could make a request for a firmly racist story at the recommendation of a well meaning teacher and some of us see a cycle repeating itself, while others see nothing at all.