Happy New Year Love: Painting Trees Passion

December 31, 2016
“Write for one reader.” I heard that in a movie. Have a face, a personality, a height, even, but only one, so you can craft your story with a voice directed to someone with a voice too, in a conversation about what you two shared–or never shared.
So here goes:
I couldn’t write about a pure love. There have been many loves. All special loves. I think he insisted I watch this movie (plugged in the headphones, handed them to me, and loaded the movie to the rectangular screen inserted into the back of the seat in front of me) because there are loves that beam a hole in your brain and others in your heart. There is love of the right thing, doing the right thing, even if it is wrong for a part of you, wrong for some wild, abandoned adventure that you’ll never take. The purity lies in never going there. That love is an idea.
Ideas are clean, laser light, perfect, not messy like hunger, sex or anguish. Love as idea. Those abandoned are the purest because they are never lived. Those less glamorous, the responsible kind, the right kind, have their own line of righteous good, a purity of sorts, but not like a diamond (more a ruby). Those are reserved for the love so sublime but impossible.
If I write to you, will you understand? I think we both know how cut-painful words read starkly on a page. But it will bleed us pure. And that’s what you mean when you say you’ll love me to the day you die, visions that will run through your great fantasy-loving, movie mind when you’re rocking grey-silent inside, peering absently through a dirty window obscuring the winter dance of dusk-lit, flaming trees.
And it’s sacred and raw because it’s not messy, not calloused in boredom, sadness, anger, irritation and hate. Fragile love with a tough hide. We carry each other in a deeper pocket. I know you believe. I believe too.
The question never answered, I believe that too. Suspension, free floating purity, I can’t write that.

Slow but Quick Day of Enforced Rest

Christmas day felt like a jail sentence to a Jewish kid growing up in a largely gentile neighborhood in the sixties and seventies. When I was 4, my parents moved the family out to the burbs, away from Brooklyn’s dirt, crime and Jews. It was not their intention to remove us from tribe, but the trade off was a clean newly built blue collar neighborhood in which my mother could build a home. Ours was the lone house on the block without Christmas lights every December, the one with the large bay window sporting an electric menorah with blue light bulbs that turned slightly to the right to light up, each of the 8 nights. I remember both loving and hating the singularity of our tradition on this street in our town on Long Island.
But nothing compared to the boredom of Christmas day when there were no friends to call on, no malls to hang out at, no stores to browse in or anywhere to go really. My folks could not afford to take all 7 of us to the movies and only every once in a while we made it out to a Chinese restaurant. The day seemed endless, especially since I never watched much television and was not much of a reader before age 12. Time made its magic back then, elongating for miles in psychological hyper awareness and mental ticks to routine stuff I was not able to do.
Now, the opportunity to be imprisoned, pajama-clad in front of the fire the entire day, watching movies I did not know even existed, not cooking, cleaning or even eating most of the day winds down the year perfectly, like a day-long vacation. Permission granted, I laze and luxuriate in voluntary house arrest that whizzes by in the magical time of a slow-but-quick winter day. Gone too soon.

“Mistress America” Coming Soon


Looking forward to doing things that increase my happy this year, one of which is to see more movies–that is, carefully selected films.

I used to pride myself on keeping abreast of the latest in cinema and music, always knowledgeable of the reviews and stars of the new and up and coming movies and albums. My husband and I would often compare our notes for the week’s reviews over dinner, each of us agreeing with or refuting Robert Hillburn’s reviews in the LA Times on music or Siskel & Ebert on the movies. It was the nineties and for us a time of celebrating creativity by taking in art fairs around town, even purchasing pieces, and subscriptions to plays in Los Angeles. We went to concerts of our favorite artists at the time, Sting or the Police before him, enjoyed small jazz clubs in Newport or classical performances at the Hollywood Bowl. Then we had kids.

After children, we barely had time to remember our names let alone keep up on the arts. Something about that lost time always has me remotely anxious about the possibility of alien scientific observational abductions or parallel lives. Where exactly were we and what were we doing all that time that seemed impossibly franticly activity and emergency-laden? And yet I cannot remember more than a blur of movement punctuated by tears of joy, terror and pride

But now that the kids are mostly grown, I have the yearning to re-immerse myself in the creative world, enjoy the spirit of human expression. Toward those efforts, I spent some time last year checking out a few friend-recommended and friend-curated gallery openings around town and in the city, OMC Gallery of Contemporary Art in Old World, Huntington Beach, and Coagula Curatorial in Los Angeles, to name a couple, for discovering up and coming and/or lesser known artists. I also went to the locally notorious Sawdust Art Festival in Laguna Beach for the first time, though I have lived in Southern California for over 35 years, in addition to a few visits to to the biggies of museums like Los Angeles County Museum of Art to see the Stanley Kubrick installation and later the World Cup soccer exhibition, as well as the Huntington Library, the latter for the first time.

These discrete instances have stirred the hunger for more to colorize my thoughts and the sensibilities the way only the arts can. This year will continue the gradual immersion back into the b/c (before children) life with even more live music performances both classical and rock I enjoyed the latter part of last year, more art appreciation opportunities and more movies.

I read this a few weeks ago, but thought a blog post about the Sundance Festival projected favorites of the year would both offer readers who missed it a heads up and manifest my intention to sit in theaters more (so I get to see an entire movie rather than portions that I happen to walk in on when the rest of the family is vegging before the tube). There are several movies on the list I’m excited for, but of course Mistress America attracted my attention by the title alone. Not much has been released about this Noah Baumbach collaboration with Greta Gerwig (Francis Ha), other than the one or two lines of plot–college freshman gets yanked from solitude into wacky escapades by her future relative–and that it is scored by Indie pop duo Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips (who I listened to and enjoyed in researching this short review).

Curious title for the plot snippet published, which entices me to watch for enlightenment. In what context is “Mistress” used, as owner, object of desire, or illicit interloper? And is the future step sister the mistress with that title or is America called a mistress, titled by mistress as form of address? I get distracted by this sort of thing. Like everyone else, however, I’ll have to wait and see.

Hope for all those not working (I am, but contentedly so) it is a down day, down on the couch or in the armchair that is, watching movies or football or the garden grow, whatever relaxes. Peace.