Tender

Tender

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Earth Update #84

(An update from Earth in Spring of 2014 recovered from dataset BL857386)

I've been detaching.

Netflix to make the housework bearable. Flavour to make the housework bearable. So sick of the grind that all I can see is the grind - make food, clean up, make food, clean up, rest, make food, clean up... I barely left the kitchen yesterday, that gorgeous day of sun and fun and holiday. I relegated myself to the duty and my duty done, spent, I went to bed. Is this how I am best spent?

I feel quite sorry for myself. So I indulge my addictions to flavour and tv because those indulgences overlap the housework, give it texture and a way to keep my mind from noticing the repeating monotone drudge. If I can't have a life, at least I can be entertained. The things I'd rather be doing don't overlap with housework. Housework never ends.

At least, I let that premise lead. It's easy to be petulant when you're run-down and short on time.

Today I cut the carrots for the stew. Without the tv for distraction, I boiled the stock, spiced the meat (sorry, chickens). Calm overtook me. I was cutting carrots. I was cutting potatoes. I was mixing stock. I was just doing that. I was in the doing of it. Quiet and stillness around and inside me. I was the doing, and the doing was me. I stepped outside myself and saw this avatar of Cheryl Making Stew. I knew myself one with Essence, with a Knowing that the perceptive instruments of this human machine can't compute. I don't know how long it's been since I felt that way. Weeks. I felt such longing it almost knocked me down. Oh, yeah, that's why I was detaching. No time for this intensity. No energy left over to devote to life's devotion.

So we're back to pace, back to slack. Not enough slack. Too fast a pace. Even without employer, as soon as I touch other humans, I don't set pace. Staying calibrated in this rapid a current takes discipline, energy, and that's not an answer I want. I want slack to feel more comfortable, not demand so high a price. But we get there together, or we don't get there. And I'm tired.

(Even my purpose distracts me from my purpose. The world conspires against clarity, which terrifies the creatures here more than death.)






Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Three Minutes


We need more time to do nothing.

Last night, driving home from Kung Fu, the pinks and oranges of sunset glinted in my periphery through the trees. You should stop, myself told myself. You should stop and watch.

But I'm driving, I reasoned. And when I get home, I have to empty the dishwasher, clean the kitchen, make lunches and fold laundry before I can spend time with A and go to bed. There's no time to stop.

Yes there is, myself told myself. Just for a minute. Just for three minutes. What difference will three minutes make?

While she was talking, my body had already turned the car down Beaver Creek Drive where I know there's a good place to stop and see the water. So I said yes, of course.

I pulled over, near the side of the water. I turned off the ignition, silencing the loud music to which I'd been rocking out. It felt like one beat of silence. And then...

the car suddenly filled with a wall of noise - a buzzing, croaking, clacking, singing, calling, solid brick cacophony. Or, another way, an unrelenting ocean of earth's song. I found myself completely and absolutely immersed in sound, filling my ears and nostrils, my lungs and heart and liver and pancreas and kidneys and uterus and all the spaces between the pores of my skin.That sound was me. I was that sound. I walked out on the concrete pier.

Hidden from me, frogs, insects, birds and animals sang loudly to the dusk with my spirit. Flocks of small, dark birds practiced precision aerial maneuvers against the glowing pink-orange sunset, cheered on by geese and warblers below. Fog billowed its smokey effects across the water's surface, as even the clouds joined this earthly celebration. Reflected upon the rippling surface, Sunset smiled a glowing smile of recognition and love to herself. Mosquitoes danced with excitement at the prospect of piercing my fresh flesh.

We humans are not a part of this party. We are not welcome guests. The birds warned each other of my arrival. The little animals scurried away from the harsh sound of my shoes on gravel. Only my stillness allowed them any ease. We have placed ourselves apart from the celebration of life that the rest of the planet is having. More, we have treated all other parts of nature as enemy, now vanquished enemy, devalued and enslaved. No wonder they don't want us around, no matter our intentions.

And yet, in my stillness, they accepted me among them. They did not stop their party for me, and my spirit joined their song to refresh and refuel that essence in my otherwise distracted existence. My heart opened with gratitude.

Three minutes made a difference, after all.

We have established society on top of nature, without regard for nature, even our own human nature. We need time to just be with what is, for our well-being and to begin repairing the rift we have created.



CULTIVATE SLACK.


Saturday, May 3, 2014

Goofy (another Bad Mom post...or maybe not)

(before we begin: if you are Ksenia Solo, click here for your letter.)

Goofy

"Mom,  you look goofy."

A dart, straight into my heart from eight years old. I feel embarrassed, maybe a little betrayed.

"Do I?"

I suppose I do. I'm wearing a blue jersey dress with some kind of swoopy neckline, over black yoga pants, with pink and neon green runners, a grey granny-sweater and a knee-length patterned scarf. I have no make up, and my hair dances in chaotic curls. I do look goofy. I smile.

"I'd rather be goofy than uncomfortable, I guess."

And it's true. No point in worrying about whether I look goofy or not. I used to watch my appearance closely, try to control it through the day with brushes and make-up and fussing. I used to take an hour to dry and style my hair in the morning. An hour! Of my only human life! Every day! And all for how I looked. Ridiculous. I'm beautiful to the people who see me, and the rest - why am I making SO MUCH EFFORT?

I'll make a little effort - if it's important, if it's an event or a celebration or a formal kind of thing. But I got myself a nice wash-and-wear style that sometimes is even more beautiful than my fussing ever produced, and I bought a few pairs of yoga pants which pretty much cover most of my leg-covering needs. This is as much attention as I allot to my appearance, of the limited attention I have left in this single life.

Maybe I don't mind looking a bit goofy. It surprises people when they find me such a serious being. Maybe I kinda like it.

Then there's the side benefit. Because I read a "Christian Dad"'s blog a few weeks ago, with all sorts of advice for women on how we should dress so we don't put his brothers at risk of transgression about us (that means, don't trigger their sex noticing). And it turns out, I follow almost all his rules. The jersey dress - it shows my curves, both the stomach I want to hide and the ass that should be hidden, lest it attract undue sexual attention. So I wear yoga pants under and a sweater over, and in case my protruding bosom attracts attention, I cover with the scarf. I'm following all his rules, because the truth is, he's not wrong - if I want to avoid unwanted attention, there are aspects of dress that encourage or detract. Which sucks, of course, but look at me, so obedient.

Since I've adopted my eclectic, wash-and-wear style, the only people who notice I'm beautiful, maybe even sexy , are interesting people. The mundanes don't even notice I exist. And how could I mind that?

Anyway, I think I'm kinda cute, just the way I am.



Friday, May 2, 2014

Dear Ksenia Solo (an open letter)

Ms. Ksenia Solo
c/o The Internet
World Wide Web

Dear Ksenia Solo

I just binge-gorged Lost Girl’s first three seasons, the whole time thinking, this actor might actually be able to carry Mouse.

I’ve been writing Timeless my whole life. I started capturing the story as a novel maybe six years ago, when my son was two and my daughter almost one. If you can imagine. Actually, no one can imagine until they are living it.

While I struggled between my anticipated identity as fast-tracking career mom and the real-life reality of how priorities shift; while I changed jobs, careers and sectors in search of an ever-elusive sense of purpose; while I learned about how the world actually works and got mad; while I gave myself permission to reclaim my agency; throughout, I wrote Timeless. While I learned how badly I’d fooled myself, made friends with my body, faced what lurks inside me, recognized my essence with joy, I wrote Timeless. Of course, Timeless is about none of that. Timeless is about rock and roll.

I wrote Timeless out loud, here. I learned to build a website and put up my writing as I wrote each scene. I cultivated a following of social media readers who commented on my raw words. The interactions began shaping the characters, plot and themes, revealing aspects that I had never understood until I saw through a reader’s eyes. I learned and I wrote, when I could. It’s hard to build momentum that way, but forward is forward as my grandma would say. The years passed.

I finished 2/3 of Timeless, and then, the story closed to me. The characters turned their backs and wouldn’t talk to me. The plot hid around bends. I felt abandoned, rejected by my own story, the world I’d created. I read the story over and over, waiting for something to open, a whisper to tag onto. And then I realized that Timeless wants to be seen. I started over. With no idea how to write a screenplay, I gamely began translating the story to a script with notes, a starting place for people who know the technical ways forward – a community project waiting to happen.

From first-person narrative to script – wow! Suddenly, Mouse became herself. She spoke her thoughts more because she had to, and it changed everything. It gave her the practice she needed to have the strength for her climactic argument with Trix about power and love. It let her ask the questions she needed to, for other characters to reveal themselves. It made her more solid than her first person narrative had managed. It let her become, out loud.

I’d like to say I’m finished, but I think I have at least 300 hours of writing left. I do have a good idea what’s going to happen when I write the next scenes, and I know how it’s all going to end (and I will tell you if you ask). I smile when I write, and I smile when I think about writing. I smile when I think about you, playing Mouse.

So I wrote you this long and heartfelt letter. Can I tell you my secret imagining now?

I imagine a community of people producing Timeless as a series of webisodes, over a period of years, as part of a larger ecosystem – graphic novels, audio scenes, spin-off story-lines by other people, music videos, maybe a clothing line, dance choreography, stage design, art. I imagine a niche of people who totally get Timeless the World, and relate to the characters in a way that inspires them to create. A girl can dream, even in her forties.

I don’t have any money and I have no experience with production. That won’t stop me, though it does keep me very slow. Excruciatingly slow. A turtle will drag itself toward the sea until its last breath. I can be at least as noble to my vision as that wise creature.

In any case, letters should conclude with a specific call to action, because by now you’ve learned all you need to decide if you’re interested in knowing more. As Trix tells Mouse, there's pride in the asking, even if you don't get what you want. And so,

Ksenia Solo, will you read the current draft of Timeless as though you were considering playing Mouse? 

Notice, I’m not asking you to actually consider playing her, but to suspend your disbelief and read as though you were considering taking her on. Take as long as you need, even if it’s years. I’ve learned that Timeless is a life-time project for me.

Letters should never exceed one page and this one does. I seem to break every rule, but that's okay with me. Thanks for reading. Let me know if I should send Timeless to you in pdf. Below, I’ve provided the “back cover” synopsis, since I realize I haven’t given you anything but my own backstory.

Thank you for sharing your talent in the world.
Best wishes,
Cheryl


TIMELESS: 300 WORD SYNOPSIS

A week before her 25th birthday, guitarist Christine runs away to the big city with new-love Chris, leaving behind her small-town existence and long-time boyfriend in search of big dreams and a new life.

Christine soon encounters Trix, the intense, charismatic lead singer and proprietor at Timeless, a converted theatre where society’s outcasts join forces around shared ideals and a dream. Trix beckons Christine toward a whirlwind of music and mystery.

Intrigued and attracted, Christine finds herself drawn into the world of Timeless. Trix holds strict court with the homeless youth who find shelter and purpose in her space, imposing a set of principles she believes will change the world. Together, they are building a digital, social and musical Movement meant to rock the city this Friday night. But who’s paying? And what “means” are really justifying whose ends? Christine begins to suspect there’s something big at stake.

Timeless explores the deepest paradoxes we face as our social worlds close in and inequality raises the stakes for everyone. Christine provides a middle point - not old, not young, not rich, not poor, both educated and street-aware, both straight and gay; at the same time, Christine becomes a hub where worlds intersect. Using the bus system and any ride she can score, Christine navigates social norms of glitz-rich society, street-involved youth, musicians, academics, working stiffs and corporate elites, all while outrunning her past, wrestling her present and trying to believe in a future.

Now that nothing makes sense, how will teflon Christine choose between a life she’s supposed to want and one she can’t even imagine? Pushed and pulled between power and love, bravery and shame, trust and fear, ambiguity and decision, Christine discovers what it means to live out loud, and how to be Her Own Girl after all.