Brown?

December 9, 2008

?

Your Rainbow

Your rainbow is slightly shaded brown.

What is says about you: You are a deep thinking person. You appreciate the roughness of nature. You feel closer to people when you understand their imperfections.

Find the colors of your rainbow at spacefem.com.

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I have been reading trash lately.  And I love it.  It’s not new, I was reading Enid Blyton, Dorita Fairlie Bruce and Noel Streatfeild for so long that I used to pretend that I was doing a children’s literature project when actually I just loved those predicatable plots, relentless school girl dramas and improbable adventures.

It is a sneaky joy reading junk – I have lots of degrees, a couple in literature, and I really should know better.

But the other day I was reading this particularly bad book (which I won’t name because someone must love it) and thinking about how naff it was, how awkward the characters were and how it didn’t go anywhere or say anything.  What struck me was that life is actually like that- it’s gawky, a bit unsettled but not in the styley modern way that Don DeLilo protrays, nor in the un-understood way of Janet Frame.  Life is just a bit dicky, it doesn’t quite fit and it works out mildly different to how you expect it will.

Other secret pleasures have been Dinner Doesn’t Matter and The White Elephant by Mary Scott.  Scott’s characterisation is charming and I am a sucker for tangible people in novels.

This extract did make me scream though – rather bold for NZ in 1959

“‘A good show altogether’ said a masculine young woman  to her friend.  ‘I liked that pretty girl, though she was a bit clueless at times, and the little one who seemed to live in the kitchens really cooked quite well”…  “Well her meals were what mattered” her practical friend replied. (p. 71)

And my final confession – Ngaio Marsh – murder mysteries, gentry, colonial flavour – who could ask for more?

I watered it, and admired its red flowers – the things it had to offer to the world.  I never reproached it that it was not nourishing, nor was it scented.

I watered it when it was dry – but it’s summer, you kind of expect even a plant to have some built in endurance for the ups and downs in warmth and cold.

It’s strange to give up on a living thing, to say it doesn’t matter anymore.

I wondered whether I should maybe keep watering the pot, maybe the roots were living and would resprout if I had enough hope.  But I didn’t want to.  The plant is dead for me.  It’s not going in the compost, I don’t want to absorb its matter through eating the lettuces or spinach.

The shell of a pot and few stringy roots are leaving.  If someone else fancies them then that’s their journey – theirs and the plant’s.

And in the space on my window sill I can put something that I actually always wanted: jasmine, or purple pansies, or tall chive flowers.  Texture and colour and smell.  Not show.

If I were a boy

November 22, 2008

The first time I heard a radio announcer talking up Beyonce’s song ‘If I were a boy’ I sneered and changed the station.

I have had the conversation so many times over the years – ‘what would you do if you were a boy for a day’.  And I am always amazed at all the excitement over the topic; and the repeated “I would piss standing up” from people I usually respect.  Actually, girls can piss standing up too, they just can’t be bothered.  It doesn’t come natural to boys either, they piss all over themselves while learning as kids and are still pretty uncoordinated as drunk adults.

For myself, if I were a boy for a day, I would try for gender reassignment in the morning.  Or more realistically I would wipe myself out with drugs for 24 hours.  I am not curious and I don’t have penis curiosity or envy.  My tomboy stage in childhood lasted long enough to pop an ‘e’ on the end of my name and that was it.  My brief foray into androgyny involved shaving my head at age 18 and working in a male dominated industry.  It wasn’t my cup of tea, and the one time I was mistaken for a boy I was mortified.

Having ranted, Beyonce’s song is great.  Her voice sounds awesome and the melody has that just-right-feel-good-resolution.  And the lyrics ring true too, because we do have double standards of what boys can get up to and get away with.  Oh, and did you notice the ‘were’ – if you’re a grammar bitch like me that 80’s song ‘If I was king for just one day’ rankles.

So I won’t be singing it myself, but I get ya Beyonce.  Maybe some utopian day, some boy will be singing wistfully about being a girl.

temptation

November 17, 2008

I was brought up a devout Catholic, and well exposed to the concepts of inner guilt, even over things where one had no control.  I used to worry that everything that went wrong in my life was a punishment for telling a lie, masturbating, or eating some forbidden baking ingredient from the cupboard.  Somehow, along the path of my life, I have managed to mostly lose this.  My sense of guilt lessens more all the time and sometimes I wonder whether I ought to try and retain some of it.

All around me people act out the very Catholic expressions of guilt and denial.  Friends constantly tell me that they have given out coffee or wheat or alcohol with pride and determination.  I don’t get it – these little joys give pleasure, they feel good, and yet some people gain even greater pleasure from just wanting them.  Think of all those “oo I shouldn’t, I’m on a diet” colleagues and friends.  For me this frequently feels like the same kind of controlling behaviour that people with disordered eating exhibit.

It’s interesting as a very recent ex-vegan to be dissing others’ denial behaviour.  Often I was seen by friends as a moral example because I had such “good self control” around food.  It wasn’t like that.  I had been vegan for so long that it was a habit, and it didn’t occur to me to eat other stuff.  I have to admit, I like being able to eat bread without checking the label for milk products and I am liking aoli; but mostly I find dairy products a bit gross tasting – too strong and rich – though I am more willing to try them now.

For me, if I want coffee, wine, or potato chips then I just eat them.  I figure there must be a good reason for my body’s cravings.  I remember one of Rudolf Steiner’s lectures where he spoke of vegetarianism as being spiritually desirable, but if the individual found it hard,  unnatural or craved meat then they were better off eating it instead of thinking about it all the time.  Steiner spoke some crazy shit but I did really relate to that.

a beautiful weekend

November 16, 2008

One of the things that I got reminded of this weekend was about all of the simple lovely things that no one can touch.  I have been so cross about the NZ elections and the unfair propositions that got passed in the US and all kinds of other stuff that I’d started to feel like the world sucks.

But one of my favourite things about being in the world is hanging with people I love, and that’s what I got to do this weekend.  I am newly released from the bondage of study so I could really enjoy my friends’ company and it was just great – some sun, some wine, some mutual bitching about the wrongs of the world..  It feels good to know that the people I am close to hold the same core beliefs as me.

There are also lovely roses around to smell, and trees to hug, and the sea to splash in.  I know life isn’t perfect but it is beautiful.

Brian Haw

November 15, 2008

In case you don’t know, this is Brian Haw

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Haw

Living in London when the US and UK invaded and occupied Iraq was formative in the way I think about politics, the world, and the way people act.  Brian Haw, with his weatherbeaten face and light, determined eyes is embedded in my memory.  I saw a friend in the street a little while ago who has just been imprisoned for his political actions.  He had the same eyes.  I love and fear that determined look – I love that some people are so wholehearted and selfless that the practicalities of life are totally subordinate to their cause.  I fear because I don’t want it to be me – just as as a child I feared that God had chosen me to be a nun – I just didn’t and don’t want to be that good.