Under Pressure

Everything is coming fast and furious now. Change in the apartment. Got a new couch. Changed all the wall hangings and pictures and moved the bed, MAN that was a tough one, and D hand me the hammer and now I have place for these things that I never had a place for before. And more change to come Big lawn and leaf garbage bags to Goodwill, giving back what I can. Xmas decorations out of storage, along with some cobwebs; who was I before? Oh yeah. And who am I now? And people like me. Some of the same people, even. Some new. Some have been cut out. Refresh. Advance. Soon a new calendar year.

Last Sunday’s run was both an exhilarating milestone and perhaps unwise. Something is amiss in my left foot, and though I plan to show up for the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning, I’m not sure how far I’ll get. I’m hoping for a miraculous recovery. I’ve tried to stay off it, not even lifting, save the three-hour Butoh workshop I went to yesterday. I had to test how things are going, if the foot really has a stress fracture or if it’s just a strain, or if it’s better. It’s not better, but it didn’t really, really hurt badly until after I left the workshop and was at the store buying a few things to round out dinner. It’s nice to have people over for dinner, I was pleased to re-discover. This is something I have missed for the last 12 years, and look forward to doing more of, though finances won’t allow me to do it very damned often, unfortunately. But I know my friends won’t care if it’s just some feta and olives and some pita and hummous, it’s the company and experience that marks the time as special, and I hope the polar vortex lets me have a somewhat social winter this year. I need it.

I really enjoyed the workshop. I don’t think I was the fattest or oldest, but what was really great was it didn’t matter if I was or wasn’t, nothing mattered but a bunch of bodies and that feeling that is very particular to a group of similar artists getting together to share an experience that is singular to that particular type of art. Whether you are theater people coming together for the first table read, or sketch artists coming together for a drawing class, or dancers of every ilk coming together to open yourselves in an exchange that is so intimate and engaging you leave the class feeling like something really important just happened. I did a mirror-style exercise with one of the dancers that activated literally every cell of my body. And there was an energy transference exercise that was almost as satisfying as sharing a blanket with someone on a cold night, or snuggling up to another’s body under a lightweight sheet on a hot, breezy, rainy night, with the wind blowing through the trees and the only sound through the open window is the rustling of the leaves. So, foot be damned, I’m glad I went, and the old girl has some moves left in her, for sure.

There’s so MUCH going on right now, though. A lot of pressures at work. A re-examining of relationships. Different creative thinking – not so much writing, but an urge to collaborate with others on pieces of art. The need to connect is strong. The love I feel in my heart when I see a friend’s face in the dim, gray light of these winter days – I just want to invite everyone in and have them fill my floor like we’re filming a video for Give Peace a Chance and bring whatever instrument you have, we’ll videotape it. When my boy appears at the top of the stairs to come stay for the week. When we both had a tear drop out when Charlotte died in Charlotte’s Web, and he took my hand. When the ducks race after us because they think we have food, and we splutch through the mud near the gazebo, playing tag, giggling and dragging each other along. And then me shouting in my theater voice, which is INCREDIBLY LOUD, when he runs past the edge of the treelawn without looking into the road. I dragged him back from the edge by his hood this afternoon, and he was angry, and my shouting made him afraid and he cried. They don’t look for little boys, I told him, they don’t see you.

He insists on trying to guess musical artists/acts now when we listen to the radio, but he has no placement for any of it; no visual to connect it with, and he is a visual learner. Show him a video of Gene Kelly or MC Hammer, he will imitate the moves, and sometimes with a scary precision for one so young and untrained. So tonight, we had music lesson, with clips of Jimmy Page (“he’s the one with Led Zeppelin, right, Mom? Who died again?”), the difference between James Taylor, voice and guitar, and Billly Joel, voice and piano. The difference in the bass and drums together that lay down Rolling Stones tracks (“Mom, I have their t-shirt”) and the Eagles. He also requested Elvis and Styx, for whatever reason, so we worked them in as well. This is what I have to teach, so I teach it.

It was an absolutely exhausting weekend, but in some of the best kinds of ways. He still wants me to carry him out of the bathroom wrapped in his towel, and I still can. I wonder how much longer, and which will be the first to go.


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