Feb 28, 2003

Fell Weather

I felt heavy and sad today, but I could see no reason for it. That is almost a worse fate than suffering at the hand you can clearly see. It was cold and dreamy and frustrating and brooding. I wanted to find peace but was too weak to look for it.

But I took pictures and finished my work and got some reading done and shared private thoughts with close friends, and that made the dusky hours more tolerable. Dinner and drinks in the evening were so enjoyable, I almost felt as if it must be a different day altogether. I'm still so tired, though. I'm afraid my body is trying to tell me something. And I would prefer that it just shut up about it.

     I've done so much crying, the flesh has left my bones.
          I've done so much crying, the flesh has left my bones.
     You can play my ribcage like a xylophone.


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posted by Mary Forrest at 1:30 AM | Back to Monoblog


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     Feb 27, 2003

I love metaphors involving the sea.

I was just tucking in a bit after 2 A.M. -- 2:14, to be precise -- when I heard the rains begin. The sound filled my head with ideas. Worries about the morning and memories of other damp days. It was colder last night than the previous night. And I was glad of my recent shame-inducing expenditures in the luxury bedding department. I was quite cozy. Enough so that I forewent getting up and posting an entry at that moment, trusting that I would remember what I meant to say upon waking. That was risky.

As a reprise to my previous post about the various words of the day, I recall a few months ago when a word of the day was Lucullan, and I congratulated myself for already having known it and its origin. But then I promptly scolded myself for knowing it because it was part of the name of a cookie I used to eat in 1993. They were called Lemon Lucullans, and there was an explanation of the etymology on the package. I'm no genius. But I've got a crack memory. And I'm a fan of cookies with jammy fruit middles or cream filling. That will seldom be disputed.

posted by Mary Forrest at 7:48 AM | Back to Monoblog


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     Feb 26, 2003

Get smart!

Today's Merriam-Webster word of the day is weltanschauung. That's rich. What's also interesting is that, if I were to try to explain what it means, I would be tempted to use the word gestalt. Do you think the Germans have it all plotted out so that you can only explain their language by using their language? Was it a platform of the Weimar Republic? I sure do love German words. I think you have to work harder for them than for their latin counterparts. There are words in Japanese that are as triumphant for me. I love it when the meaning of a word has such delicate nuances as to only be explicable through a more thorough study of the language of its origin.

For expeditiousness' sake, Merriam-Webster defines the word as "a comprehensive conception or apprehension of the world especially from a specific standpoint." There is also a literal translation of it to mean "world view."

I like to look at the various words of the day and pit the services against one another. Today, Merriam-Webster beats out A Word a Day's gormless and Dictionary.com's complaisant. It wins because I didn't already know the word and because it's extra fancy with all those vowels in a row!

I like to look at the words of the day, but I'm not in the habit of employing them right away. Maybe it's a fear that someone else receiving an email from me with the word in it -- someone who also subscribes to such services -- will assume I didn't already know the word or that I can only find inspiration in subscription-based information. I'll protest, "But I already knew that word. The email just reminded me of it." And then I will sound like someone who is afraid to appear to not know everything. I am not afraid to not know everything. But I am afraid of being thought to be afraid of that.

posted by Mary Forrest at 10:03 AM | Back to Monoblog


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     Feb 24, 2003

It's always raining somewhere.

A friend of mine wrote and described being snowed in and how he looks forward to it. The thought of being prepared to eat canned food and warm oneself by a kerosene heater and read by lantern light and type on a manual typewriter was enchanting to me. I want to run off to a cabin in the woods somewhere and experience stillness.

But only for a short while. I'll eventually go into withdrawal if I'm not asked to validate my parking ticket for days on end or if I haven't experienced the panic of not knowing whether I'm parked legally. The freedom becomes lonely. It would be like being banished to live on the moon.

Last week, there was one night it was so windy, I wondered if my windows would just blow in. The whole place was rattling and howling. It felt safe to be inside. It felt like refuge. That's when you drink hot drinks and stoke the fire and wonder where you put the board games. That's when you forget you ever have to go out again.

And now it's raining. Softly enough to make a tinkling sound on the windows. Quietly enough that I can hear the drops coming off the ends of leaves and splashing down on the shiny, wet pavement. I dream of nights like this.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 11:21 PM | Back to Monoblog


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     Feb 23, 2003

"God speed all the bakers at dawn."

I am happiest when people like what I do. I am quite happy, also, when people notice at all that I do anything. My expectations are not so very high.

I keep finding myself coming home late and congratulating myself on a good time but also chastising myself for the crippling effect my carousing will have on the day that follows. I have to be up in less than four hours. I know this. I knew it long before I made my plans for the evening. But the lure of friends and drink and bartenders who know what I order is stronger than all the sensible proverbs ever wrought. For now, at least.

The title of the story was "The Nail that Broke Too Soon." But the story ended up being about a guy called Giuseppe who grew inhumanly taller with every chapter and increasingly more menacing to the townspeople, who had been blinded by his shiny toolbelt. When the chapter began with me, I said, "Jesus fell from the cross with a thud. 'That nail broke too soon.'" And then I continued with the story of Giuseppe and the clumsy attempts of the townfolk to relieve him of his valuable accoutrements. It surprised -- and perhaps horrified -- many people, and I was proud. Which causes me to suspect that I am not above saying things just for the startled expressions my words provoke. This points to a disappointing lack of standards on my part, doesn't it? I garnered similarly uncertain approval when I pointed out how unfortunate it was for all those people to have died at a Great White concert -- a concert they were more than likely unwilling to tell anyone they were going to in the first place. I have always maintained that I cannot cross the line, for there is no line. Many would disagree with me. But they aren't people I would ever invite over.

My humor isn't always cruel. And it is often at my own expense. But there is a certain intoxicating sense of power that comes from not giving a fig. Unfortunately, I am seldom able to commit to this brash nonchalance wholeheartedly. I really don't want to upset anyone. That is sure to be my kryptonite.

Fueled by pretzels and Red Bull, I bested the night. The rest can only be listed in the column with the word "Comeuppance" at its top.

The desire to be content and the fear of same are the metaphorical pugilists duking it out inside of me. I wish one of them would just set decorum aside and throw a real punch.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 4:41 AM | Back to Monoblog


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     Feb 20, 2003

"It's a frog with bird feet?"

I'm done with work I should have been done with before. That has a way of diluting the satisfaction of being done in the first place.

I was walking down the street early this morning, and someone had left a crate and several bags of books out on the curb. There was nothing to indicate they were to be discarded. I walked past them twice before giving in and stooping to look through them. I felt a little vagrant-y doing it. But I saw the authors and the titles sticking up from the heap, and I was intrigued. Obviously left by a woman. Probably either Jewish or Black. Probably depressed. Smart. Socially conscious. Interested in erotica (classics of erotica included). And then there was Ibsen.

I didn't take any of the books, even though I was tempted to scoop the lot up and scurry home with them. I was fearful I would discover they were all filled with poisonous mites or bat eggs or something. Do bats lay eggs? I know nothing of how bats are made. So, I didn't take any of the books. But I made note of the ones I would have taken and added them to my Amazon shopping cart. Proving incontrovertibly that I have learned nothing from my mother about the sacred importance of getting things for free.

I was expecting more of a night than I got. But I'm stitched fast to the promise of getting what's coming to me sometime soon.

Unnecessary aside:

Soon is one of those words that is wrong by its very construct. As much of a hurry as one who uses it is probably in, it should be shorter. Faster. It has too many Os in it. What a waste of time that extra O is. I think the word soon should just be converted into a very slight lift of the eyebrow.

Come to think of it, a lot of words that would seem to imply the need for quick, succinct conveyance employ double letters with overtly gratuitous waste. Speed. Hurry. Zippy. Why the overkill? The impatient can't be trusted to write two Rs in a row. Honestly.

posted by Mary Forrest at 10:21 PM | Back to Monoblog


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     Feb 18, 2003

Incubator

What lives in me. The horror of it. The delight. All the memories and the madness and the girlish glee and the laughter that came too loudly. I keep so much that others discard. I hold on to so much that others release. Sometimes, demons are formed. And they rise up and upset things and eventually melt away into ice cream. I was never able to hold a grudge. To my doom.

There are scars. Left by words so cruel, they cauterized as they cut. Left by knives of fancy and deceptively pretty thorns. I gave myself to them like any fool. I learned to expect the sting, but came to hope it would soften. I have had dreams where I was invisible. And afraid of getting caught.

But I have come to believe that the valley is lush and verdant and worth discovering. As are the mountaintops. I have no plan of escape. Where would I escape to? I will linger. I will diminish. I will swell into fury and fire. I am not resigned to extremes. Nor am I assigned to any one outcome. I don't believe in fate. I prefer the irresolute randomness of folly. I prefer to believe that I will stumble into what lies ahead. I am so prone to stumbling.

I am devising an incantation. But I am convinced it will never work.

But if of ships I now would sing, what ship would come to me
What ship would bear me ever back across so wide a sea?

posted by Mary Forrest at 1:23 AM | Back to Monoblog


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     Feb 16, 2003

Full Moon. Dirty Something.

I am ashamed of how much I overdid it last night. I know I planned to. But the aftermath was brutal. I had a good show and received copious kind words from exiting audience members, which is always selfishly thrilling to me. Then I headed out, avec empty stomach, to poison myself. Which I did. I was having a great time right up until the time when I wasn't anymore. It must have been that last yucky creamsicle shot, I tell myself. But there's also the fact of my being on the verge of singlehandedly causing a vodka shortage. This girl needs a break.

I was grateful for sleep today. Although certain aquariums make far too much noise for my liking, and I kept finding myself being still but in a state of great tension. What fish needs that much air? Now, I've got driving to do and work to catch up on. And self-flagellation to get to. I have been away from home for a long stretch, and I can feel it. I want to go back to that previous state, when I wasn't always wondering what was coming next. I'm tired of all the surprises.

My little sister's dog got into a scuffle with a hideous opossum tonight. She appears to be all right. I have just grown to be very protective of her since that Thanksgiving a couple of years back when I took her out running with me and she was attacked by two big dogs. I cried the whole way home as I carried her, getting blood and fur all over my clothes and wondering why police cars kept driving by me uninterested. A few weeks ago, I took her for a walk, and a big dog came running after her, and I chased it away and scooped her up in my arms to make sure she was okay. I was in an adrenalized frenzy and on the verge of a panic attack for a few ghastly moments. I despise the accuracy of sense memory where fear and grief are involved. How easily it all comes rushing back. I would rather be assaulted by the neurochemistry of a sigh of satisfaction or a swell of sentiment or the sort of surprising gratitude that can't be voiced in words.

Beulah likes to watch Autopsy. I have noticed recently that even the discussion of death has some sort of dramatic effect on me. I get this sense of tragedy and loss and I feel immediately sad. I can feel tears welling up in my eyes just thinking about it.

I left the refuge of a friend's couch this morning and walked -- slightly shamefaced -- into the sunlight and the hubbub of a farmer's market. A girl was carrying a loaf of french bread and a bag of fresh vegetables. I liked her for it.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 11:04 PM | Back to Monoblog


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     Feb 15, 2003

"I'm tired but I'm working, yeah."

This has been the longest week in the history of weeks. I have this slight rasp in my voice -- a foreign throatiness that got there from the enormous amount of gregariousness I've had to serve up. I've been ON for what seems forever. I'm ready to toggle down.

I wish I had kept better track along the way. I know I had a lot of observations to share and a lot of curiosities to write down and go "what's all this?" over. But time was passing faster than the cast of a canceled television show from which most of the stars are now dead. Ha ha. Who says I've lost it. That's gold, right there. Pure comedy gold. I was going to say faster than the cast of Diff'rent Strokes, but I think they are actually kicking off rather slowly, all things considered. Plus, I'm not feeling mean today. Just red in the eyes and a little slouchy.

I've been ordering Stoli Vanil with pineapple juice a lot lately. And everyone's been copying me. I hope my made-up drink will get a cool name. Preferably with my name in it. The Tropical Mary. Or the Spiny Forrest. Or maybe the Sore Tongue. I would weep with joy to be immortalized on a bar menu. Instead, my gravestone will likely read: "Mary Forrest, would-be trendsetter."

I received beautiful red tulips first thing yesterday morning and a kiss on the cheek. How lucky! I'm glad there are thoughtful people in the world.

But I think I am losing my fondness for coming home at six a.m. Especially when I have to be up at eight thirty. Notice how I write the times out longhand. Maybe this will catch on, too.

Romeo O Romeo, you've got to have your say.

posted by Mary Forrest at 1:33 PM | Back to Monoblog


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     Feb 9, 2003

A case for cloning

Today, I wish there could be two of me. That way, one could watch the Deep Space Nine Viewers' Choice Marathon on UPN. But, alas, there's only the one of me. And she won't be near a television. Rats.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 12:01 PM | Back to Monoblog


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     Feb 6, 2003

Quickening of the Pace

It has often felt as if I was being left behind. As if I was always running to catch up. To favorable plains those around me had already traversed. Accomplishments I thought I should have completed earlier. To a reputation I wanted to fulfill. I still feel as if I am running. But it's suddenly like the plain before me is widening. A great triangle and I am at the smallest point. And my running feels more like an effort to stay ahead than to get ahead. Everything I feared most has certainly come to pass. But it isn't as loathesome as I imagined. I think even the most awful things become tolerable. Eventually.

For the time being, I'm not catching myself asking, "What's the point of all this?" But rather, I struggle to get it all done and ask, "But how will I ever finish reading this book?" Busier than ever. Freer than ever. Tossed headlong into a freedom I didn't want. Loosed from bonds I had grown to love. They are cautious when they let baby animals who were raised in captivity out into the wild. Not all of them know how to get by. But some of them make it. And I suspect, in the language of their species, all the others of their kind whisper and gossip and admire the newcomers for having been places they've never been and having had experiences they can't share. To the wild ones, even captivity must seem an exotic change of pace.

That causes me to think of humans escaping their cubicles and vacationing at places like Club Med. But that's a tangent that diminishes the sentiment I intended.

posted by Mary Forrest at 1:34 PM | Back to Monoblog


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     Feb 3, 2003

Clumsy Analogs and the Discerning Audience

I catch myself objecting to stories with happy endings. I don't think I like happy endings. They make liars of us. And, in future generations, our children will be burned by our error. In this metaphor, cynicism is like melanin. And reality is a noonday sun.

There are so many things I need to make time for. I don't know where to begin.

I like my face today. Maybe I'll take it somewhere.

posted by Mary Forrest at 5:41 PM | Back to Monoblog


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At last, the cold.

Who knows how long it will linger. And I can't be sure if it isn't just my apartment, but it was chilly today. I'm pleased. I bought an orange sherbet-y colored scarf last week, and I'm itching to have it round my neck.

I spent some time looking for lost things today. No luck. How is it that what is most precious to you ends up among the bits and pieces scattered to the winds whose trace -- once faint -- is now absent even from memory. I almost wish I could forget the things altogether. Forgetting where they are is one thing. But remembering THAT they are only leads to the despair of longing and an endless dance of turning up everything else I never meant to find.

Do you know the way to San Jose? I don't, but I've got this handy mapping service...

posted by Mary Forrest at 5:38 PM | Back to Monoblog


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Romantic Trees

When Spring unfolds the beechen leaf, and sap is in the bough;
When light is on the wild-wood stream, and wind is on the brow;
When stride is long, and breath is deep, and keen the mountain-air,
Come back to me! Come back to me! and say my land is fair!

     When Spring is come to garth and field, and corn is in the blade;
     When blossom like a shining snow is on the orchard laid;
     When shower and Sun upon the Earth with fragrance fill the air,
     I'll linger here, and will not come, because my land is fair.

When Summer lies upon the world, and in a noon of gold,
Beneath the roof of sleeping leaves the dreams of trees unfold;
When woodland halls are green and cool, and wind is in the West,
Come back to me! Come back to me! and say my land is best!

     When Summer warms the hanging fruit and burns the berry brown
     When straw is gold, and ear is white, and harvest comes to town;
     When honey spills, and apple swells, though wind be in the West,
     I'll linger here beneath the Sun, because my land is best!

When Winter comes, the winter wild that hill and wood shall slay;
When trees shall fall and starless night devour the sunless day;
When wind is in the deadly East, then in the bitter rain
I'll look for thee, and call to thee; I'll come to thee again!

     When Winter comes, and singing ends; when darkness falls at last;
     When broken is the barren bough, and light and labour past;
     I'll look for thee, and wait for thee, until we meet again:
     Together we will take the road beneath the bitter rain!

Together we will take the road that leads into the West,
And far away will find a land where both our hearts may rest.


I was beginning to dread the songs on Tolkien's pages, but this one was just the right bit of sweet and ironic and familiar.


posted by Mary Forrest at 12:51 AM | Back to Monoblog


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     Feb 2, 2003

"I cross over borders, but I'm still there now."

A glimpse of what I took.

Reunions make for tired homecomings.
The pressure was on.
Control is nothing like welcoming.
Escape.
Endurance.
That song is perfect.
Pineapple is my favorite fruit.

I feel small inside. And locked out. When did overdoing it become my thing? There are songs that will always mean something to me. And yet, it surprises me how their meaning changes. It is one of many methods I use to keep track of my growth. A measuring stick and pencil strokes where I try to stand my tallest. A metaphor for change and the capacity for it. There are things that strike me -- ripple my pond. They are like self-contained bits of time and space and sentiment. I always pretend -- or assume -- that you cannot fall into these pockets alone. When you fall, someone is there with you. When a melody transports you, when a lyric brings you back, it is a shared experience. If you dreamed all of a sudden of something that once meant something to only you and me, that was a special tenet of quantum theory at work. Time and space are only there to keep your heart from exploding. They are meant to mete out experience and response and emotion. If the moments were not required to end, surely the pain of it or the joy of it would be too much to bear.

posted by Mary Forrest at 11:33 PM | Back to Monoblog


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