Friday, April 20, 2012

forget-me-not blue

Of films, words, weather and sweet memories..

Today the sky stretches above me, the kind of clean, clear blue that makes you glad you’re alive, makes you feel like waltzing. I remember this very same blue in a of pair eyes on a beach long ago. On a summer day he stood with his back to the water, I gazed in his eyes and –surreally – it was as though they were but two tiny portholes to the blue bay beyond for both were the exact same color, the color of forget-me-nots. I spent a good part of that summer naked as a mermaid, skinny dipping in the frigid water of the bay, a heathen toasting my body on a giant slab of stone perched a few feet above the high tide mark, slipping naked into the water to cool off, painting little watercolor pictures, singing from my rock to voices that came across the ocean all the way from Africa. And looking into those blue eyes. (I believe that devil Reefer was somewhere about as well.) I was Love. It’s one of the sweet, sweet memories, the kind that let you know you’ve lived well, or at least had your moments.

This week it really hit me that this is how they keep you in this godforsaken state – the weatherman predicts rain, rain, rain for days on end, and you mentally prepare for gloom, but no rain arrives, not a cloud in fact, instead what follows are endless blue skies and a warm breeze that lifts the jonquils from their winter graves to bloom with abandon over greening lawns. And you think, Wow, isn’t this a great place? That rain just went right on by. (sucker)

That was last week. Yesterday they predicted rain today, there isn’t a cloud in the sky, again the forget-me-not blue overhead, and I’ll lay you odds the “rain all the way into next week” won’t materialize either. Springtime in Maine is a clever trick, the weathermen all liars. Oddly enough, in winter their forecasts are amazingly accurate, for lives are at stake, broadcasts then are full of advice how to stock up, timed predictions as to the storm’s ETA, reminders to fill water buckets (for flushing), get your wood in, snow shovel ready. And this is the best part – During every snowstorm, the tv weather people all wear cheery wool Christmassy sweaters (think Colin Firth in Bridget Jones) to work, in celebration of the snowy weather outside. It’s really cute.

Words, words, words (I think it was Sartre who titled an autobiography Les Mots, which of course everyone mistranslates as THE Words. But the French almost NEVER use a noun without an accompanying article to indicate gender, so I think Sartre, a bit tongue in cheek, actually meant this to translate (if he cared at all) as simply WORDS, as if that’s all they were, just words. See? An effort at either self-effacement (doubtful) or a bit of cheekiness toward those who might read such unimportant drivel (compared to his other works).

Anyway, words flow in and out of my brain in a constant river of cleverly assembled notions and phrases . . . until I write them down, then read them the next day and cry “How could you ever think that was anything but crap?!” and do it all over. I wonder if writers I admire do this too, and imagine them just whizzing brilliantly along without thought of an edit, none needed. I’m a third of the way through what I hope is my final rewrite before I send this baby out to some unsuspecting agents/ publishers and move on to the sequel, or some stories. I’ve thought about two other novels unrelated to this one as well, but who knows? Have to forget there’s so little time left in life and see the future as infinite. The fact is I can’t seem to stop, though not a day goes by that the ex- Catholic school- demurring- modest girl in me doesn’t argue with the better angels of the woman I am. But the angels win, they slam those self-doubts up against a wall, insisting, What do you mean you can’t?! You ARE! I am also getting fat from lack of exercise. So when my contract ship comes in I shall make a beeline for that tennis camp for grownups in FLA and let them whip me back into shape.

I am in love with words, they’re all I think about, well, almost all. I watched the film Out of Africa last night and wept like a child. It seems unfair that the older one gets the more heartstricken one can be by a well told story of a beautiful romance. I noticed things in the film, all having to do with beauty and deep feeling, I never saw fifteen years ago. I guess it takes the heart time to catch up to itself, after accumulating a lifetime of feelings and disappointed (Joni’s word) love, to feel safe enough to admit how intensely one has loved, to appreciate the lovely memories that intensify with time, no longer even bittersweet, just sweet.

While it’s true I’ve not been wild about Ms. Streep’s most recent role choices, my God she is beautiful beyond belief in this film, such tenderness in her face, the music likes to break your heart, and you know it’s sappy, but your heart breaks anyway. And Redford, well.. be still my heart, all you can hope is that you’ll never actually meet the man in person as your legs would surely betray you, collapsing there on the spot as you mumble some feeble “pleased to meet you”. Hard to believe when I was in my twenties I dismissed him as just a pretty face. The arrogance (ignorance?) of youth perhaps. Makes me wonder yet again what I saw in the men I loved then. I do remember that starting around the age of 25, I saw men differently after witnessing the glorious sensual vulnerability that was Giancarlo Giannini in his prime.

Now the night before was a different pleasure altogether. A more contemporary film, London Boulevard is beautiful, tough, clever, genuine dialogue, beautifully directed, a soundtrack that hit me where I live, and proof positive that among the latest crop of drop dead gorgeous, not to mention brimming with talent, male leads, there are a few (and Colin Farrell tops my list) who can still leave this old heart still as death and breathless with desire, I mean – there oughta be a law, you know? I thank God there isn’t.

I had a lovely thought this morning as I sat sunning on the stoop here at the tindominium in the woods (cat sitting for two days). And by the way, let me say that it’s fantasies like this that keep me going in the face of no planned future to speak of and challenging finances. Here it is: When the London publisher who is (or will be in this scenario) wild for my novel wants me to fly over and sign the necessary documents, I shall insist they fly me first class, both ways. I‘ll simply state I need that experience in order to be able to write a character I’m toying with who wouldn’t dream of flying any other way. In short, (sir or madam), I need to experience how the haves do it so I can write with authority. I had to then consider, was this a fantasy or a premonition? See? We do what we have to do to get by. Back to the river today.

Ciao, Bellas e bellos.

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