Saturday, July 12, 2014

IT LURKS! [the depressive's lament]

it's that time of year. only not the same as it used to be.after 3 months with no work, tuesday begin summer classes.  usually this time of year, i feel a twinge, but mostly ready to pick up the routine again.  this time, having accomplished nothing in  my free months and having been invaded by the giant depression for so  long, i have merely dread--and pity-- for my poor students.  all i want is to curl up under the covers of my bed and stay there. get up to eat, pee, read a little, and cry.then i'm free from misery and fear, my identical twin shadows.   maybe it will work out better than i thought. i've had a few respites, after all.  maybe teaching again [with incomplete notes; some have vanished] but still, i know most of this stuff.

i really hoped i'd have something light, interesting, fun, illuminating to write here, but nothing emerges.  depression defines the keyboard. normally when i have nothing to say that isn't  dipped in misery, i don't write. but it's been so long since i've used my blog, i fear i'm letting it bleed to death and no one  will ever get back if they think i'm not writing.

so hold on, fair readers; maybe things will turn around soon and i'll have something worth saying.  meanwhile, remember my new little prayer:
now i lay me down to sleep;
i pray the lord my soul to keep,
and if i die before  i wake...

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Annie, Auggie, and Little Nell

 In 1841, new yorkers stormed the wharfs of the city, desperate for information.  and the cry was heard 'round the world:  'Is Little Nell Alive?'  

Little Nell, for you of the 21st century who may not know, was the child heroine of charles  dickens' The Old Curiosity Shop, and the sailors who were carrying the newspaper with the last installment from london to new york called back that  nell had succumbed to whatever ailment she had, leaving brits and americans alike in tears [and providing material for the magnificently cynical oscar wilde].

i think of this now because a week from today, a year after the show's season premier last summer, thousands of us will crowd the metaphorical wharfs of tv land, crying with equal passion, 'Are Annie and Auggie still  together?' Annie and Auggie are the hero and second tier star of USA TV's Covert Affairs,' the summer spy show full of gorgeous people who work for the virtuous CIA [you think the CIA isnt virtuous? you think they hire homely spies?].  We, like little nell's adorers way back when, are probably doomed to disappointment.  but that doesn't stop us.  I know because i'm on a fan page for the show.  the nonexistence of auggie and annie, like that of little nell, is irrelevant.  they must be together, or something vital will go out of our lives.

this didn't happen in the early days of western literature.  everyone went to the plays knowing the end: no one cried in desperation, "did they get that damned horse in there?'  but somewhere along the lines of fiction's history, someone came up with the idea of telling stories whose endings no one knew, and anindustry flourished.  the glamour of fictional characters was interwoven with the uncertainty of real life, however artistic or banal the tale might be.   i have no doubt that tonight, thousands of people will move reluctantly from their computers to their tv's to find out if Doc Hank has found love or peace in the past year, of if his charming and manipulative brother has saved his marriage.  and will their beautiful associate find love with the homely, personality challenged doc who took in her and  her unborn child?  I'm fascinated by the ways we all identify with nonexistent people while a planet full of real people remain to us boring and abstract.

i had a lot to say about this, and i'm sure it's profound.  or maybe it isn't. maybe i just wanted to compare my passion for annie and auggie with that of dido for aeneus or hamlet for himself.  in any case, i don't have enough time, because it's almost 9 o'clock, and while they're not annie and auggie, i still want to know what's gone on with doc hank and the crowd while they've been gone all year....and after that comes the season start of the woes of the psychotic psychologist in "Perception." i have always enjoyed his chats with joan of arc....

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day

If we are to remember America's dead soldiers, have we a right to ignore the rest of the world's soldiers?  brave, noble, cowardly, heroic; patriotic, pragmatic, cynical;  those who died killing others and those who died saving others?   the  spouses, lovers, children, parents, siblings who lost loved ones to the obscenity of war?  the good and bad die  together, and we lose them all.  i am sad for each american lost to war, but i choose to mourn equally for all war's victims, for those who are dying now as we celebrate the already dead. battles  may be won; no on ever wins war.  good journey to you all.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Invisible Me

once again, i need to apologize for my absence here. same reason--different illness. while the depression continues, it's overshadowed by another old friend--the worst asthma i've had in decades.  no energy to do anything, and orders from dr not to try.  threats of ER looming, backed up by threats of hospitalization--this while loaded with prednisone.  getting incrementally better each day, but very small increments. ideas zooming in my head for blog things i want to do [like challenge ' bucket list'] but no energy to do them.  will return......

Thursday, April 10, 2014


Been very dry in the past few months; nothing seems to want to be said.  but i did manage this brief poem, working with travel writing students:

From her temple
in the ruins of Nimes
blesses tourists and passersby.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

What Powderfinger Said . . . Observations on Life in the Dying Empire: My Wise Friend

posting a blog of a blog-friend's post of his freind's post.

What Powderfinger Said . . . Observations on Life in the Dying Empire: My Wise Friend: I think he's about ten times smarter than I, at least. He goes by the monicker "Montag" and he's been blogging here for a...

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Bad Traveler Goes to Israel

Two weeks ago was my travel break from the castle, and off i flew to meet sylvia, the best friend of my childhood with whom i've kept sporadic touch over the years.  and now we're a pair of old ladies.  The trip started off horribly, when [first] i fell down on the way to what my information said was my my flight spot when i changed planes.  okay that was my own fault.  but thru a nasty set of circumstances not of my making, i missed not one but two flights, and though it wasn't my fault it cost me 700 euroes. and spent an entire night wandering around the airport at turkish airways alternately blubbery and blustery.   two bits of advice from that.  dont save money by switching planes when direct flights are available. you may, like me, lose money instead, and even if  you do save the money, the aggravation mightn't be worth it. and 2, don't for god's sake do it if the middle airport is turkish airways!

the worst part of that experience, however, is what it did to my depression. as old readers know, i've spent over 3 years in a varying depression which since october has been extremely mild, thanks to a combo of meds.  but it's always felt like skin beginning to scar, weak and vulnerable.  that whole airline business broke the fragile scar and i was pretty much of a mess thru the week.  but i managed to have fun with sylvia, whose patience is saintly.  how lovely to see her again! she lives in tel aviv now, and the weather was what she called awful, i called delightful.

that tuesday, she was working for  an hour with some arab school kids where she does weekly volunteer work. i asked if i could tag along and watch; the organizer asked if, with 3 volunteers out, i could fill in for one of them.  so, with no idea of what i would be doing [sylvia tried to explain but that got me further  confused, and my mind was in bad shape after the trip incidents] but i ended up as she said i would figuring it out by following what she was doing, and worked with a little girl named monica--adorable but very restless; thank god i teach college kids!

thru the week we ate and sat in coffee shops and parks a lot, and i of course had to nap a lot, but there wasnt much i awfully cared about seeing except sylvia and the sunset  over the  Mediterranean in tel aviv.  then we spent a couple of days in jerusalem, where sylvia lived until recently and where her friend sue still lives. i knew sue also; she had lived around the block from me and sylvia when we were kids, but in their mutual lives in isreal they had seen a   lot of each other and grown much closer. most of our time together was fun. then we went into the Old City, about which i knew nothing, but which sounded great. and i'm sure it is. but a disaster for my addled brain, all b/c of a misunderstood wise crack. they asked if i wanted to go to the catholic cathedral, and i thought they were joking, since i've long been a very ex catholic. i've seen some splendid cathedrals over the years, but the idea of spending limited time in jerusalem at a cathedral seemed silly to me, so i chuckled at their joke and followed along with them.  in fact, they were being kind to a christian, even ex christian, friend. which would have been okay but i'm frightened of walking since i fall pretty often and i'm very claustrophobic.  we began walking through what i assumed would be a small, bazaar-like area....and walked, and walked, and walked, on lovely slippery steps through a beautiful and endless maze, me afraid to say anything because i needed to hold in what breath i had.  luckily a part of my mind stood aside, first of all because it kept me from screaming, running, or crying; second because i was able to make a mental record out of what was a onetime experience.  except for the narrowness of the street, leading thru to other narrow streets from whence, i gathered, crawled yet further narrow streets, it looked like mideast bizarres look on US spy shows.  the goods sold were beautiful, like walls of multicolored silks reaching almost to the sky [the 'almost' saved me; i could see sky and remind myself that there was an end to the labyrinth, even if no way to reach it].  i was pretty close to sobbing at this point, and finally told my friends what was going on, and  just as they began to put their energy toward finding the quickest way out, a friend ran into sue. he was a gorgeously garbed ethiopian. he asked us to sit with him; sue looked pleadingly at me and i pulled up a smile, and found a tranquilizer in my wallet.  all around us walked people of different mideast populations, seemingly perfectly comfortable with each other. i was taken by the sight of 2 women passing in different directions: one was a catholic nun in the sort of medieval-based habit of years back, the other a muslim with full body and face covering. the similarity of the outfits was startling.
i tried to focus my mind in the part that saw the beauty of the place, and realized i was glad  i was seeing it; also that i would be a wreck the rest of the day. eventually they got me out of the maze, and the sheer sight of open air was magnificent. [it isn't hard to find magnificence in Jerusalem, built on the famed pale beige Jerusalem stone].  soon we were eating at an airy restaurant and laughing. sleeping that night was hard; the claustrophobia and weakness had gotten thru to my bones; luckily there was a lot of light and air through the windows.  back to tel aviv the next day, and sylvia and i had a leisurely dinner on the beach.  bathers filled the area; the weather was warm enough for brave swimmers, and the Mediterranean, even with a disappointing piss-yellow sunset, was impressive.

the return of the breakdown has lasted since my return, though today has been a bit better.  that's unfortunate, and may mean a new medication when i get back to boston mid april.  but worth it, definitely.  i wish i could describe the feeling of re-knowing sylvia, exploring each other's thinking, never really enough time and much of  it marred by my feeling of dependency on her to get me anywhere, with my fear of everything [part of the whole depression].  two  little girl, knowing ech other as teenagers and 20-somethings; years of sporadic communication--even getting together briefly on two of her short trips to the US. and now 2 old women, facing age very differently, having lived very different lives, but the 2 kids still there.  i'd love t go back and see her again--on a nonstop trip!--when i'm less dominated by depression.  but what i got, i got, and despite the  fight with my mind, well worth what it cost to get it.