Monday, June 27, 2011

Help me Dexter're my only hope.

If you have not seen episode one of True Blood season 4, and you plan to, do not read this post!!!

In an earlier post, I admitted to being a big fan of all things vampire.  So it was with much excitement that I waited for the start of last night's season opener of HBO's True Blood.  Let's leave aside the fact that the writers chose not to follow the  perfectly good, and sufficiently full of HBO level sex and shock value, plot line that Charlaine Harris laid out in her Sookie Stackhouse series upon which the show is based.  We pretty much knew that was trashed after Lafayette got, well, not dead in the first season.  A very happy choice - love his character!  But last night's episode...seriously?  To quote "My Sassy Gay Friend" (whose videos you might want to check out on YouTube), "What, what, what are you doing?"

For those of you who have read the books, when Claudine showed up at the end of last season ostensibly to take Sookie away to Fairy Land, and she was decidedly NOT Claudine-like, I knew that something was truly amiss.  Why take a character whose curves would thwart a Ferrari and turn her into Earth Mother?  Last night, as D and I sat watching the first few scenes of Fairy Land, we turned to each other and said, simultaneously, "This is like that episode of Star Trek.."  Remember the one where all the aliens were young, beautiful, and totally naive?  There's one in the original and one in Next Generation - take your pick - that was Fairy Land.  Cheese city.  And then...they served everyone "light fruits."  Glowing orbs of honey colored light shaped like persimmons and served by beautiful fairies in GrecoRoman attire.  I am not making this up.  And of course, if you ate of the fruit, you would lose all track of time and could not leave Fairy Land.  Hadn't these people read the Odyssey?  The myth of Persephone?  The Bible?  Seen Percy Jackson?  Think once, think twice, think...don't eat the fruit.  Although, in Eden, A&E did gain knowledge, but that's a post for another day.

Then...the fairies turned evil and Sookie ended up somewhere in Joshua Tree and she had to jump into a deep abyss to get back to Kansas...I mean BonTemps...where...wait for entire year had passed.  This weak plot point/cop out served to allow the writers to fast forward through BonTemps time and completely change everyone's basic character.  Andy Bellefleur is addicted to V?  Sure.  Jason is the responsible cop?  AND he's responsible for all of the inbred inhabitants of Hot Shot, even though Crystal is nowhere to be found?  Um...ok.  Aunt Petunia Dursley (Fiona Shaw) plays a witch who brings her parakeet back to life only with the addition of Lafayette, who is apparently a powerful brujo, to her coven...wait...did I say Aunt Petunia?  From Harry Potter?  Yes, I did!  Bill is the King of Louisiana?  Yep!  His hair is cut differently, even though vampires' hair stays exactly the same as when they die according to this mythos.  Ok, I know that was a geek moment.  Eric owns Sookie's house because he was the only one who knew she wasn't dead...  I can't go on.  The sheer amount of cheese is overwhelming.  Oh!  I almost forgot!  Tara is a lesbian cage fighter named Toni!



There are only three television shows that I actually set aside time to watch regularly.  All three have short runs:  RuPaul's Drag Race, Dexter, and True Blood.  Psychoanalyze as you will.  Perhaps the universe is telling me I need to do something else on summer Sunday nights.  Sookie!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Shabby Chic Cuff Bracelet OR my very short attention span...

Ok.  First - time goes WAY too fast.  What, exactly, have I been doing for the past week?  Yikes.

Second - new upcycled idea:  cuff bracelets.  Here is one I love.
I came across a few petite small (PS)  button down shirts that had seen better days at a yard sale a few weeks ago, and I liked the fabric.  First thought:  flowers!  The pastel colors and design of the fabric would make more "shabby chic" flowers than I have made in the past, but I thought that would be pretty.  As I was deconstructing the shirts, I noticed the cuffs just laying there.  Perfect!  Bracelets.  So...what do you think?

I left the bodices intact and will make little girls' dresses from them embellished, of course, with contrasting flowers.  I am looking forward to getting started on those.  The sleeves were made into flowers.  

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Next time, paint a bluetick!

Yesterday afternoon, I went to my first Umbrella Market of the 2011 season.  I was mainly selling my upcycled fabric jewelry, but I also took a few paintings that are reaching their expiration date.  We only have so much room for painting storage here at Dragonfly Landing, and when canvases have been around for a year or more, I figure they're not going to be bought, and I paint over them.  Reduce, know the drill.  Painting has taught me objectivity.  This is a visual art.  The impact on the viewer is almost always immediate, whether it is negative, positive, or indifferent.  And the viewer will tell the artist exactly what he/she thinks.  Reactions like, "What the heck is that?" thicken the skin, and, happily, have helped me to become a better painter and a better writer.  I'll get back to that idea.

This painting
has been commented on over and over again.  If a viewer reacts to it, it is either to tilt his/her head to see if the painting is hung right side up, or it is an instant smile.  Light in the eyes.  Happiness just to see this painting.  That makes me happy.  And yet, the painting is once again hanging out in the lodge.  I have shown this at at least six different art shows, but it is still homeless.  It wins the prize for the painting that was almost sold. 

Last night at the Market, one woman said, "If only the dog's coat were a little darker.  Then it would look exactly like my dog."  Another asked, "So, you have a lab?  I have two.  They do this all the time."  Another, "Doesn't that look just like Jojo?  If you painted a bluetick like this, you'd have sold it."

Art in all of its varied forms is intensely personal.  While a painting or a poem may appeal to a wide audience, that audience may not "buy" it.  Perhaps the color is wrong.  Perhaps the words don't ring exactly true.  The artist has to step back and look at the piece without being personal.  I have to accept the fact that this painting of my beautiful Napoleon might be painted over.  The story of his life does not apply to hanging a painting on a wall.  A poem I write about people and places important to me might be deleted or left to molder in a pile of papers to later be thrown away.

Stephen King says that you must kill your darlings.  Be willing to eliminate that which you have created in your writing to make the story more compelling, more effective.  Good advice, I think, but I believe I'll hang on to this painting just a little longer. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Talk about Sentimental

Craigslist post:  One Sealy Ortho Rest baby mattress for sale.


Yesterday, I took down the crib that A and C slept in.  A very few screws and carriage bolts held together what was at once a simple, wooden bed and a complex symbol of hope, fear, love, and family. 

I remember setting up the crib for the first time.  The delivery man had brought it a few days earlier than expected; he hauled the huge box up into the house by himself.  D and I sat on the floor of the nursery, freshly painted a light sage green with murals of the myth of Aurora and scenes from Winnie the Pooh, trying to figure out the cryptic directions.  After figuring out how "A" went together with "X" and not swearing too much, we stood before an empty crib.  I imagine that we held hands, felt a swell of emotion and the swell of my belly, grinned at each other.  We wondered how to keep the cats out of it.  Secretly contemplated if there was any truth to the cat taking the baby's breath tale. 

Both of our children's sleeping bodies occupied that small space, quickly growing to fit and then outgrow it.  The crib has now been converted to a double bed where, again, the babies seem so small.  D is ready for t-ball and Pop Warner; I'm waxing nostalgic over the thought of never buying diapers again.  I imagine myself, after Cyrus is potty-trained, sniffling at Huggies coupons.  My goodness.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Poetry - no secret decoder ring required.

As I sit here at my kitchen table, looking out at the riot of greens that is my front yard and the deep brown creek just beyond, listening to my children breathing on the baby monitor, it occurs to me again that I am  one lucky woman.  I just finished my second, ten day long, MFA creative writing residency with Converse College.  While I was gone, my husband's parents and my mom took care of our kids while D was at work.  They ferried the children back and forth to school, fed them, clothed them, loved them.  D was a single dad at night, bathing, cleaning, readying, feeding, and again, loving.  All of this so I could fulfill one of my favorite dreams - becoming a writer.  I am so thankful.

Residency was a wonderful experience filled with great writers, lectures, readings, and sessions with friends on the covered porch of our dorm.  Dorms, by the way, ain't what they used to be:  an elevator for a three story building; a full kitchen with stove, microwave, full size refrigerator; one bathroom for only two people.  I am finding it a little difficult to process everything at the moment, so I will just mention one person today, and I'll elaborate on the others in later posts. 

Many people do not like poetry.  Their experiences with it in junior high and high school were enough to put them off from it for the rest of their lives.  I hear this from my students almost every semester.  Stories of feeling stupid, feeling like a failure, because they could not grasp the ONE concept that the teacher felt was conveyed in the poem.  Poetry was a secret language that required a decoder ring not just anyone could buy.  If this sounds like you or someone you know, I recommend that you check out the poetry of Suzanne Cleary.  This poet's reading had us in tears...from laughing so hard.  I won't give too many specific details, but the title of the first poem she read is "Sausage Candle."  Yep.

Poetry can be fun.  It can also be intense, quiet, informative, moving, long, short, about beautiful things, and about the ugliest things in the world.  Most importantly, it is about language; it is about words and how we use them to communicate with each other.  Through Converse, I am falling in love with poetry once again.