I am playing hookey. I should be working on the outline for my book. But Mulan was home from pre-school, sick, today. Wow, I just realized that I only write in my blogs when either Mulan or I are sick. In fact, we aren't sick that much. In fact, this is the first time Mulan has missed school because of it. I feel weird talking about school when it comes to a four year old. It's more like day care with an educational element to it. In any case, I don't know how full-time moms do it. I can't get anything done when Mulan is around. It's a miracle if I get to read e-mail and keep the house from turning into a dump. I have no idea how someone takes care of more than one kid and does things like... oh, make dinner. OHMYGOD. I am so glad I became a mother because I think I would feel uppity about at-home mothers. Now I know it's the hardest job in the world.
Even though we had fun today. It rained all day, hard. I had a fire in the fireplace and we set up a little table and chairs in the living room and played "Chutes and Ladders" and "Candy Land." About a jillion times. Which of course means three times. The top of the Chutes and Ladders game says, "The most fun up-and-down game in the world!" I wondered how many jokes are made at the Milton Bradley factory about that claim. Then we played "Old Maid." I have taught Mulan that if you end up with the Old Maid, it means you're the winner.
I wonder if she'll be in therapy talking about me and remember this. I suppose I deserve it, I spent hours on the couch talking about my own mother. It's pretty dramatic, how much forgiveness you have for your mother after you become a mother. Sometimes I think about how I teased some specific line, some awful thing my mother said once, and then spent time in therapy talking about it. Now I know that when you're a mom, every day, there are probably several lines that someone could pull out and justifiably spending time in therapy over. As a parent, you know that it's impossible to not say something stupid, you just try to keep your percentages as low as possible. Three dumb things to 75 appropriate things. Like that.
For example, whenever Mulan holds my hand as we walk down the street, or really anywhere, she swings my arm and skips wildly. This might sound cute. And it was cute, for maybe the first fifty five times it happened. Now it drives me crazy. This thirty pound kid using my arm as a balancing bar.
I imagine Mulan on a therapist's couch in the future, describing what kind of mother I was. Using the example of me on a busy street, holding her hand, angry, seething and barking, "STOP SKIPPING. I MEAN IT! STOP SKIPPING THIS INSTANT!"
And she will have reported it all accurately.
How much TV is wrong? When is it wrong? I try to keep it to an hour and a half a day. I know! That's a lot! One half an hour show in the morning while I make breakfast and one hour at night while I do, y'know, everything that has to be done to just keep up with the daily demands. We TIVO "Oswald" and "Dora The Explorer" and "Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat" and "Blues Clues." I think the new Blues Clues guy is cuter than the old Blues Clues guy. But I think the old Blues Clues guy is sexier. Go figure. Weirder still: I had an erotic dream about the new Blues Clues guy. And I woke up astonished. Why not the old Blues Clues guy who I actually think is sexy? And another question: Why am I having these types of dreams about the Blues Clues guy?
How can anyone think pornography is inherently bad when we involuntarily write, direct and star in it for ourselves while we sleep?
Back to children's TV. I never knew I'd have opinions about this stuff. We are thankfully beyond Telitubbies. That show was so hypnotising, I found myself watching it after Mulan went to sleep -- just mesmerized. It reminded me of college when we would all go get stoned and then go see the midnight show of "Eraserhead" . So far I have only watched Telitubbies after two glasses of wine. I do think Tinky Winky is gay. Which, of course, I love.
Okay. So... I finished Jamy Ian Swiss' book, "Shattering Illusions." The last chapter made me cry, it was so good. It's all about mystery and the nature of mystery. It's about so much more than magic. It's inspiring me to think differently about the end of my monologue in progess -- which is all about me losing my faith. Here is a paragraph from it that I love: "Magic tells us that life is filled with mysteries, both grand and trivial. There is little doubt that we cannot face every mystery in the same fashion. There will always be some mysteries we wish to solve, and some we don't; some we are driven to solve, and do. I believe that how we face these mysteries says a great deal about us as individuals, and how we make our way in the world." And then later he says, "When you put the truly impossible in front of someone, and you place them firmly and uncompromisingly into that experience -- not the puzzling or the briefly distracting, but the deeply impossible, the impenetrably mysterious -- people react. Things happen. And it can be very interesting to be a part of it when they do." Wow. That's how I feel about experiencing close up magic. And it's how I feel about experiencing art.
And I love this: "For myself, I like that look in someone's eye when he has run smack into the experience of mystery, and there is no escape, no longer any way out but to face the fact that mystery is now right in front of him, as well as all around him."
"I am less interested than ever today in being a light amusement or a pleasant distraction. Leave that to others. I have within my reach -- not readily or easily, but with great effort, at least potentially -- the power to create a unique experience."
"I shall not merely amuse. I shall not merely distract. I shall bring upon them the experience of mystery, and with this commonality between us now, we will go forward and explore our humanity."
This is what I am aspiring to in my next work. It's such a tall order, one that I may not be capable of. But I can try.
The second to the last chapter, "The Elements Of Style" is a great chapter about persona on stage. If there's anyone who wanted to read something about the process of what I do, as a monologist, this would be the thing for them to read.
It's too quiet in the house. I better see what my daughter is up to.
Ohmygod, she is asleep on the sofa. She really is sick. Her fever is gone, but she's wiped out. Wow. It's raining, my beautiful daughter is sleeping in the living room under her favorite blankets, I am drinking cocoa in the kitchen and listening to NPR. I think this is a good moment. Life should have a lot of moments like this one.
I think it's gonna be Kerry/Edwards ticket. Very exciting.