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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Juliet goes to Barnard College: Class of 2019

Naturally I was choked up saying goodbye to my dear daughter, but how could anyone not be uplifted by so much sheer joy and excitement as she had for finally starting her first year at Barnard College of Columbia!

Go Class of 2019!

Rock on!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Harmony Parking Lot. Brattleboro, Vermont.

Brattleboro, Vermont.

A town where the word "freak" no longer exists.

(Cue music:  Radiohead.  Weird Fishes.)

A truly Neptunian depot.

There is a central parking lot, named "Harmony Lot," where everything, since 1968, when my parents moved there, always feels as if it's happening in a dream. 
I get out of my Boston car rental and hear random notes of music floating around me. I am jet lagged. 
As far as I can see from this block-sized parking lot, there are only coffee shops and art galleries. And suggestions of music.
And I say to my kid "Why do I keep hearing odd music?" She says "Because, there's wind chimes." I look up. Indeed, there are wind chimes. Huge ones. 
Duct taped way up in a tree in the middle of the parking lot someone has duct-taped a set of enormous low-toned wind chimes. Of course. 
Then an apparent hippie with a black turban wrapped around his head bikes by, shirtless on a rusty bike with great abs. 
He is carrying a power drill. No, he's not a hippie. He's Sikh. 
This is Brattleboro. 
I walk to the corner of the parking lot (I haven't gone 20 feet yet.) and step over the granite curb and look up to see a young man holding a ciggarette with a wobbly gait lurch toward me, but in a friendly sort-of way. In his left hand a cigarette, in his right a tiny tortoiseshell cat with a big dog leash wrapped around it's neck twice binding it to the man's left arm. 
I say "You have a kitten. On a leash." 
He corrects me. "No it's not a kitten. It's a service Tea Cup cat. It warns me about my seizures. I get them." 
"Oh," I say. Because, what else do you say? 
I look down. 
He has a 10 inch knife strapped to his belt in a leather sheath. 
"Oh." I say, again. Because what else does one say? 
"Yes," he cheerfully went on, "It's a tea cup service cat and this is as big as it gets."
He waves a tiny, bored, miserable kitten-sized cat at me in a circular motion, as if to demonstrate the cat will be his no matter "what," "what" meaning being tossed about wildly for no good reason.
The Service, blind, Tea Cup cat is strapped to his arm by leash clearly intended for a different breed of mammal. 
The cat bobs at the end of his arm like an elderly person strapped into a ride perpetually turned full blast at the Orange County Fair. 
I notice the service "cat" is winking blandly at me. A lot. 
He continues. 
"Yes, you see most tea cup cats are born no bigger than a matchbox, but this one is as big as it will ever get. Because they are so small very few survive. This one survived but is blind in one eye." 
We stare at the tiny cat. One eye indeed, quite welded shut.
"it'll have lung cancer, too." I think, but keep it to myself. 
Juliet is staring at this exchange with wordless wonder. 
I go on. "Well, thank you very much for sharing this with me. I never had any idea this... kind of thing...exists." 
He cheerfully bid me farewell, sucked on his cigarette and lurched on. 
"Another person enlighted," I could hear him think. 
We went on our way, too. As if this kind of exchange happens every day. As if in a dream. 
Harmony parking lot.

Eternally Neptunian.

I can't not stay.  My blood is here.   It is parked here.  In Harmony Lot.

Changed, yet unchanged.

The same, yet different.

But the forever the same.

Time is relative.

Monday, July 6, 2015

"The End Of The Tour," If you see nothing else all summer, see this one.

Just saw a screening of The End Of The Tour, a bio pic about writer, author/journalist David Lipsky, interviewing uber literary star, David Foster Wallace, during his 5 day book tour.  
The film stars Jason Segel and Jesse Eisenberg and is superbly written by playwright, Donald Margulies.  Not to mention it's also expertly directed by James Ponsoldt, who gets out of the way to allow the story to unfold as it does. This is the kind of film that transcends all the trappings of similar bio pics, or road-trip movies, to become something seamlessly much larger one ever suspects it will be.

I'm pretty sure Jason Segal will earn an Oscar nomination, even possibly one for both leading men. Not to mention one for best screenplay. End Of The Tour, is at it's heart, a gift to watch. It will stay with you, hopefully for a long, long time. You don't need to be a well-read pop-culture freak or literary aficionado to be touched by this film. You just need to care about keeping your heart open and not being seduced by the trappings of success. 

It's released 7/31/15. I am taking both my daughters to see it right away. I want them to each experience the message of End Of The Tour down in their bones and never forget why being a good person isn't about anything so mundane as avoiding being selfish or working hard to succeed: Being a decent person is simply what one does because not to is a life wasted. It's not a complicated message, but sometimes our society makes it so.
If you see nothing else this summer, make a point to see this one.

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