24 December 2008

'Twas the Night Before the Night Before

"Where's your spirit of adventure, hm?"
"It died a slow and painful death when those bats came out of the rafters."
~ Doctor Who: The Chase
I am absolutely stone cold mental. It is three a.m. and I am still awake, tap-tapping away on my laptop. Searching for any sign, any hint, that my Christmas wish will come true and BBC America will be playing the 2008 Doctor Who Christmas Special: The Next Doctor. Alas, I will be bereft until at least January, when the DVD comes out. And I thought myself quite clever to have just finished Season 4 on DVD. Sigh. I will go back to watching the old, old, OLD episodes until then. My friend Lauren and I had gotten through all that exists of the very first Dctor ~ William Hartnell. Now I shall fill the time by working through the rest of the 1970s version.

Did I mention I am a huge Doctor Who fan?

I was absolutely thrilled with Christopher Eccelston; adore David Tennant. But my hero is Russell Davies, the head writer. Now that is one person I would love to meet. His creativity has made DW more than just a campy sci-fi show ~ it is a series with substance, brilliantly conceived and executed. I am sorry to hear he is leaving the show, although I am sure whatever he writes next will be incredible.

One more cup of tea and then it is off to the Land of Nod with me!

Oremus pro invicem,

11 December 2008

When the Flesh Feels the Chain

Imagination is more important than knowledge.
~ Albert Einstein

believe in fairies…

Christina Croft recently wrote a post on Emily Bronte's poem, The Prisoner. It is a poem of haunting brilliance that speaks of Emily's anguish with having to deal with the outer world and her desire to remain untouched on her beloved moors.

dreadful is the check--intense the agony--
When the ear begins to hear, and the eye begins to see;
When the pulse begins to throb, the brain to think again;
The soul to feel the flesh, and the flesh to feel the chain.
"The soul to feel the flesh and the flesh to feel the chain." That line is a watchword spoken and understood only by those souls graced with artistic sensibilities. One of my housemates calls it "feeling too much" and views it as a curse and a vice. But I think one should be grateful for this sometimes indefinable gift. I would much rather feel too much than not at all. Someone once told me that he hears music and analyzes the notes making up the chord progressions. As a musician, I recognize the importance of technique and theory. But there is much more to music than just that! It fills one up, caresses the body and soul with velvet sound and carries one to another level of emotion and perception. In a word ~ you feel it. Otherwise, it is just notes on a page and any computer can replicate that.

* * * *
Do you remember Anne of Green Gables? I am sure my female readers do. Marilla often worried about Anne's emotional capacity. Her lows seemed lower than anyone else's and her cup of sorrow and darkness was almost bottomless. But that only meant that her highs and her capacity for love and joy and ecstasy was equally as bottomless. Life is never all comedy or tragedy; it is both, wrapped up in one glorious whole! And the more one can experience it, the more fully human one is.

This ability to experience life and its accompanying emotions to the nth degree, when coupled with a rich and living imagination and that inner artistic sight which is almost spiritual, does have a downside. And that is loneliness. Because one is never fully understood by those who see the world with pragmatic eyes. The Marillas of the world do not quite understand the Annes; they view the Emilys as quite morbid. All this high drama could be so easily avoided; why in the world would you waste precious energy on gushing over whatever it is that has now caught your fancy!? There are dishes to be washed; laundry to be ironed, the world to save, etc., etc., etc.

Well, I have news for Marilla. Such souls do save the world: they save it through beauty. Art and poetry. Drama and music. They save it simply by being alive. Because they are so alive!!
For a time, the condescending remarks of the Marillas pierce the artistic heart. But it learns quickly to lock the door to such barbs. Indeed, why waste precious energy trying to explain the unexplainable?! So the Emilys of this world travel alone in their inner sanctum; alone and yet...never truly alone. For the inner world is teeming with life that only they can experience. And if they are met by another soul with the same gift ~ then and only then does the key turn and the door thrown wide.
* * * *

So. Why mention fairies at the beginning? Because I grew up walking the woods behind our home, eyes straining at the slightest movement, utterly convinced of their existence. That flash of light that catches the eye? The reflection of sunlight on gossamer wings. The small, low opening in an ancient trunk? The gateway to another world. If only one could find the key to physically step through!

And I haven't lost that childhood belief. Somehow, I have managed to hold on to innocence, if not
naiveté. To hope in the midst of despair. To bathe in the streams of sunlight in a dark wood. But I dare not mention it other than here, under the cover of a crowded room. The Marillas would merely raise their eyebrows or worse yet, smirk condescendingly and murmur: Ahhh, Mikaela. You are something else.

Indeed. And I would not have it any other way.

Oremus pro invicem,

10 December 2008

Here and There; This and That

Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.
~ Douglas Adams
Alas, I promised you a post on Married vs. Single this weekend. Between recovering from a nasty early winter cold and preparing music for a gig and High Mass at St. John the Beloved, I had not one brain cell left to rub against another. Add to that, my previous post engendered some discussion at the dining room table, so I am back to thinking and writing about it some more before I post.
In the meantime, I caught up on my reading of some of my favorite blogs and Christina Croft has inspired some thoughts which I will share later.

Put the kettle on and light a fire, there's a dear. I shan't be long!

Oremus pro invicem,
~ Mikaela

04 December 2008

The Odd Couple, in a Manner of Speaking

Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others.
If you have that awareness, you have good manners,
no matter which fork you use.
~ Emily Post

his past Tuesday evening, I got together with a few close girlfriends ~ over tea and Trader Joe’s chocolates, of course. The talk turned to friends and acquaintances married in the past year. One of the ladies present mentioned an odd phenomenon she has encountered: the reluctance of some married people to converse with single people. Time and again her experience has been to try to engage married people she knows in conversation, asking them questions about the children, extended family, etc. And time and again she has been given the cold shoulder; people have avoided looking her in the eye; have ended the conversation as quickly as possible and showed no interest in asking after her life, etc. Note that this has occurred with both colleagues at work and with friends ~ not strangers on a train.

She made an excuse for them half-heartedly: “I guess once you’re married, you have nothing in common with your single friends anymore and there’s nothing to talk about. Or perhaps they feel slightly jealous that I am able to do things with more freedom then they are.”

Two guesses as to what my reaction was. Oh yes, my dears ~ that Southern belle dander “got up” and went to town! My first question to her was as to the location of her colleagues’ and friends’ place of “raising.” Under a rock? Perhaps in an Amazonian jungle, I politely inquired. It certainly seems perplexing to me, to put it mildly, that in our so-called Information Age, one can encounter those strange creatures called the Impolite, or colloquially: The Rude.

In our house growing up we did such crazy things as write thank you notes within a week of receiving a gift or help. We called adults Mister or Missus and their last name, never by their first name. And when we were spoken to, or asked questions, we were taught, that no matter the station, status, education, or tax bracket, you answered politely, looked the conversationalist in the eye and returned the favor by inquiring after them and their families, etc. It really is not rocket science, people!

Perhaps there are slues of married people will rise up and say that their single friends do not talk on the phone for very long anymore or who are constantly scanning the room while talking to them at a party, etc. Well, of course, there are no boundaries or restrictions on Rudeness and who may engage in such atrocious behaviour. I make no apologies for The Rude, whomever they may be. However, I am single and at this point in time, that is one of the lenses through which I observe the world and all its oddities. And I have never had a problem engaging a conversation with anyone who ~ GASP! ~ did not think like me. Or ~ THE HORROR! ~ I did not have anything remotely in common with. Or who ~ NO! ~ was not JUST LIKE ME!

To which you may reply, if you have nothing in common, why talk? Look, even if you are bored, charity demands, at the very least, that you refrain from yawning, or looking around the room, or asking what time it is. There are more polite ways of ending the conversation. But if you are bored, there is one thing I know about you: YOU are boring. So the person is different from you. That is exciting, not boring! Only a clod socializes exclusively with people who think exactly like they do. God forbid you learn something or get a new perspective on an issue or have your eyes opened to beauty you had not seen before! How will you ever grow as a person unless you stretch your mind and your heart a little and talk to ~ ACK! ~ people!? And did it ever occur to you, O Rude One, that someone else out there might ~ O! The thought makes my heart flutter! ~ just might learn something from you?

Which brings me back to the, if you will, particular shade of Rude: Married vs. Single. But this post has become quite long already, so I shall pick this up again tomorrow and leave off for now on my diatribe on Rudeness (I really do like that word ~ reminds me of the Ood. And if you do not know who they are, then we obviously have nothing in common and I cannot bear to speak with you anymore).

Oremus pro invicem,
~ Mikaela