|Odilon Redon, The Birth of Venus, 1912|
It's a gray morning in Los Angeles, and I'm lying in bed, nursing a cold and reading. Sophie is in her bedroom, humming and messing around with her things, the boys are out with The Husband getting haircuts and breakfast -- please, take them out! I pleaded earlier, before you go to work or they'll drive me crazy! If it weren't for the nagging guilt I perpetually feel to do something with Sophie, I'd feel perfect. The issue of The New Yorker that I'm reading is the kind that you can literally read from cover to cover without skimming the boring things. I enjoyed Adam Gopnik's comments about the Petraeus scandal, admittedly because they confirm my own iconoclastic feelings (who gives a damn about who is sleeping with whom, even if they are spies?) and I loved the short article about actor Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad and now Argo fame. Some of you might remember my obsession with the first four seasons of Breaking Bad, which I watched in bed, alone with my Kindle Fire, while my husband's business detonated, leaking into our personal life. I got it -- the breaking bad part -- and am thankful that watching the show was a substitute for any over-the-top actions on my part. I read a horrifying article about a Korean American woman who allegedly damaged a baby in her care and was sent to prison. The article was written by her grown son, and I don't know if it was well written or just seductively ambiguous. That article was followed by a very long one about The Grateful Dead, and while I did skim part of it, I was plunged in memory to my college days when I hung out with a group of boys attached to my boyfriend who carted around suitcases full of bootleg Dead tapes, tapes that they'd listen to while smoking pot out of bongs while watching Tar Heel basketball with the sound off. I didn't smoke much pot and really only enjoyed the more commercial Dead songs -- Ripple, Brown-Eyed Women, Scarlet Begonias, Box of Rain, etc., but I did enjoy those boys and their shenanigans. Those memories segued into the ones of my evangelical friends in college, a group of girls who went to Bible studies and had personal relationships with Jesus, even praying to him for good grades on history exams or resolutions to relationship problems with boys. I loved these girls, most are still my friends, thirty years later, and I gamely went to a few of their meetings. I even went to hear the Reverend Billy Graham speak in a stadium and was a tiny bit caught up in the fervor of giving one's life to Christ, but in the end, love and lust won out and I always felt like an outsider with very inchoate beliefs. The article about the controversial evangelist Rob Bell who preaches in a church with ten thousand worshipers was well-written but left me shaking my head, again, at human intention and need. People whose beliefs are that strong and unwavering about anything make me feel intensely lonely. I'm moving on to the fiction, movie and book review that are next. I hope ya'll are having a good end of Thanksgiving week day.