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Saturday, January 14, 2012

From the Left

On Writing...
The Funky Chelsea
I was very friendly at one time with a couple who lived at the Chelsea Hotel in New York City. He was a writer of sorts producing scripts and speeches for a variety of corporate clients for live and video taped events. He had a then to me, curious habit of walking every morning to a favorite expresso bar ( this was pre-Starbucks) and spending several hours writing and sipping several cuppas. I didn't understand this behavior at all, but I was not at the time, doing much writing myself. I hired writers when I needed one. 

Now I am writing; daily and for several hours whenever possible and I have a greater understanding of both the process and practice. For example, right now I'm sitting in the cafeteria in the massive hospital complex that is St. Barnabus in Livingston, New Jersey. My mother is resting in recovery having gone through a serious and discomforting procedure. She's fine for the moment. I am relieved. 

But here I sit, surrounded by a sea of chattering humanity many of whom are health care professionals. You can pick them out by their white labs coats or sea foam green scrubs. It's lunchtime. No one person captures my interest for very long. We take no particular notice of one another. Conversations around me are peppered with words like social workers, track meet, my desk, ultrasound, social media and Aruba. They are bits of conversations you might hear in any large nice American cafeteria but for the sea of green and white which helps distinguish the nature of this place -- that and the number of hip pockets with stethoscopes.

There is, I have discovered over time, a kind of comfort I experience when writing in a room like this, a room filled with others going about their lives. While my rich inner monologue continues at full speed ahead and my writing continues unabated, the focus required to do this, in spite of the fuss around me, keeps me company.  I think I understand why my friend did his writing in an expresso bar. Writing is a solitary experience but has the advantage of being more transportable than other artistic habits. 

Sam I Am  -- Not.
I am reminded of a Dr. Seuss book, Green Eggs and Ham. Sam I Am eventually discovers he can eat them anywhere with anything. I can write that in a car, stuck in tar, in a bar. Well, you get the idea. I entertain myself and may be a curious sight, smiling and making faces, squinting as I sit here with my ever present black and white composition book open to the wrong side of the page as I fill them back to front to ease the flow and pressure of writing long and left handed. I’ve always had to compensate in some way for being a lefty. The world is counter designed to our needs. (I loved Ned Flanders’s Lefties Emporium on The Simpsons.) Perhaps that’s why lefties lead shorter lives; we always have to swim against the tide.

I’ve just noticed how much it has quieted down here since I started writing this entry.  The noon lunchtime rush has thinned out considerably.  I suppose I should get to eat myself but I’m not really hungry. My hand is tired though. I’ve put in a couple of good hours exercising my craft since I arrived here early this morning. It’s been a brilliant distraction from worry.

I have been in the company of others without having to tend to anyone’s needs. I’ve been writing about all kinds of things, which always lift my spirits, and moves me forward, including this little epiphany. For this all to brief moment, all is well.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Watching the Defectives

 In many, if not most households across this great land of ours, family evenings are frequently spent in front of the television hurling support or insults towards favorite and despised sport teams and players. In our home, the sport of politics is our addiction and our teams generally lean left -- but it would be delusional and presumptive to say our team is Team Truth since that is in the eye of the beholders and there are at least six in our household at any given time, not including the animals. Each has its opinions and own ideas which makes for lively and infuriating debates at dinner time, sometimes with ourselves. The title of this blog does not necessarily refer to the illustrious Republican field this season, however fitting that might be, but might also be used to describe we, the impassioned viewers of the bloody sport we call politics. So, what makes us so addicted to this Battle Royale in which real victory is never decisive in spite of there being a winner?  

I lay the blame for this addiction squarely upon our matrilineal lines. Both my mother and mother in law are members of the Fretful Democrats, a distinction earned by both age and temperament.  I’m not suggesting that either possess the prescience of Cassandra, as learned as that might sound; but that both like Ms. C, believe our nation’s actions are all going to take us to hell in very near future.  I’ve come to understand that part of this belief stems not so much a deep understanding of how the world operates per se, but rather from a deep discomfort with a world that changes – a natural occurrence which both toddlers and the elderly find disconcerting to adjust to. Just when you think you get the lay of the land, some dagblasted new fangled War or Conflict or Social Crisis comes along to shake us to our very core. We need to prepare them with transition time!  And so, in politics just like in many professional sports, we have the Preseason.  Let’s face it, this election year has been filled with lots of  interesting players, many of whom have already been sent back into the locker room to collect their gear. I miss them and I don’t. They’re like the pregame show, sometimes entertaining but really adding nothing to the great confrontation about to take place on the actual playing field. 

Last evening, we three gathered round the flat screen and watched the rather tepid Republican debate armed with the universal team mascot, the laptop. Mine was fixed on the Twitter feed following the snarky and inane and occasionally insightful. My son was engaged in an on-line battle in cyberspace since only he possesses the ability of the young to occupy two mental platforms simultaneously. My husband was following the news feeds on the more legitimate sites and reading informative technical stuff. I was the only one laughing.

With the invention of Twitter and particular hashtag feeds, I was able to flit between and betwixt my regular crew of malcontents and miscreants, the #NHdebate feed and the #GOPdebate feed. If you watched the debate or have read any post-debate analysis, you know by now that the field was occupied with a more courtly and polite crew of players then has been seen in past confrontations. You know that there were lots of artfully played dodges and defensives moves.  And you know that the anticipated victor easily won.  You may even know that along the way were some wacky and clearly unanticipated plays.

Please allow me to share a few of my personal Twitter highlights with a bit of context, which you may have missed.

Tweet of the evening:
Huntsman makes a quip in Chinese. Mitt should answer in French. And Ron Paul in Klingon.
Paul Begala
Columnist for Newsweek and The Daily Beast
Context: Mitt attacked Huntsman for working for Obama to further the Democratic agenda on trade while the Chinese are stealing intellectual property. Huntsman quips back that Mitt is naïve and says something in Chinese no one understands.

Running a close second:
I’m bored now. I think I’ll have a drink as well as a joint. GOP Debates are a gateway drug.
Random funny guy coming from Burbank.
Context: About 30 minutes into the debate with nothing on the economy, jobs or healthcare touched upon.  It just made me laugh.

From my regular crew:
Why is a thrice married adulterer lecturing on the sanctity of marriage? Gingrich is the biggest hypocrite on this.
JoyVBehar -- Comedienne
Context: In a protracted dialogue with all candidates about gay marriage (They’re all against it but some believe a civil union is ok – no surprise.)

Perry never met a country he didn’t want to re-invade. He’s still pissed about the Alamo.
Context: In response to Perry’s unsolicited remark that he would go back into Iran and George Stephanopolis has a Barbara Walters/Herman Cain reaction – as in What?? 

When Gingrich talks about “moving to a 21st Century model”, Callista better watch her back.
Andy Borowitz -- Comedian
Context: Newt pontificates, Andy responds.

From the Mainstream media:
Gingrich tackles Ron Paul’s ‘chicken hawk charge’: ‘That’s part of his charge.” Then Paul stands by the charge.
Context: The best and most vivid moment of the debate when discussing the role of the president as Commander in Chief and whether actually having served in the armed forces is important.  Gingrich on the defensive about his deferment and Paul shoots back that he may be against war but that he served when he was called to serve and he was also married at the time with two children. Gotcha Newt!

What a game I watched! 

You can follow me on Twitter as popculturediva2 where I retweet and tweet when the mood strikes.