Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Queen of the Dead Herself

Tuesday night I went to see my mother perform stories -- some borrowed, some translated, some her own -- it was a wonderful, funny performance. The show was titled, "Those Daring Girls on the Flying Trapeze -- Stories of Risk and Realization. She and her friend Natalie shared the billing and were both wonderful. My mother retold the ancient myth of Demeter, Goddess of the Harvest, and her daughter, Goddess of Spring. It was based on me, and my mother, and her version of my journey from birth to this present moment, with a little myth and drama thrown in. But when one you love goes dark, the whole world is winter, no matter what anybody else might see. So, I'd like to share what she told here. It's been on my mind all week.

Summary
Demeter and Persephone: a retelling of the Greek Myth: In the traditional myth, Persephone, the daughter of Demeter, goddess of the harvest, of grain, is abducted by Hades, Lord of the Underworld. Perpetual winter grips the earth. Famine and death result. Zeus agrees to get Hades to release Persephone on the condition that she has not eaten anything in the Underworld. She has eaten six pomegranate seeds, so she may stay six months with her mother—her return brings spring, but she must return to Hades as Queen half the year—winter.

Demeter and Persephone
Demeter’s daughter Persephone was a darling child. She was sweetness itself. She sweetened life. She could melt your heart with just one little smile, and when she laughed, sunlight filled the room. She was Spring sunshine, so warm and bright and soft. She’d snuggle in Demeter’s lap curled up like a soft little kitten. Demeter would rock gently, singing tender little songs, or just inhaling the fresh flower scent of the little girl’s gossamer hair. Her hair held the lightest scent of jasmine and rose. Her skin soft as rose petals. Her little mouth, a pink rose.

When Persephone was two Demeter called her Darling. It just came into her mind and her mouth when she thought of her, and it was her name all that year. Darling, Darling, Darling. She was Demeter’s Darling. She wore a copper bracelet, like her mother, and she was darling, darling, darling because Demeter loved her so. Love poured from Demeter to the girl. They would dance together in the sunlight of those early years, Demeter’s heart overflowing with love.

And the girl loved her mother. She clung to her. She loved to be in the safe circle of her mother’s arms. Later, she wrote poems and inscribed books with her love—she wasn’t shy about it—she was open and true and clear. Her words, her thoughts expressed with such beauty and emotion, opened Demeter’s heart like a flower. The girl was a flower opening. Demeter’s eyes and heart always turned toward her darling.

So, how did it happen that Persephone slipped away, that Demeter lost sight of her darling? Well, the girl was growing up, she had friends, other girls, young and innocent too. She went out with them. They went walking often down near the river. One glorious sunny day—still warm, but with a fresh cool breeze—they felt so exuberant, and they were laughing and talking—they went far past the drifts of narcissus where they had so often filled their arms full with those fragrant white flowers. They hiked on boldly toward the setting sun and came into luminous fields of poppies, first pink and golden, then red and black in the grey twilight. Enchanted, euphoric they fell into the poppies, Intoxicated, lethargic, somnambulant, they fell into the darkness.

Thunder rumbled, cresting in a roaring wave of earth shaking, rocks splitting with lightening cracks. Horses’ hooves pounding by her head where she lay among the poppies. Screaming when the iron hands crush her flesh, her bones.

She was gone as if the earth had swallowed her.

(The Search)


The other girls, the friends could hardly tell what had happened. “It was so fast!” ‘There were guns. There were horses, or were they cars?” “Men, or just one man? One Monster!”

It was all the same—kidnapped, abducted, taken, stolen, disappeared.

The police—what could they do. It was beyond their jurisdiction—out of the country, an international incident. But it’s difficult—no diplomatic relationship.

Demeter sees Persephone on television—a video released by the girl’s captors. Her eyes are wild dark circles. Her body shimmering with fear and tension. She seems about to shatter. She knows the blade may slice her head from her body at any moment.

Demeter appeals to top government officials, They cannot, will not negotiate with terrorists. The mask of war reveals its fatal weakness. Where are the peacemakers?

Demeter takes her story to the media. She begs, she rages. She forgets everything but
her loss. Demeter has no eyes for flowers. The flowers have all withered. She doesn’t eat—there’s no food. She doesn’t work—there’s no reason, no order, or beauty, or comfort. No comfort anywhere—only the search. And it’s not just Demeter. This affects everybody. The Earth is becoming a wasteland—nothing growing, everything dying and suffering. Demeter’s heart is frozen. She’s waiting in hospital corridors. She’s entering the darkness of her own soul and calling. Only her soul keeps searching for the life hidden in the darkness. Only her soul keeps searching for her darling Persephone.

Demeter’s feeling blindly for just
One spark of fire. One breath of faith. One truth of love.

Persephone is in the underworld searching for herself.
Persephone is on the other side, yearning for Demeter, yearning for life.
She’s digging herself out from under the shadow, the rock, the grave.
She is called by love into the living world. Her mother calls her. She pushes through into her own being. She opens her eyes, She smiles. The sun shines. Demeter’s heart melts.

Persephone hasn’t forgotten the shadow. It’s changed her—she doesn’t deny it. She even loves it in a way. It drew her soul and fed her and loved her as well as it could. It’s given her the gift of perspective at least. She knows what’s important. She knows how to make choices at those crossroads she keeps running into . Grandmother Hecate with her necklace of skulls, doesn’t scare her anymore, not since she’s been Queen of the Dead herself. She can see Demeter in Hecate’s eyes and Hecate in Demeter’s hair turning white like the old woman’s. Demeter and Hecate stand together at those crossroads watching her choosing her own way. They delight in watching her moving through this life.

But what about those pomegranate seeds? She ate them, luscious, red and vibrant with desire for Life, She took the gift of darkness and brought it into the light. The seed of desire unfolds the flower, The flower transforms into the fruit and the seed. The three of them dance together; Persephone, Demeter, and Hecate dance. They circle, spinning sunlight and shadow, the mystery of life spiraling through time and space. A breath rising and falling. Pulsing like the heart beating.


Friday, September 15, 2006

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

listy list

Thank you Kelly. If it weren't for lists and quizess, I would never blog. Now, can you show me how to do links, too? Kelly Rae Roberts, I'm talking to you. Please tell me, and Maya. We need help.

10 Favorites

Favorite Season:
Indian Summer

Favorite Time:
Right before bed, when I've done all I'm gonna do and my head's all propped up and my toesies are cozies

Favorite Food:
fettucini alfredo. calzones. avocados.

Favorite Drink:
mineral water

Favorite Ice Cream:
bryer's mint chocolate chip

Favorite Place:
right where i am

Favorite Sport:
spelling bees

Favorite Actor:
martin donovan

Favorite Actress:
my mama

9 Currents

Current Feeling:
wack

Current Drink:
diet coke

Current Time:
7:14 p.m.
Current Show on TV:
my roomie channels law and order through the tin foil inside her brain

Current Mobile used:
my first ever, a black flippy motorola

Current Windows Open:
maps

Current Underwear:
meshy things with flowers. sassy!

Current Clothes:
green cargo capris and a black three-quarter sleeve stretch top.

Current Thought:
"ahem." buzzing brain. too many cigarettes. i love my dog. i'm sitting in a funny position that's comfortable and painful at the same time and i should turn the light on and sit different and i need brian heggood's phone number.

8 Firsts
First Nickname:
the king of babies. soon followed by ama mama.

First Kiss:
at einstein's.

First Crush:
john kirk. in the third grade. that whole olive skin/brown eye/badboy thing.

First Best Friend:
laurel leveschef. we painted our toenails and played with kittens.

First Vehicle I Drove:
i don't drive.

First Job:
cleaning condos.

First Date:
i don't think i've ever had a date. i don't know. the first long-term boy took me to theymightbegiants.

First Pet:
a grey cat named sarah. a standard poodle named china. and an oscar fish named oscar. sarah ate oscar. china ran away. sara got hit by a car. i saw her brain.

7 Lasts
Last Drink:
diet coke

Last Kiss:
do dog kisses count?

Last Meal:
macaroni and cheese

Last Web Site Visited:
myspace

Last Film Watched:
imagine me and you. it was precious.

Last Phone Call:
carolyn. i'll see her later.

Last TV show Watched:
weeds!

6 Have You Evers

Have You Ever Broken the Law:
yep
Have You Ever Been Drunk:
once or twice

Have You Ever Kissed Someone You Didn't Know:
what do we mean by "don't know" here?

Have You Ever Been in the Middle/Close to Gunfire:
not in the middle. not too close, either, ever, i don't think.

Have You Ever Skinny Dipped:
nah

Have You Ever Broken Anyone's Heart:
yep. and i got it back, once or twice.

5 Things

Things You Can Hear Right Now:
a commercial. a very earnest, urgent message about something. cicadas buzzing.

Things On Your Bed:
lots of pillows.

Things You Ate Today:
macaroni and cheese. oreos. and a little debbie swiss roll.

Things You Can't Live Without:
water. my mama. coffee and candy and cigarettes. tala doggie.

Things You Do When You Are Bored:
i pick at myself. like my figernails.

4 Places You Have Been Today
work. gate station. that is it!

3 Things On Your Desk Right Now
my desk in my room has a whole lotta papers and my computer.

2 ChoicesBlack or White:
light instead of absence

Hot or Cold: hottt!

1 Place You Want To Visit
oklahoma city, oklahoma

Monday, September 04, 2006

Panic Attacks and a Music Quiz

Trebuchet is my new favorite font. I use it as my default font on all the funny little sites I build for work. This one got me props www.mypandorasbox.com. Alas, I don't built sites as quickly as I should (at least 1 an hour...more like 1 every 45 minutes is best, but this is a discussion for another day because I want to write about my panic attacks, please.) So. I house/dog sat for a friend this weekend, and the unfamiliarity and responsibility sent me back into those hot terror panic attacks that race my heart up and make my toes go numb. Nothing was wrong, but my body felt like telling me something was. It's been months since those attacks, and it infiltrated my perspective about everything. Now I'm back home and I feel better, but won't feel completely satisfied until my friend whose doggies I cared for calls me and tells me they survived well the interval between my departure and her arrival, which should be in a few hours. So, now I'm back home and am awaiting comforting normalcy to remove the racing heart. I think a music quiz will do the trick. Below is a series of questions found on my new myspace friend Brent's myspace blog. Once I answer these questions I think I'll go take a shower.


Q: What was the last CD you bought?
The last CD I bought, I believe, was Elizabeth Cotten. She has the sweetest voice.

Q: What song are you listening to right now?
I'm listening to a commercial. I don't know. It's very violin-driven. I think it was a car commercial.

Q: What was the last show you went to?
I don't really go to shows anymore. I tried to watch my friend Barb play her flute with locals The Wobbly Toms, who perform originals and obsurish Pogues covers, but I'm too raw for the bar scene at the moment. Prior to that, I believe was The Mountain Goats and oooh, some wonderful band whose name I can't recall at the moment...at Cafe 11 here in St. Augustine. That was some time in early 2005, maybe the spring? I'm not sure.

Q: Which artists do have the most CDs of?
I am a bad girl when it comes to CDs. I lose them. Over the years Elvis Costello has been the most consistent frontrunner.

Q: If you had the choice of only downloading songs or only buying CDs/albums/8-tracks for the rest of your life, which would you choose?
I would buy CDs. If I had an eight-track player I would buy 8-tracks. Preservation is important to me, not that you could tell that by the way I've treated my musical recordings, but I appreciate the album in its entirety, encased in art, orchestrated like a story or poetry collection. But I can't scratch downloads, so I've actually downloaded all my music. Even the ones that skipped, I can listed to completely now.

Q: If you can pull an Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and erase a band from your memory that you used to love, which band would it be?
I wouldn't do such a thing because I believe all of our experiences teach us something, and I'm not embarassed by music I've loved. I loved the Doors when I was 14, and can't really listen to them now, but I'm not ashamed. I loved Motley Crue and Ratt when I was in middle school, but I also loved Lone Star and 10,000 Maniacs and REM at the same time. I still have the Lone Star and REM cassette tapes, but never bought the Crue (is there an e on the end of that?)

Q: Which band(s) do you wish you had seen?
I wish I had seen Sonic Youth in 1989 when they played at Einsteins. I was ready and walking out the door and my dad's photographer/buddy tore away from the house right at the moment I opened the front door to join my dad, Jim Quine (photographer), my brother Joshu, his girlfriend Jenny and his buddy Josh. I am still a bit resentful about that. Also, Jane's Addiction that same year. I was 15. I kept telling my older brother they were coming to Einstein's --- a million times I told him to go and to take me. He later read a concert review and said, "Damn, Jane's Addiction played at Einstein's. I wish I had known. I can't believe I missed it." I stared coldly at him from my side of the breakfast table. And part trois, he gave my Love and Rocket's ticket to someone who was supposedly holding it for safekeeping. These things keep me bitter.

Q: Who's the most overrated band of all time?
Phish. Rush? I don't know. "Of all time" is pretty major.


Q: Most underrated band of all time?
The Rock*A*Teens, I think, didn't get the major acclaim they deserved, but are quite critically acclaimed. They played, I remember, after Death Cab for Cutie at SXSW during a Merge showcase or something many years ago. Now Death Cab is so famous. It's funny to hear Death Cab songs at CVS. But then again, Lopez did sing, "If I wanted to be famous, I'da shot someone."

Q: Who had the greatest impact on popular culture, Elvis or The Beatles?
The Beatles, I believe. But I thnk that's just because I'm too young to recognize what Elvis did. He popularized rock'n'roll, but then the Beatles and the Stones took the same blues influences he did.

Q: Favorite albums of all time:
Daydream Nation by Sonic Youth
My Aim is True by Elvis Costello & the Attractions
Blonde on Blonde by Bob Dylan
The Boy With the Arab Strap by Belle and Sebastian
Fables of the Reconstruction by REM
("All time" makes me nervous. But I do adore the above big time.)

Q: You ever travel to a different time zone to see a concert?
Maybe. No, I don't think so. I don't think big like that, though I drove a number of hours to see 15 minutes of Morphine. And I drove a long ways to Lollapalooza II. Oh, how I loved Eddie Vedder!

Q: You ever say that you liked a song/artist just to impress a person of the opposite sex?
No way, man.

What was your prom theme?
The best, most absurd one ever -- "Under the Bridge" Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

Q: Kanye West, musical genius or pompous dickhead?
The two descriptions aren't mutually exclusive.

Q: What's the most you ever paid for a concert? $80 for Elvis Costello at Chastain Park. He much preferred the Tabernacle, I could tell by his performance. The wine and cheese crowd were far too chatty and unappreciative.

Q: What's the most you ever paid for a CD/record?
I don't know. $30 for the LazyLinePainterJane Belle&Sebastian singles?

What's the best show you ever saw?
Beautiful early spring in Austin SXSW 1998. Budweiser and Guided by Voices in the park as the sun went down, followed by a gorgeous evening of Tom Waits playing every song I had playing in my head from the time I knew he was coming...all my favorites. I cried like a baby.
That, and a later early spring in Atlanta watching Lucinda Williams as the sun went down, baby girls loving life on their daddy's shoulders. It was a magical afternoon. And Sonic Youth at the Tabernacle. Elvis Costello at the Tabernacle (3 hour show and he kissed me on the lips!!!!!!!). And Belle&Sebastian and Stereolab, also at the Tabernacle. Yo La Tengo doing a Ronettes-style dance to "You Can Have It All" at the Variety Playhouse. Patty Smith at Variety Playhouse.

Q: You find the person of your dreams, everything you ever wanted in a person and their favorite band of all time is Sugar Ray, what do you do?
We change that whole Sugar Ray thing. Lack of exposure usually leads to such a downfall, so good lessons would be learned about good music.

Q: If you could reunite one band with all its original members who are still alive, which band would you reunite?
The Pixies. Oh, wait. They did that. I just sold my tickets back and skipped town before I got to witness such beautiful alchemy.

Q: If you could bring back one musician who died prematurely, which musician would you bring back? Jimi Hendrix.

Q: What does E G B D F stand for?
EgG Big Dog Food. I'm leaving that stupid response there. I've had too much caffiene.

Q: How would you describe The Arcade Fire to visiting aliens?
Like memory and childhood.

Q: When will Pete Doherty die?
Is this the guy who fronted the Libertines? He will live 4-evah.

Q: What's your favorite song(s) of all time? (Right this moment.)
Into the Mystic, Van Morrison. The Colors and the Kids, Cat Power. The Boy With the Arab Strab, B&S. Angels Wanna Wear my Red Shoes, Elvis Costello. Teenage Riot, Sonic Youth.

Q: What's the deal with indie rock boys wearing thick-frame glasses and indie rock girls looking like libriains?
It dates back to Buddy Holly. It's a sexy/nerd fantasy thing. I'm personally, however, never dating musicians with poor vision again. Especially if he's skinny and sensitive and wears those damn glasses. Damn these glasses!

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