Tuesday, June 27, 2006

I Remember

I've been tossing and turning in bed, thinking of Durban.

I don't know why I'm thinking of it again, now, suddenly, when I've gone so long without talking about it, ruminating, thinking anything beyond, "I drank a lot in Africa."

But I remember. I'm lying awake remembering things; leaning out the big back window of my little one-and-a-half room flat and watching the storms come in over the Indian Ocean. Watching the big red sheet I kept over the living room window billow in the wind and scatter the light. I remember long, drunken nights of dancing. Shots of tequila. Rum and coke. I remember the way the air tasted, how it clung to my skin; I remember the crazy rides in the overpacked taxis and the dust that clung to everything. I remember chain smoking while writing a thesis and a novel, and yes, I remember the bugs. The flying cockroaches, the geckos that lived in the cupboards, the nest of unnammable creatures living under the bathtub. I remember stumbling home drunk and waking up in my own bed wearing only a towel. I remember hot nights.

I remember the people. The sound of Zulu. And I remember Julian's house, this stolid, quiet little house with the front porch and the big dining table under the awning out back, and I remember the good wine and the good coffee, and the dinner parties. I remember laughing. I remember being asked what I thought my worth was, in cows. I remember a woman at a noisy dance club asking me for aspirin, because, you see, her stomach hurt; she'd just had an abortion. I remember being driven home by some pretty drunk drivers. I remember never quite feeling like I fit in. I remember not being pretty enough. I remember not being smart enough. I remember the art parties, the bottles of wine.

I remember running away from everything and ending up there, on the other side of the world. I remember monkeys perched on top of garbage cans. I remember figuring out, for the first time, what love was. I remember lying awake and tossing and turning and trying to figure it out, and suddenly understanding, and thinking, "Ahhh... this was my lesson. This is why I had to come to Africa. Not for the cockroaches or the banana trees or the ocean storms, but this, here, yes."

And I remember looking back at Table Mountin from a boat in the harbor and thinking, "I have come to the ends of the earth. I can stop running now."

I'd spent five years running and running and running. Running from an old life, an old self, and I was ready to stop. I was ready to live again. I was tired of running because I was afriad. I wanted another reason to get up in the morning.

I wanted the storms to be enough.

Joss Whedon is My Secret Boyfriend

If you haven't seen it yet, Joss Whedon's award acceptance speech for Equality Now:

"Why aren't you asking a hundred other guys why they *don't* write strong women characters?"

I got to the end of the speech and burst into tears, because he said so succinctly what I've been trying to say with so much of my fiction.

Whedon is my new Secret Boyfriend.

Sugar Sick

Well, I've been feeling like absolute shit the last three days, so I called Dr. S. today and updated him on my numbers, which, like my physical state, are shit.

I've been having trouble concentrating here at work (sugar headache, blurry vision), my sex drive tanked (yes. I notice these things), I wanted to lie around in bed immediately after coming home last night (I couldn't do this, of course, because my sugar was so high that I had to work out immediately after coming home just to get it reasonable), and all of a sudden water was looking *really* good again, and I was spending more time in the bathroom.

Well, at least I know what all of these things *mean* now, even if I wasn't sugar testing 5 times a day.

Dr. S. told me to up my insulin from 18 morning, 10 night; to 18 morning, 18 at night, and call him again on Thursday.

This is exhausting. I just want to get these goddamn numbers back on track before I get another fucking yeast infection.

This is like some kind of fifth ring of hell.

Jagged Little Pill

When my computer(s) died, I lost a lot of music along with them, and have been re-installing music piecemeal. Yesterday I finally re-burned a copy of Alanis Morissette's first album, Jagged Little Pill.

And I was reminded of what I love it so much.

Oh, sure, she got the "you must be a femi-nazi bitch who hates men" label after this album, which secrely pleased me. I love You Outta Know. I think it's the star of the album, though every single other song ain't bad either.

I was surprised to read this piece (scroll down) over at The Hathor Legacy that, while affirming the fanasticness of the album, expresses frustration about the rap Alanis got for this album, and particularly, for You Outta Know. She argues that there are a lot of really powerful songs besides You Outta Know on the album (which is true), and that Alanis got tagged as an evil, angry woman unfairly, and you should look at the album as a whole, and blah blah basically "Hey, she's not *just* an angry woman! She's a talented artist!"

It's really shitty that we feel we have to defend angry women by pointing out that they're really great artists (I'm trying to think of angry men whose artistic talent gets overlooked because they're too "angry" and I'm not coming up with anyone. Feel free to correct me). But I don't want to defend angry women artists by saying they "aren't as angry as you think they are."

I WANT her to be that angry. That's what I fucking love about You Outta Know and the album as a whole. All of sudden there's all this honest emotion: not cutesy little, "Oh, I love you and all the shiny flowers even though you cheated on me" crap, but real, "I cared about you and you fucked me over you asshole" anger. And "I thought this relationship was something it really wasn't" anger. And "this isn't quite the life I was looking for" anger.

Anger is good.

Lack of anger and frustration actually really turned me off the second album. Not that I *hated* her second album, but it doesn't connect with me the way Jagged Little Pill does. I mean, maybe once you make a lot of money and run off to India for a few years, you aren't angry anymore. But, you know, Pink has a lot of money, and I think she had some great ass-kicking songs in I'm Not Dead.

I don't want to feel I have to defend an artist cause she's angry. I want to go, "She's really angry! Isn't that cool!?"

Because it is cool. What nobody seems to get is that the flipside of anger is often sadness; anger is just a more powerful way to express oneself than sadness (and more socially acceptable among men. Men are encouraged to get angry instead of being sad. Women are just supposed to be sad). If you want to know what the song's really about, try listening to You Outta Know again - particulary the slow, sad, alternate take she did at the Grammies.

That'll stop your heart.

But most days, I prefer the pissed-off version. Most days, it feels truer. And it's telling the truth that's going to connect with people; or piss them off.


You know what the *real* problem is with the BBC production of Gormenghast?

The problem is, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers is really fucking hot, and the director even manages to employ several ingenious ways of getting gratuitious shots of JRM without his shirt on. OK, yea, that's good, I know. But here's the bad part:

JRM plays a Sneering Villain. And Sneering Villains: not so hot. So while I sigh and squirm over the long, lingering shot of JRM's beautiful bare back and shoulders, I am then thrown out of said reverie the moment he turns around and *sneers*.


Can't somebody please put him in more roles like the one in Bend It Like Beckham instead of Misogynist Jerk #4 in Vanity Fair? I have the same problem with Ryan Gosling. I found him incredibly repugnant in Murder By Numbers, and then wanted to leap out of my chair and drag him home after The Notebook. I'm wondering if this is the real mark of a good actor: they can transcend their good looks, so you'll find them appealing or disgusting based entirely on their performance, and not based purely on their looks.

This is why I couldn't watch Red Eye, either, though Jenn loved it. Not only is the uber-cute and lovely Rachel McAdams getting terrorized (and the idea of Rachel McAdams getting terrorized makes me want to run out and save her!), but the Bad Guy is Cillian Murphy, who I mooned over (once he shaved) in 28 Days Later, but is far, far less appealing as a Crazy Jerk.

Bad guys just aren't sexy.


And I still have one whole disk of Gormenghast to go....