Showing posts from July, 2011

The Test

When the technician on my mammogram said not to be surprised if I'm asked to do this again, if they call because the pictures aren't clear, something like that, she didn't say they'd call and get specific, saying the tissue looks "different" in the left breast and that there's a "nodule" to be further examined. I wasn't going to write about this. It's common to be retested. Any melodrama made now could be made null in a week, after mammogram number two. But then again, this could go either way. You know how when you're traveling, and you step into a hotel room, or someone's guest room, you take it all in as new? You might lie down on the bed as you would your own, yet you're aware of the feel of it, the spongy spring to the mattress and the laundered scent of the blanket. That's what's happening to me. The test, then, is not only what comes next week, but whether I can keep a hold on this way of being.

To Sleep No More

I leave the elevator alone and walk into the black. Suddenly there are trees; a sparse forest of pine trees in eerie twilight, and still, I am alone. The music pulses, it builds, and I want to be afraid, but instead relax into the sound and emptiness. And I keep walking. I had traveled to Manhattan in part to experience Punchdrunk's production of Sleep No More , a dreamlike telling of Macbeth spread over five dark floors of the former McKittrick Hotel. Audience members are handed masks as they enter and told to stay silent for the duration, which, depending on the time you arrive and your endurance, could span up to seven hours. You walk through the hotel rooms, ruffle through their contents, and chase actors and music that cues you into knowing something will soon happen. I followed Macbeth through a graveyard, stood next to him on a balcony as he watched Lady Macbeth below. I pulled back the bloodied sheets of a hospital bed. A clue? The curious will be rewarded , we had been tol

On A Journey

seeing the city from different angles with old friends and new finding yourself reflected back

How Does It Happen

That it's a beautiful day, you have a list of things to do, you're tired from work, the sheets are ready to be transferred to the dryer, and yet you find yourself typing in a Google search for "cats on catnip videos"?

Sitting With The Secret Service

Seeing former first lady Rosalynn Carter at Betty Ford's funeral in the news this week reminded me that I've been near the woman myself. Here's the story. Where we lived in the late 90s was a morning's drive from Plains, Georgia, the setting for a small, unassuming rural church with avocado green carpeting, where Jimmy Carter taught Sunday School. I summoned a friend to accompany me there one Sunday morning with the sole task of this: securing an autograph on a photo of Carter riding through my Pennsylvania hometown. My father, who collects presidential memorabilia, took the photo and had proudly displayed it in the decades since. He was the person who had alerted me to my proximity to Jimmy's church; he was sure the genial former president would sit down with me and swap stories. The church was not hard to find; the tour buses occupied more space than the building itself. Janet and I were ushered into what turned out to be an overflow room. He'd walk thro

Everything Makes Everything Else Easier, Except for Eve

I'm a keen observer of perspective shifts. How a thing can be seen differently even while it essentially remains the same. Getting better at something, rendering it less difficult than it was: My kids and I do this running-in-place one-mile race together at home (via DVD; the mileage, then, is not completely accurate). We noticed today how it's getting easier, though we still sweat and huff and puff quite a bit. We could, theoretically, get to the point where this activity that used to kill us--we'd skip parts, stall-- is no longer a significant challenge to our cardiovascular systems. Experiencing something more difficult than the thing that was thought the worst: One consequence of sparring for the first time Thursday night was the feeling that I could rule the world. Another was that the other aspects of training that used to get my jitters up--5 rounds of shadowboxing under critical eyes, performing on the bags--now seem like nothing. After what I did, I can do anyth

What's Happening In My Head While Someone's Hitting It

Thoughts While Sparring For the First Time --Hey. HEY! --Oh yeah? Oh yeah? --I can take that. No problem. Come at me again. --She's street fighting. This isn't pretty. --I WANT to LAND a solid RIGHT. Get your FREAKIN gloves out the WAY. Lemme try again. --Her head snapped back. THAT'S what I'm talking about. Wait: should I feel bad about that? Her mother is watching. I'm hitting this woman's daughter. --Actually, I don't feel bad at all. --She's tired. She's MINE. Thoughts Later In the Night After Sparring For the First Time --My jaw hurts. --Holy Sh*t I was boxing. --Why isn't this tylenol kicking in? --Why does my head still hurt? --What is this bruise on my chest? --Holy Sh*t I'm 40 and I was BOXING. --What did any of that training have to do with someone standing there trying to hit me? --Must learn more defense before I do that again. --Will you do this again? --Yeah, sure; a little more defense first, though. --But my head. It hurts. Ow

The Theatre of Boxing, and Life

"Truth is, I played at other people's styles so much I never found my own." We'd just finished padwork, and the trainer was suggesting I watch video clips of certain female boxers. But they've got to be good, I told him, because I take on what I see. He nodded. He'd done too much of that, he said, and he never thought to turn what worked for others into something he could call his own. When I first started boxing, I played pretend. The coiling in, the chin tucked, the elbows tight--I had to play at what I'd seen boxers do. It wasn't natural. It wasn't me. I was drawn to the sport, but the posture was not yet mine. But with time, the fighter's stance became automatic. I stopped pretending to be a boxer; I just box. I get into position. It's what's done. My feet get a little wide at times, but I'm working on that. In general, I look like I should. Stance,'s the dissertation I'll someday write. In Where Do You Stan