Friday, June 18, 2010

Not Quite Me?

I am not quite me and am not even sure that I have enough energy to hope to become me again, but maybe that's because the end of prednisone brings it's own problems. Neither of my doctors know much about that, but if you look on line, it's pretty clear that being on it has fewer pitfalls (including the possibility of being effected mentally in a way that was, for me, a glorious high) than getting off it. The list of list of things to watch for once you're weaned off it is unpleasantly long.

I don't want to remain this person who would prefer to lie in bed, reading. And finds the idea of blogging, much less completing this attempt, very foreign, almost impossible. The old me loved to blog and found it quite easy to patch words together. Now I'm struggling for a decent sentence. But this is NOT complaint, but observation of a long process of becoming sick and recovering. 

This week I forced myself to get up at what was once my normal time, 6am, rather than sleep until 9, preferably 11. And I started working on the computer, the first work I've done since the middle of February, editing an insane poem I'd written about my experience last summer, working on the backside of the local racetrack, washing water buckets and making up the feed for 3-5 horses. It's a piece I love, but right now I'm not sure that the love is justified. At any rate, I decided to change it into a prose poem, only 109 pages. (Insert gales of laughter here at the audacity of this no-body thinking she would write a something  of that length and have a hope of anyone reading it...)  But at least I was working!!!!!!!!!!! And for that, I was grateful as I can be in this dull state of mind. 

This week, I managed 4 days during which I was up, often out, functioning for 12 hours. Tottering a bit, but not lying on the bed. On the 5th day, that bed looked awfully good and I understood that it was longing for me and obliged its need.

But things have been happening anyway. My friend Susan edited the poems that will appear in a chapbook and told me not to fret terribly that I didn't know how to spell Klimpt (is that the right spelling?) and Gauguin. (Oh, misery!) Who knows when the chapbook will appear. It was accepted over a year ago, but at least it's now copy edited! 

Another friend scolded me mightily for not telling him  that there are some of my daily self-portraits (1972-73)up in a current show in the Museum of Modern Art in NY. I knew about it because Susan, bless her heart, called me up to tell me that she'd seen my name in the review in the Times. (Evidentially you can see the images on the MOMA website, though I'm not going to look them up right now. MOMA bought some work, and I'd donated other images, some time around 1973.)

I've never been too excited by things like this, though as two friends pointed out, THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT and WEREN'T YOU LUCKY TO BE  MENTIONED when there are a 100 (I'm not sure if this is true, but maybe it is) women photographers in the show. And I am lucky.  I will ask the friend who scolded me and told me to make some use of this opportunity what to do.

But now that I've edited the poetry into a prose poem, I'm at a loss, drained. What can I do except read and go to the movies, an easy drive that I can manage. (Observation, NOT complaint. It's remarkable to be able to drive and to be at the movies again!) 

So, I've seen "Exit Through the Gift Shop," a film that I believe was edited by Banksy. It certainly tweaks the art market very cleverly. Unfortunately, a lot of the footage was taken by a Frenchman (if any of the narrative is true) who swirled his video camera around with terrible casualness. Both Krissy and I felt sick because of the sloshy quality (I closed my eyes for much of the film, but still know that I liked the premise a lot).

I saw the Air Doll by myself. Usually I'm sort of fruity about ideas like having a central character be a sex-doll, but everyone was so tragically (and somewhat realistically) alone that I found this Japanese film very touching, as well as quite beautiful. (The actress who portrayed the doll was remarkably poignant.)

I wouldn't have been unhappy if I hadn't seen The Secret in their Eyes, except that the male actor has a remarkable face that I could have looked at for hours.

"The Outlaw Sea" awakened me to a broader level of disaster -- pirates on the open sea and the ecological catastrophe of ship-breaking on the shores of India. 

The essays of Jeremy Bernstein were pretty interesting to read after Richard Feynman, though I certainly didn't really understand them. 

I couldn't bear to read more than the first quarter of "Eleni," a well-researched book about the murder of Nicholas Gage's mother in the Second World War, her sacrifice to save her children. 

I was annoyed by Donald Hall's book of poems, though the first few pages provoked some interesting early memories and thoughts about my own writing. 

All of the books have been borrowed from my supplier, Warren. (Some day I will go to the library again. When?)  Now Krissy is borrowing books from him since she fell in love the M. K. Fischer and "A Year in Provence" that he'd lent me.

Oh, well, we'll see what happens. I think I have to face that I won't be able to teach the six week, three morning, summer Photo I class that begins in mid-July. That means I'm entirely done with teaching. 

Hummmm. What next?


  1. Dear Melissa
    This is such a difficult leg of your journey, but how much you seem to be absorbing from the experience and from the books you now have the opportunity to read.

    These healing times can be useful and helpful times in more ways than one.

    I can talk. I need to slow down myself. I hope the end of your teaching is not too much of a burden for you. Maybe you'll still teach but in a smaller way. As for what next? who knows? Hopefully it will be both a challenge and good fun. They're the best.

  2. if you want to go to the show, i'll drive you down to NYC. we can sleep at sheila's and have coffee in the backyard, and ice cream. i'll drive reasonably slowly. artists get in to MOMA free.

  3. oh, I want to go to Sheila's....what a great idea....
    Thanks, Elisabeth!

  4. It doesn't matter how long you're gone you're still here. And the horses poem matters very much to me. Keep at it. I know the exhaustion of weaning oneself off meds. I have taken to the razor blade at times shaving a bit off a pill each week shaving a bit more the next. I hope it goes quickly for you and that you are you again.

  5. Dear, dear Melissa:

    Is this a wry voice I hear or is my hearing impaired. No, I don't think I'm tone deaf. Delightful Melissa tone!

    Love from Mim and your for mending

  6. If MoMA exhibited my artwork, I would be telling the whole world about it all day every day. I would be blogging about it until I've driven away my last follower. Yeah it's huge. Congratulations!

    More importantly, congratulations on getting down to what looks like a quarter of a Prednisone pill.