Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Beauty of Everyday Objects; and Beautiful Monsters

Red-haired Karla practices ministry and magic, disguised as cosmetology. She cut my hair today, reward for housesitting her big, white, furry boy cat a while ago, the mirror image of the big, black, furry boy cat I am housesitting now.

Amidst the salon's swirl of cinnabar scent, I was telling Karla I want to learn to blow things up, in a small way, and she said she loved that stuff--had gone through two chemistry sets when she was a kid.
When I told her I was inspired by what I imagine to be Blake's 7's special-effects budget of $3.79, she exclaimed,
"You should make your own project--go to Steeple People and buy some odds and ends--and call it Spaceship 379!"

I practically leapt out of her chair and ran out into today's snowstorm and falling temperatures to go to the Steeple People thrift store with my 379 pennies to spend.
I lucked out: not only were there lots of unidentifiable objects in the Miscellaneous Hardware bins but there were 4 boxes of FREE broken and obscure objects.
I picked out anything that looked like it might be alien technology on a spaceship. (Funny how Jello-o molds fit in that category.)

My favorite find was these 3 springy bronze things, pictured here. They were 25 cents altogether; but what are they? (I pulled the rubber tips off, so you maybe couldn't tell either, here.) The volunteer lady cashier and I didn't know, but the guy behind me identified them as door stops.
(Men are so great!)

The other objects in this picture are a hockey puck (also 25 cents) and the outer ring of a spring-form pan (free).
Aren't they beautiful?
Makes me weep.

Beautiful Monsters

These everyday objects--and Karla--pulled me out of an emotional tailspin. See, distrust and betrayal of love are central themes in Blake's 7. And last night, I had accidentally watched the devastating end of the series on youTube (it was tucked into a fan video).
Even though I'd read about the dénouement, seeing it was like being punched in the solar plexus.
Just a wee bit too close to home, someone shooting the one they love.

(The only thing I could come up with as comfort was the thought that surely the betrayer and the betrayed are Time Lords, like Dr Who, who will regenerate and have a laugh later over a pint.)

When I was young, sexy stories about pain attracted me.
I loved Interview with the Vampire, for instance. If I was twenty, I would run out to see Twilight, this season's vampire romance.

But I am old. OK, forty-seven. Not young, anyway.
A few years ago a young acquaintance told me she couldn't be a writer because, she said regretfully, she hadn't "suffered enough."
Well. Fuck me.
But I have to admit there was a time when I felt something similar.

When I was a teenager vampires looked so cool. I wanted to feel intensely, and suffering looked like it would do the job.
I was suffering plenty; I just didn't recognize it because it didn't look romantic.
And that's because suffering isn't romantic. Only its depiction in art is.

Now I have witnessed plenty of suffering and partaken of my fair share and here's what I have to say:
Suffering is a bore.

Mostly it just reduces people--makes us small.
It is art, the creative transformation of experience, that makes us larger, which is interesting.
And you can apply it to anything.
The remarkable resemblance a Jello-o mold holds to a starship, for instance.

And the other thing I'd say is the opposite:
There is something about suffering--if it doesn't break us apart--that breaks us open to the possibility of transformation.

It's just that I seem to want to transform household items, these days.
Beautiful monsters doling out their beautiful pain...
You can have them.


Anonymous said...

Okay, i am NOT kidding or inventing this to be as cool as Fresca, I swear, but, i ALMOST went to Steeple People today to sneak some stuff into the freebies basket and go shopping there after they cleared out their manic Xmas paraphernalia extravaganza. But, i got lazy about struggling over snowy ice and trying not to fall down on the ways to and fro the buses, so i stayed inside and eventually baked a triple batch of decadent brownies with just a hint of cayenne...Sort of combustible: deep dark chocolate and Hot, but not sour, so not exactly transcending dualities, but transcending some things such as SADs and cabin fevers and what have you!
Can't wait to see you and your new "do"--your hair dresser--Is she another red-haired, pre-Raphaelite goddess?! There are never enough of them!

See Ya Soon and Love!


momo said...

I love that picture, and if you had not told the story behind it, I would have thought it was some fabulous sculpture that could go into the Walker's scupture garden.
One of the gifts of 2008 was discovering your wonderful writing, and then meeting you.
2009 is going to be a year of creative transformation!

bink said...

Beautiful objects. You have an eye for making them otherworldly. Spaceship 379 is sure to be a cult hit!

I like what you say about suffering and transformation. You are right that suffering in itself is just a big bore.

A ba-zillion years ago when I was in my teens I came up with the idea that suffering digs holes in your soul. Like pit mining.

Those holes are never filled in again with the same stuff that was dug out of them--innocence, trust, faith, etc. (not to say you lose all of that--as long as you have some shred of soul left).

You can let the holes remain open--like the mine pits--scarred and scared and painful to see/touch.

Or you can flood them--like the mine pits that are flooded and become lakes and swimming holes. Back in my teens I would have said (God's) love floods the soul holes, now I'd say compassion.

I'd say compassion because I can see it more readily bubbling up in my own life as my mind has broadened with experience and age--in fairly direct correlation to my soul holes. I think compassion is one of the more useful manifestations of love.

fresca said...

STEF: Chocolate and cayenne: truly divine alchemy at work there, you sorceress, you!
Karla is not pre-Raphaelite--her hair is chic and short. More like a Futuristic femme fatale? Except waaaay too nice for the "fatale" part.

MOMO: I know! without a reference for scale, these could be giant works of art! I keep staring at my own photo of them in awe.
Blogging and blog friends are one of the best things of 2008 for me too.

BINK: Open pit mines. Yes.Your teenage self was wise--and your grown-up self continues the tradition.
I'm just remembering sitting next to a man on a plane who told me about going deep-water diving in those pits on the Iron Range up north--he said you could see a fantastic, otherwordly underwater world in them.

"Useful manifestations of love"--this is such a great phrase, I think I will borrow it! I agree, compassion is one of them--maybe THE most useful ones.
Thank you.

And yes, "Starship 379" will be right up there with "Plan 9 from Outer Space"! Me and you and Ed Woods!

Anonymous said...

I love your post and I love Bink's response to it. I now have two New Year's resolutions to add to my list:
show enough love for myself to let the holes in my soul made by suffering to fill with compassion;
and to use the calligraphy and drawing sets I bought that I wish I had had as a kid (and been encouraged to use).

Happy New Year's Eve!


fresca said...

Happy New Year's Eve to you too Nancy--and everybody! (As I write this, it's actually 9 minutes into 2009.)
I had a calligraphy set when I was a kid--got it for my 9th birthday--and I LOVED it! I'd love to see what you do, with your hands and your compassionate heart.

Jennifer said...

Well...perhaps it's just as well you saw the ending early, before getting too caught up in Avon's downward spiral, which it does occur to me might be terribly familiar (if you continue, look out for "Orbit" in Season 4 as well, which is 50 minutes of silliness and 5 minutes of anguish). But "Post-Gauda Prime" theories abound (they were stun guns!) to save everyone but Blake...the actor who plays Blake wanted to make absolutely certain that he was not going to be called back for more, so he slipped a few extra blood packs under his clothes, with the rather spectacular results you saw... And even Blake is often saved with some speedy emergency care (or an announcement that that's his clone from another episode). Fandom abounds in stories where Blake and Avon deal with and get past the events on Gauda Prime (some of them are even good.)

Now that you've seen it, I can point out that the massacre in Galaxy Quest and its magic-reset-button reversal seem to be homages, don't they? And Dr. Lazarus is so much more Avon than Spock, really...well, Alexander Dane is, at least.

I love your beautiful Art Deco space thingamajig! I never would have guessed what it was...losing the sense of scale plays wonderful havok with our minds...

*hugs* I'm sorry about the ending and I have to admit I feel kind of bad for encouraging you to watch it, knowing full well how it ends...

fresca said...

JEN: I'm sorry you're sick. Your comment makes perfect sense, though.
I never understood why people wrote the post-death fanfic until I saw the death scene, and now I totally get it!
Inventive minds at work.
But I do not buy that the guns were set on "stun"--that's too Star Trek! I like my Time Lords solution---even though that's Dr Who. A Brit solution for a Brit conundrum.

I don't know if I'll watch more or not... Maybe once we're past spring equinox and the light returns...
But I feel a bit like Dan at ten and his response to the death of his hamsters:
I am not going through that again!

But don't feel bad, Jen! I was sooooo curious about the show --not just from you, but the fan circles instersect in certain places (a small section of Star Trek & B7 overlap--seems to me, very small--do you agree?--few Americans even know B7). I very much wanted to watch it.
And it's inspired my "space thingamajig" explorations, so it's all good!

And I'm glad I saw the ending, even though it was agonizing. "Anguish"--such a good word you use--too right, I'm afraid. It's a good story, and a real one... worth watching, in its way. Just not more than once.

fresca said...

P.S. Jen--I forgot to say you're right about Alexander Dane from "Galaxy Quest"! Alan Rickman's nice lips... rather like Avon's. (Spock had thin, unsexy lips.)

And really, "Galaxy Quest" offers the best solution to the deaths--import the magic button thingy that lets everyone go back 13 seconds and get it right this time: Bingo!
Now I have to watch G.Q. again because I don't remember the thingy's name... and also to look for B7 references (surely Alan Rickman at least knew of it?).

wisconsin cosmetology ce said...

Well, I don't really think that all writers have been great writers because they have suffered more or that if they suffered at all. Well, cosmetology is indeed magic and art, if she wanted to study it, there are a lot of good schools that she can try. Anyways, good luck with the beautiful monster things.