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.
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.