I Suggest Cigarettes, Whiskey, & Sleeping Pills!!

“‘A sex-crazed whore who sings of her own wantonness,’ one theologian wrote…”

NO! Not about me, he wrote that about Sappho.

I spent yesterday reading a wide-flung bunch of stuff.  In particular, some fragments of Sappho’s poems. These translations were in an early-20th Century literature collection, and so it was interesting to read the preface to Sappho’s poems, wherein the editors were taking that really odd approach (in my opinion) to the life and works of Sappho — downplaying any homoerotic references in her work, attributing it to some sort of Greek custom where young women had erotic relations with each other in order to prepare them for marriage and motherhood.

Okay… hmm. (Is that, like, every guy’s dream or something?)

If you read the huge amount of endless stuff written about Sappho, you will find all of man –& woman –kind, coming up with all sorts of strange and sometimes seemingly farfetched ways to explain the life and times of Sappho. (And it’s interesting to note that here in contemporary times, where we value and identify with the individual, and so we believe that she was simply writing about her private erotic longings for other women, we could be furthest of all from understanding Sappho, who lived in an ancient era where the “group” was what personally identified people, not the individual.)

Anyway. I found it interesting that the particular translations of Sappho that I read yesterday were well-written but lacking in some of the intense passion I’ve read in other translations of her poetic fragments over the years.

And then in the same book, I read some translations of Baudelaire that I thought were awful. And they were translations written by Edna St. Vincent Millay, who was, you know, a substantial poet in her own right. But I found her translations to be the least moving translations of Baudelaire’s poems that I had ever read.  (My favorites are Louise Varese’s translations from the 1940s.)

And then, of course, I had to once again confront how we are sort of prisoners to whoever is translating the work we’re reading.

A few days ago, I once again took Love in the Time of Cholera from the bookshelf and toyed with the idea of reading it (I am still in love with that person I really should not be in love with and sometimes I’m okay with it and sometimes it just feels devastating).  And since we are in this unprecedented pandemic and since I am so incapable of not loving with every cell of my entire being, it seemed like an appropriate book to get lost in.

However, I didn’t want to break my heart even more…

But I am daily confronted with the fact that I simply cannot write right now. I can’t focus. I can’t find a thread in to any of my work. I can’t find the inspiration to begin something perhaps brand new. I am stuck. Completely. Day after day. Hour after hour.

This morning, I awoke at 4:29 AM and I was already crying.  And I cried all through breakfast.  I felt like I was never going to write again and that, based on what I had written so far (45 years worth of stuff), I was a complete failure. Whether or not it’s true, when you’re feeling that way, it’s real. And I cried through my little journalings at the kitchen table (my Inner Being dialogue today was brief and to the point: they told me to “step back, breathe” and: “do NOT dismantle your desires; step back and let them BE.”)

But still I cried when I began my morning meditation, which, you know, is not really the most productive frame of mind to go into meditation with, however, it actually was an incredible meditation. By the end of it, I had new tears, but they were of joy. I had a complete transformation.

Last evening, I actually had begun reading Love in the Time of Cholera because I simply could not resist the pull of it any longer, even though I have brand new books here waiting to be read, ones that I just bought. And this morning, it became apparent that I’m just going to have to ride out this pandemic in whatever way it finds me each day.I don’t really have a choice.

Early yesterday evening, during my now daily routine of pacing around the kitchen, at loose ends with myself while trying to watch another episode of DCI Banks, I came really, really close to just going out on to my porch and lighting up a  cigarette, drinking a  shot of whiskey, and then taking a sleeping pill to obliterate the rest of the night.

These are my old habits, but I outgrew them. I haven’t had them for years. I don’t need them anymore, but it is undeniable that I was intensely creative during those old habits; and yet… what I did instead last night was finally picked up Love in the Time of Cholera and just started to read, because if I’m going to die from a broken heart, I’d rather have clarity about it than be obliterated by it.

Oh well.

So if I end up not writing anything at all, but reading other people’s works all day long and on into the night, then that’s the way it is likely supposed to be right now.

(And I was also struck anew last evening by the recurring question of translators because the English translation of Love in the Time of Cholera (by Edith Grossman) is so exquisite, that I cannot even imagine what Marquez’s books are like in the original Spanish.)

So that’s where I am today. I’m resigned to keeping clear of my desk, to lying around and reading Marquez (in translation). And loving it. And loving my broken heart and everything that I love about who I love. And just letting life be, for now.

It is a beautiful day here. I will probably take a walk later this afternoon. Also do Booty Core. (I have to say, I am not a real big fan of Booty Core. I much prefer the yoga, which I do most of the time. But Booty Core saved my legs and my hip joints, so I’m gonna stick with it forever, a couple days a week.)

Yesterday, the item pictured below arrived! It was reduced for clearance, so I ordered it. It’s one of those flight bags that stores under the seat so, clearly, I’m planning on flying again — getting back to work once this pandemic moves on.

All righty, gang. Thanks for visiting. Have a great Thursday, however it finds you and wherever you are in the world. I leave you with this — a song I was thinking about the other day for the first time in decades, “Backstreet Girl” by The Rolling Stones, from their Between the Buttons album (and on Flowers in the US). It’s a stunning song, from over 50 years ago. That doesn’t mean I actually like it, but it is thought-provoking — the intense misogyny of it. And it’s weird that I’ve known all the words by heart since I was about 12.  Okay, with that — I love you guys. See ya.

“Backstreet Girl”

I don’t want you to be high
I don’t want you to be down
Don’t want to tell you no lie
Just want you to be around
Please come right up to my ears
You will be able to hear what I say
Don’t want you out in my world
Just you be my backstreet girl

Please don’t be part of my life
Please keep yourself to yourself
Please don’t you bother my wife
That way you won’t get no help
Don’t try to ride on my horse
You’re rather common and coarse anyway
Don’t want you out in my world
Just you be my backstreet girl

Please don’t you call me at home
Please don’t come knocking at night
Please never ring on the phone
Your manners are never quite right
Please take the favors I grant
Curtsy and look nonchalant, just for me
Don’t want you part of my world
Just you be my backstreet girl

©  1967 Jagger- Richards

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