Tag Archives: Sharon Olds The Father

A Lovely Little Morning in Crazeysburg!

Wow, gang. The temperature dipped down into the 50s Fahrenheit, making for just a delightful little morning here. I could still keep some of the windows open during the night, but also get snuggly in bed. Perfect sleeping weather.

And now the sun is shining and the birds are chirping and it just feels like a perfect morning.

I got good work done on the edits of Peitor’s new book yesterday — still have a few days worth of work ahead of me, though. But he’s written a really cool book —  a really engaging read, so I don’t mind editing it at all.

And when I wasn’t editing, I was continuing to read Sharon Olds’ collection of poems, The Father. And even though it is extremely well written, and some very arresting imagery is expressed (it’s a collection of poems chronicling the death of her father), I just kept going right back to Anne Sexton’s Complete Poems. She just inspires me to the moon and back, you know? And she’s really moving me along in Letter #8 for Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse.

It’s weird because this is certainly not the first time I’ve read Anne Sexton’s poems, or even The Complete Poems — Wayne and I had that book, back when I was still married to him, back in NYC. And I used to read it.  But for whatever reason, right now, I am totally hooked into it. Totally. Can’t put her poems down.

And even while she is not the aforementioned “Muse” I’m writing to (i.e., “erotic love letters to the Muse”), she is definitely “musing” me right along right now. And I am really enjoying that flow.

I’m reading the Sharon Olds collection specifically because I began reading an academic book that focuses on how the “confessional- style” poets Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath, Adrienne Rich, and Sharon Olds deal with the themes of father-daughter incest in their poetry.

(After Anne Sexton’s death, a previous psychiatrist of hers, violating the mandate of doctor-patient confidentiality,  released Anne’s private transcripts to the world (via a book about Anne’s life), revealing that she may have been the victim of incest with her father when she was growing up, and also that Anne herself had engaged in incestuous behavior with one of her daughters — with which that particular daughter concurred, later, in her own memoir.)

Sharon Olds doesn’t seem to have had that issue to contend with in her life, but some of the ideas she touches on in The Father poems could be construed as exploring a certain sexual energy, for lack of a better way of explaining it.  But, to me, it feels more like a human energy, a “thought-exploration” that opens all kinds of doors inside a woman’s mind when someone she loves has died. I certainly wouldn’t describe it as “incest” or even truly “Oedipal”, for that matter.

I’ve read a lot of Sylvia Plath in my life, but not a lot of Adrienne Rich poems, for some reason. But I still found that academic book (mentioned above) highly interesting because the incest theme is certainly a huge part of my own life and my writing (my biological father, not my adoptive one).  And the book did sort of indicate that, in regards to that specific theme in my life, I definitely seem to have never grown up. (I am paraphrasing, hugely.) But in that same regard, based on the author’s conclusions about Anne Sexton and Anne’s approach to that topic in her own work — and drawing from Freud and that whole crowd — neither one of us really grew up.

It could be that my intense immaturity is why I find Anne Sexton’s poems so inspiring! (I do, of course, jest.) (I think.)

Anyway. I appear to be deep into some sort of digression here.  Not sure how that happened. One minute, I was talking about the lovely weather, then the next minute, I was talking about incest…

But that’s just the splendiferous joy of spending time in Marilyn’s Room. We never know where my digressions will take us!!

Meanwhile…

Wow, I really enjoyed that movie I mentioned yesterday Behind the Curtain (1929). I finished streaming it last evening, and it did indeed have Charlie Chan in it — midway through, the location switches to San Francisco and that is where Charlie Chan is living at that point. AND, I might add, they had an actual Chinese actor playing Charlie Chan!! Something they don’t seem to have ever again done, until some remake in the early 1980s, or something like that.

Plus, Boris Karloff puts in an appearance, as well — playing a Persian manservant (!!).  But overall, I just felt the story was really good, really engaging. I mean the morals are outdated, but the storyline was really good for its era.  It was certainly a much deeper film than any of the Charlie Chan one-hour movies that Hollywood began making in the 1930s, when Warner Oland began starring as Charlie Chan. (And the Charlie Chan movies get even more formulaic after Warner Oland died and Sidney Toler was playing Charlie Chan — well in the 1940s. It gets to the point when I can no longer even watch them; they just become paper-thin.)

Anyway, Behind the Curtain was a nice surprise.

Overall, I had just a wonderful day and evening yesterday. Today, I’m scheduled to work again with Peitor on Abstract Absurdity Productions stuff. Plus chat with Valerie about design-related stuff for my upcoming novel The Guitar Hero Goes Home.

Which reminds me… I was chatting on the phone with my ex-husband, Wayne, in NYC, the other day. And he was commenting on a sample of the cover art I had texted him for The Guitar Hero Goes Home. Apparently, he had gone onto Amazon to see if the novel was for sale yet, and he told me he was kind of astounded by how many of my books are for sale on Amazon…

Well, this astounded me because nowadays I have only two-pages on Amazon, mostly for out of print books or for eBooks. Whereas, even just a few years ago, I had a couple dozen pages, and most of my books, from all over the world, were still in print.

Wayne commented to me, “Wow, you’ve really done a lot of writing.’

And then I thought, like: Wow, where were you the entire time we were married? You know? I was publishing tons of stuff the entire time we were married. I was winning literary awards all over the fucking place. Giving readings all the time — and not just in NYC, but in Boston, Cambridge, LA, London, Paris. I was using my advance money from publishers in Europe to take us on great vacations. And I was always, always, always working on one publishing project or another the entire time we were married.

It felt shocking to me that he seems to have no recollection of this. And it makes me wonder who he remembers being married to for 14 years, you know? It was actually kind of upsetting to me, but I didn’t say anything. We’re not married anymore, and haven’t been since 2007. There’s no reason to even go there, right?

However, it did sort of renew that feeling in me that the work women do is never deemed as important as what the men are doing. At least, in my marriage it felt that way.

Although, when I left Wayne and began living with Mikey Rivera, it was just so different. Mikey was unbelievably supportive of my writing — of every single thing I wrote. He was an under-educated Puerto Rican plumber, raised in a Brooklyn ghetto, but he was just so proud of my being a writer. And during those early years with him, I really began to write some of my best work.

Anyway. Life goes on.

So, I’ll close this now and get Saturday happening here! Thanks for visiting, gang. I was listening to the Essential Nina Simone last night while drifting in and out of sleep — and, eventually,  I was dead to the world as it played on into the darkness and turned itself off.

What a great collection! I’ll just randomly leave you with her version of a BeeGees’ song I’ve always loved, “To Love Somebody.” Listen and enjoy, but the entire selection is just stellar. And have a great Saturday, wherever you are in the world, gang! I love you guys. See ya!

 

Have A Great Memorial Day Weekend!

If you live Stateside, that is!

If not, then, well, just have a great weekend.

Here, today should be even more beautiful than yesterday was — and yesterday was kind of unbelievable, gang. Hence, I never managed to get onto the blog and post anything.  I did get a good bunch of edits done on The Guitar Hero Goes Home yesterday, but other than that, I just didn’t want to be at my desk.

My breathing is FINALLY back to 100% and I just wanted to be out in the sunshine.

This is the weekend that I usually plant my flowers. But I’m not 100% sure I want to go get the flowers today, since this whole area has come out of lockdown and, even though we still need to wear masks and only a certain number of people are allowed in the stores at one time, there will likely still be a crowd at the store since the weather will be ideal for gardening and yard work, etc. And that means waiting in a long line to get inside.

So I might just wait until Tuesday, when the holiday weekend is over. But I’m feeling that having my flowers out and about will make it feel like life is finally back to (the new) normal around here.

Nick Cave sent out a very brief Red Hand Files reply-thingy yesterday — it was quite cute, and heavily implied that we should not kowtow to the cat… (You can read it at the link there, it should take you about 4.6 seconds.)

And speaking of cats — every one of them was just so happy around here, yesterday. It was just so sunny and warm, they were having the best time at all the open windows. (And so was I — I love the way this house feels when all the windows are open again.)

Well, for some reason, I’ve been in a real poetry-reading mood around here lately. Even though I still have two books I’m in the middle of reading (Whatever Comes My Way: Travels in the Netherlands by my friend & colleague, Roger Gaess; and The Judas Brief: A Critical Investigation into the Arrest and Trials of Jesus and the Role of the Jews by Gary Greenberg), I’ve just been wanting to read poetry.

Currently, I’m reading Anne Sexton’s Live or Die (1966 — winner of the Pulitzer Prize); Sharon Olds (The Father: Poems (1992) and Strike Sparks: Selected Poems 1980-2002); and The Poems of Octavio Paz (English translation -2018).

And, since I long ago ran out of Mr. Moto movies to stream, I switched over to the Charlie Chan movies. I have seen all of the Charlie Chan movies that star either Warner Oland or Sidney Toler a bazillion times. I love these movies. (Racial stereotypes galore, notwithstanding.)

Out of the couple of dozens of Charlie Chan movies made, my favorites are the ones from the mid-1930s, that starred Warner Oland, and often Keye Luke as his son.  Charlie Chan in Egypt (1935) is great — if you can come to terms with Stepin Fetchit (the actor, Lincoln Perry’s, stage name). It helps to not try to lay contemporary cultural standards over top of these movies from 90 years ago.  If you’re not able to do that, than just don’t even try to watch these films. Otherwise, Charlie Chan in Paris (also 1935) is also really good, followed closely by Charlie Chan on Broadway (1937).

All of these movies were only an hour long and low budget and relied heavily on stock footage, which is one of my favorite things about these films. Actual footage of Luxor and the Valley of the Kings; of Paris, and of Broadway from the mid-1930s. Pre-WWII and moving out of the Great Depression. I especially love the footage of Paris.

Which reminds me — I decided to continue studying French, now that I have the Mondly app for another year. It seemed to me that it would actually be useful to me, instead of undertaking an entirely new language just to do it, without any reason to think I would actually ever use the language anywhere. At least my new friends in Switzerland speak French, so I will have reason to use it all the time.

The Mondly app also lets you have conversations with it and can correct your accent. So far, my accent has been reasonably good! You can hear yourself have the conversation with the app, which is a native-speaker of the language you’re studying. So you can actually hear your own accent immediately. It is a really fun app. However, if you’re trying to seriously learn a language from scratch and are only using the app, I’m not sure how effective it actually is.

Well, anyway! I’m yet again “studying” French — which means 52 years now of “studying” it. Perhaps I should have the epitaph on my tombstone be en francais!! That way, when I stand in front of my own tombstone, in Spirit, I can look at it and cry out: “What does it say??!! I don’t speak French! I’m still studying it!!”

Perhaps I should have the epitaph read:

Qu’est-ce que ça dit? Je ne parle pas français. (“What does that say? I don’t speak French.”)

And then when some non-French-speaking person happens upon my grave here in Crazeysburg, looks at my tombstone and says: “What does that say? I don’t speak French.” I can stand next to them (in Spirit), chuckle softly and say to them: “Au contraire — apparently you do!”

All righty!! Let’s get this day happening here, okay? Thanks for visiting, gang. Have a terrific Saturday, wherever you are in the world!! I love you guys. See ya!