Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Drinking Cocktails With Lee Krasner
For Christmas one year, my friend Angela gave me a container of Chinese fortune sticks, billed as "The Oldest Known Method of Fortune Telling in the World." The sticks resemble skinny blood-stained tongue decompressors with writing on them. Most of the fortunes range from mildly ominous to downright awful. Every now and again, a good one pops out of the can like today: "A friend has traveled far and from this you will both benefit." It's better than yesterday's: "Someone you trust is a secret enemy." The sticks are For Ages 8 and Up, the kind of toy that I'd put in the category of my favorite children's books like one about Jackson Pollock that has illustrations of a very pissed off looking Pollock painting, drinking cocktails with Lee Krasner, and disturbing people with his work. The language is hysterical -- Some people may feel upset! It's not exactly Hop On Pop, thank God. And it also reminds me of my other favorite, a book for second graders on the Kennedy assassination that teaches kids to sound out conspiracy. It's objects like these that give me faith in the future.
And, of course, the fortune telling sticks are a nod to that vast expanse ahead of us that we cannot know except in hints from the next world. I took a meditation class once, the point of it being that we stay in the present moment and send loving thoughts to ourself and others. This was a while ago, and I couldn't focus on the present at all. I kept thinking about what I was going to do that night which was going out for drinks with friends and what I might order -- I had a propensity for screwdrivers in those days, before my stomach ulcer made orange juice verbotten. Then the teacher said, Take those loving thoughts and focus them on someone you really hate. This is an advanced form of yoga meditation, she told us, something that would help heal the world. I forget the name for this, but I tried it. Weirdly, it was easier to conjure up these feelings than the vague loving sentiments for people for which I already felt fondness. That was the only class in meditation I ever took, but I think about it sometimes, my mind as scrambled as any Pollock painting, wishing for the end of the day where we'd go out for drinks with Lee Krasner, the future and the past bleeding together, the way it is and always will be.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Men do not mirror themselves in running water, they mirror themselves in still water. Only what is still can still the stillness of other things." Chuang Tzu
Drinking music suggestion: Songs for Lovers Chet Baker
Benedictions and Maledictions