Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Form of His Sacrifice

We are all stardust, the priest said last night as I sat in mass attending the Ash Wednesday service. For reasons I didn't understand, I was feeling weepy and strange, strung-out and a little hopeless, and the thought made me smile for the first time that day. I like the idea of stardust far better than regular dust -- a priest who can make things glitter -- that's my kind of priest! I knew I was in the right place. You are defined by the cross you are carrying, he said. Give it to God. I thought about a book I have with pictures of Southern writers in their work spaces and my favorite shot is Walker Percy in his bed with a crucifix over his head. The body of Christ is actually the crucifix. There's no tree -- Jesus has taken the form of His sacrifice. The rest of the room is spare, like that of a monk. Unlike Mr. Percy, I never write in bed and my work space glitters, more like stardust.

One of my favorite Woody Allen movies is Stardust Memories. Charlotte Rampling plays Woody's most disturbed and beautiful girlfriends (he has three in the movie -- Go Woody!). Woody defends his relationship to a friend, saying that for a day out of the month, she is the most perfect woman in the world. He's willing to sacrifice the other 29 days a month for that one day. Louis Armstrong's "Stardust Memories" plays during the scenes of this rapture, which don't include sex, but merely suggest a strong emotional connection -- reading the paper, smiling at each other, drinking coffee. I suppoe the question becomes how much we would sacrifice for the things we love and those moments of glittering perfection, like a diamond earring I once lost in the snow. I despaired -- I'd never find it in all that beautiful white! But I spotted it as if it were an imperfection. For a minute, I felt as if anything were possible and put that earring back into the hole in my ear that felt as if it had always been there, but in fact, the piercing had been my own doing and the filling of that hole with something beautiful and lost, if only for a moment, seemed nothing short of miraculous.

Michelle's Spell of the Day

"on a hot day/ mayonnaise is supposed to kill you/ that's what my aunt told me/ she also told me/ never to go out without my wallet/ in case I got killed/ they'd need to identify the corpse." Sam Shepard, Motel Chronicles

Cocktail Hour

Drinking reading suggestion: Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape Susan Brownmiller -- you're going to need a drink for this one, the first definitive study of the history of rape. Published in 1977, it's still brilliant and timely.

Benedictions and Maledictions

Happy Thursday!

46 Days until The Sopranos airs!


Rodney Dangerfield said...

Ash Wednesday. Yeah, I remember that one. To me, religion is much too commercialized nowadays. For instance, I'm surprised that they don't have gas stations of the cross, if you know what I mean.

Sheridan Baker said...

Those pictures behind you look familiar. The only jazz club I've ever been to is The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor. I prefer classical music, Michelle.

Rodney Dangerfield said...

I prefer Ravel's Ballero, if you know what I mean.

miller580 said...

"We are all stardust, the priest said last night as I sat in mass attending the Ash Wednesday service."

Great first line!

Charles Gramlich said...

I once found a diamond ring in the parking lot of a bar for much the same reason. I did find a few discarded pop tops first, though. It was best to search for it in dimmer light.

the walking man said...

bWithout the context of the's a line Joni Mtchell wrote in the song Woodstock,except if I remember correctly she didn't include the word "all."

I too like the idea of stardust as opposed to regular dust which except for the internal works of my pc and TV screen I never bother to clean, I am hoping to collect enough of the stuff to make short field of mud in my living room so some guys can come in and play mudfootball with the dog.

I'll just have to do it when the old lady is on a trip...a very long trip because the only way i would know how to clean that mess up is get the 6 horse power washer out.

Now that is one cross I would give to God, but He tells me he doesn't do housework, he has jars of clay for that. Yes that is a biblical metaphor

"The body of Christ is actually the crucifix."

You know Michelle, I think you actually are on to something with that thought, the medium of his death was not important, if it were today it would be lethal injection, or stoning, or torn apart by an angry mob. Very astute observation that I never really thought on before in that specific way. thank you for giving me something new to ponder.

"...the question becomes how much we would sacrifice for the things we love and those moments of glittering perfection..."

Christ sacrificed his life, but how many of us are that giving?

Everyone wants to say whatever it took but I say nothing because a moment or a day of glittering perfection is just another day the next one might be shit and to them that I love I have already given everything, my love.

Cheri said...

1230-2.. don't forget!

I'm telling you, she will shit her pants. =D

Dan said...

Michelle, this is one of my favorite posts.

Isn't all of life a bit like Charlotte Rampling? We're willing to settle for crap x days during the month in order for those 30-x days of perfection or near perfection to shine through?

paul said...


JR's Thumbprints said...

For some strange reason, when I think of glitter, I think of Mariah Carey. Glitter will never be the same to me. Also, what's so special about her on the cover of Playboy if there's nothing more revealing in the pages? She doesn't add or give anything to the magazine. No strong emotional connection there.

Brynne said...

I was going to go to mass, but instead I went out to eat and had two glasses of wine and a baileys and coffee.

Fitting for me as of late.

Sheila said...

oh shit was it fat tuesday and ash wednesday already? Oh, yeah that's right, I had the flu. My bad. Beautiful picture Michelle! Lovely as always!