"The writer has two kinds of faith: actual writing and sitting openly. Have faith in your personal effort or sweat. And faith in God, or whatever you want to call it. Then the voices will come. Faith is the big deal."
Details: ". . . To achieve what you've achieved, and to sustain it, takes a lot of endurance. Do you work out?" DV: "I do work out. And I am still smoking." Details: "Have you ever tried to quit?" DV: "No, I don't want to." Details: "What are all those stickers all over your cigarette pack?" DV: "I can't stand to read that smoke kills you. So I always have someone cover that part of the box."
How do you suppose you get a job being the person who puts stickers on Donatella Versace's cigarette packs? And do you think they're, like, Hello Kitty stickers?
I apologize to my faithful readers for blogging so infrequently of late. Everything is fine. However, I did back out of my condo contract several days ago because of an issue I couldn't reach a comfort level on. I'm disappointed but not at all devastated. I have faith I will find a home I like even better than that one. In fact, today I saw a place on Capitol Hill that I can't stop thinking about. I'm worried that it might be a rebound condo, though. Can you ever trust your feelings about the first relationship after a breakup?
Maybe for Halloween I could go as Piet Mondrian. The glasses in this photo, "Mondrian's Pipe and Glasses, Paris," which appears on the cover of a new Andre Kertesz book I just got a review copy of, are almost identical to mine.
Then again, maybe that's not such a good idea . . .
Piet Mondrian (without glasses)
Here's another striking Kertesz photo -- of the photographer's brothers, Jeno and Imre.
"Hey, Bullman, Wanna Spin Me Around the Dance Floor?"
A letter to the editor in today's Washington Postthat I found amusing on a couple of levels:
"As Sen. George Allen endeavors to portray himself to Virginia voters as a cowboy ['Will Sen. Allen's Cowboy Boots Fit Virginia Voters?' Metro, Oct. 8], I am reminded of an insight by eminent psychologist Robert A. Johnson, who commented on those who take the cowboy as their most virile symbol of maleness: 'Half of that word (cow) is feminine; the other half(boy) is immature. Why not bullman?' "
Yesterday in the car I heard a song on WMZQ that I'm sure I haven't heard in more than six years. (This always happens -- my favorite songs are rarely the ones that get played ad nauseam.) It's a Martina McBride song called "Love's the Only House," and it was a country hit for about a week in early 2000.
That happened to be the same week that I rented a house in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, to write. My ex -- at the time, my current -- came out for the first weekend with our two dogs, then he and our basset, Jake, left while I stayed for the rest of the week with our basset-beagle, Fred, who was 13 and having major health problems.
Something tells me I may have blogged about this already, but it turned out to be a really lovely time for me and Fred, just the two of us (he had been my ex's dog for years and then entered my life when we started dating; by now we were living together). It was an enormous house that slept a dozen people or something, but it was just me and Fred. In the morning, I'd stoke the fire in the wood stove and write on the couch, Fred curled up beside me. In the afternoon, we'd take a break and drive into town. I'd get a coffee beverage and a Washington Post and walk around a bit with him. There's a cute picture of Fred standing in front of the bandstand that I would scan in if I had a scanner.
Just about every day in the car, I'd hear this song, "Love's the Only House," and I came to really love it. (I have one of Martina McBride's early CDs, Wild Angels, which is an excellent country album, but since then she's degenerated into mostly crossover schmaltz -- though her most recent, Timeless, a collection of covers of classic country songs, was well received and I could see myself considering buying it someday.) At night, I'd listen to the radio as I cooked dinner -- as this was West Virginia, there was a wide selection of country stations to choose from -- and would hear the song several times again over the course of the evening.
The lyrics don't make much sense as a whole, but I like the refrain -- "Love's the only house big enough for all the pain in the world" -- and it's got a good beat (you can dance to it!).
I'll always associate the song with that precious week in the cavernous country house with Fred -- the first animal I ever loved -- who passed away four months later. (Jake, whom we had for less than a year, was put down two months after that . . . but that's another, tragic story.)
So what song do I hear again in my car today? "Love's the Only House." I guess the station leaves its CDs lying around instead of putting them back in the CD tower, just like I do.
*** Speaking of houses, I completed the loan process on my condo this week, and the inspection will take place on Wednesday. I'll probably settle in early to mid-December, though the date hasn't been set yet. Here's another glimpse -- intentionally tantalizing in its selectivity. ;) It's a view from the patio into the living room; my agent is sitting there on the phone. I'm very excited.
"Confidence Is Manly. The Rest Is Just Stuff About Cars."
That line is from today's column by one of my favorite professional advice givers, Carolyn Hax. The letter that prompts that response starts out, "I've just been rejected by a woman who claims I won't get anywhere with women because I'm not masculine enough." The letter and the full text of Hax's pithy and apt reply can be found here.
Speaking of timely, pointed commentary on the sorry state of the world . . . my pal the proprietor of La Garganta del Diablo has come upon some great (and not-so-great) bumper stickers. Honk if you agree. _______
Back from a solo Saturday-night visit to R's for two-stepping. A frustrating night -- I didn't dance at all and didn't stay long. When it's a good night, I love it. When there are few familiar faces and those I do recognize or vaguely know seem to be assiduously avoiding eye contact with me and I'm too intimidated to ask certain ones (whether from that group or not) and all of the leaders seem to be waiting for the followers to ask them to dance (how weird is that?) but not, apparently, for me . . . then not so much.
I'm a little addicted to R's and have been proud of myself not only for making huge strides as a dancer but also for venturing there on my own sometimes and even making friends (none of whom were there tonight, as noted above). But tonight as I left, I decided maybe I should pull back for a while. Why go so often when the cliquishness of so many people there -- not everyone but many -- aggravates me so?
As I waited at L'Enfant Plaza, my transfer stop, one of those new trains with ads on the outside pulled in. This is what the first train that came to a stop in front of me said:
Don't Take Fear for an Answer. And the next train:
One Step Forward. Two Steps Forward.
It always stuns me when something like that happens. The universe really does pay attention.
It reminds me of the day I got my tattoo (an experience that engendered neither fear nor regret). Afterward, I got into my car and turned on the radio. There was some boring talk, so I switched to the country station. Here are the lyrics that came out of my radio at exactly the point I switched to that station.
Well I might go get me a new tattoo or Take my old Harley for a three day cruise Might even grow me a fu man chu And it's a great day to be alive I know the sun's still shinin' when I close my eyes There's some hard times in the neighborhood But why can't every day be just this good?
Yesterday morning, while I was waiting at the bus stop in the pouring rain, a man walked by down 16th Street, balancing an open umbrella and a bowl of cereal, which he was eating with a spoon as he walked. For some reason, it felt like a very British scene, like something out of Benny Hill. (Frankly, he looked ridiculous.)
*** Tomorrow morning I'm making an offer on a condo, the culmination of a journey that started actively in June of last year, then took a hiatus and began again this summer -- but that's only the most literal, real-estate journey, a subset of my larger journey of shaping a new life after . . . well, you know . . . which began more than three years ago. The place I've found and hope I get feels right. Wish me luck. I will write more about it if the offer is accepted.
A question I posed to my friend D last Friday: Will we ever see the day when a public official comes out of the closet notin a cloud of scandal?
The Mark Foley affair reminds me all too much of the Catholic-priest scandal. When will gay people with political or other ambitions in the public eye (hello, Hollywood) realize that nothing -- no money, no fame, no power -- is worth the corrosion of the soul (and of others' lives) that the closet breeds?