Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday Night Frolic — Moments of Ambiguous Limpidity

A rare experience of a moment at daybreak, when something in nature seems to reveal all consciousness, cannot be explained at noon. Yet it is part of the day's unity.
~Charles Ives

Internet source unknown

Much of this week has been spent living in my headspending the better part of the week cavorting with a new laptop, nursing my sick son, formulating few words, but thinking, thinking quite a bit I might add, about all my little daily delusions (triggered, in part, by seeing Laurie Anderson's brilliant and disturbing Delusion in Providence last weekend) like, per se, a new piece of technology improving my lifeoffering me not only the luxury of computing at greater speed, but also, peace and happiness. No?

I had another thought about my delusions. And then I lost it. I assumed: if I write and write and write, dammit, I will find it. But I haven't.

In its absence, I've come up with a new mantra for decision making and weedingas in purging unnecessary anything from home and heart: How will this enhance my life?

An old, faded blouse that I no longer wear but can't part with because it's a designer pluck from Filene's Basement. How will this enhance my life?
Kid 1 asks if I'll help with a project. How will this enhance my life?
Kid 2 asks if I can drive him to a friend's house. How will this enhance my life?
Kid 1 asks if I would make some cookies for the bake sale. How will this enhance my life?

Ah! You see how deluded I am? I think my mantra will actually enhance my life. I think my mantra is something that can be realistically applied to everyday situations like it's the final word. Perhaps what I need to do is consider substitutes for the word enhancelike change, or stress, or screw-up or prolong or abbreviateand then deal with the answer, wherever it falls. But of course, this means that I  manipulate the answer by sculpting the question in furtherance of my fantasy.

Today I am deluded. Yesterday I was too. And tomorrow, I shall be again.

I wonder, if I spend enough time drooling over this laptop, with no thought other than my sudden awareness of being overly deluded, will I write something shrewd and comprehensible? (Oh yes! and my children will sit straight in their chairs and behave like perfect little adults in restaurants, and my car will run endlessly without an oil change, and the real estate market will bounce back soon, and the ceramic pots on the deck will not crack if left out all winter longwhich began, prematurely, overnight.)

It's like I've been humming a thin, discordant tune... its tinny truth aches. And more, it comforts.

Laurie Anderson is an American musician, artist, composer, poet, photographer and filmmaker. And something you may not know about her: she's NASA's first (and likely last) artist-in-residence, and is married to Lou Reed. Her work is at once provocative, humorous, jarring, thoughtful, creepy, intelligent and inspiring. Lately, she's been peeling away the layers of our collective misconceptions and scraping fatuous seeds from its core.

From her most recent album, Homeland:

And from her Big Science album:

You can read more about Anderson's multi-media show Delusion, here. And here, a short video about the show.


  1. Well I stopped in at the Body Shop, said to the guy: I want stereo FM installed in my teeth and take this mole off my back and put it on my cheek.

    How will this enhance my life?

  2. Gosh, I'm still click clacking away on an old macbook. Makes me want to treat myself to a new laptop!

  3. I missed one of your postssomewhere. I must go back and read it.
    It will definitely enhance my life.

    p.s. I love your new profile pic. Just beautiful.

  4. Might it be a Libra thing to be always seeking (deludedly) for that one simple mantra (that looks perfect at daybreak and flaky by noon)? I have a little basket full of them written onto cards, but it seems that each works only for a few minutes once in its life. That doesn't stop me, though.

  5. Our friend JES would call Laurie Anderson's work haunting, wouldn't he? She's a lovely thing. These vids sent me back to youtube for some old Lou Reed, a walk on the wild side. That was trippy, too.

    My mantra for cutting through delusion: "Just do the next right thing." And, as long as I don't obsess about it--or even think about it--it seems to work out well enough.

  6. Jayne, this post has got me thinking…if it weren’t for delusions I’d have no courage at all. “Things are as they should be.” This is my mantra… my umbilical which keeps me from being lost in outer space. If I click my heals together three times and repeat…perhaps. Ah, the delusions return;)

    I love the vulnerability of this post Jayne. There’s a connective nature to it…that discordant tune sounds oh so familiar. Could you hum a few bars for me?

  7. Munk- I'd say it depends on what kinds of tricks the cheeky mole will play... like, take pictures, perhaps? That's a pretty cool enhancement! ;)

  8. Sandra- Well, this baby is my very first Mac. And aside from the fact that it's messing up my internet connection, I'm so loving it. :)

  9. Nessa- Ha- Don't go too far back--won't find any enhancing there.

    And the pic--I took it with my MacBook photo booth! I'm going to have trouble keeping my kids away from this sleek little monster. ;)

  10. Penelope- Absolutely! And a sanity thing. Although, yes it's very flaky!-- an entirely self-centered mantra-- not at all practical, never mind conscientious.

    A deck stacked with daily mantra cards... now that is a very good idea. And I'll bet they're beautifully illustrated, as well. ;)

  11. Nance- I wanted to use that word--haunting! But I felt I needed to exercise self-control with the adjectives. She's the kind of artist for which I could really go overboard.

    I wanted to post a video of a Reed/Anderson performance but I couldn't find one of good quality--but they're out there on youtube, if you haven't stumbled upon them already. (I have a special affection for Lou Reed and one of his little songs.)

    "Just do the next right thing" --assuming one knows what that is... I know, I know! --don't think about it too much.

  12. aww...this is a lovely post, very personal and similar to my way of thinking...
    i used to want to burn an effigy of laurie anderson years ago, mainly because i hated lou reed and his faux junkie crud, but i got over it one night after listening to a few of her toons and thought, shoot, this is good stuff...
    oh and welcome to the wunnerful mac world...they are damn fine puters...aint had a virus or trojan horse hit me yet...and i do visit some questionable sites hehe

  13. Leah- The link here is the one I said I'd email to you... I'll send it anyway (and there are others...).

    Yes, delusions--thank you for pointing out--are not all bad. Our deluded thoughts might take us to places we ordinarily dare not tread. Once there, well, who knows what can happen!

    Things are as they should be. (Click, click, click.) I'm humming... ;)

  14. Dan- Funny--I asked an Apple expert when someone might crack the code for the front door. Think about the hackers who'd love that sort of recognition! Just my luck some sickly thing will pass through the door right after I've made myself comfortable. But I'm not buying any virus protection, yet! No, no, it can't happen, right?

    Anderson hadn't been on my radar in years. A friend called to ask if I'd join her, and I immediately thought of "O Superman" and the 80's, and this wild performance artist I remembered. Well, it was fantastic, a visual feast, but a lot to digest. She'll be staying on the radar for a good long time. ;)

  15. I have yet to figure out how the mundane tasks enhance my life.

    Let me know.;)

  16. I think the enhancement of life is the sum of everything it contains. And we always sculpture the answers, don't we >:)

    Cold As Heaven

  17. Oh yes, delusions. So necessary for a happy life until they fall crashing at your feet. Then marvel at your stupidity and naivety.

    My personal mantra is 'this is only temporary'.

  18. I hope your laptop enhances your life...don't know what I'd do without mine. :)

  19. Antares- I'm not sure I'll ever know myself. And if I figure it out, maybe I'll write the book. ;)

  20. Cold- I think you got it right. We do get there, to whatever enhanced (I hope) place that is, one way or another, having pretty much done most of the molding (regardless of how sticky or dry it may have been), excepting, perhaps, the early years--can't deny that.

  21. Ellen- "This is only temporary." I say that a lot when it comes to my kids. Then I fling my head around and in surprise and cry, Wow! This was much too temporary! Where'd it go!

  22. Elizabeth- New laptop + classes ought to do the trick. At least in terms of technological enhancement. Driving to class, however, will not enhance my life, but the class itself will. The things we must do to do... ;)

  23. First, how did I not know Laurie Anderson was married to Lou Reed - who else could either possibly be married to? Next, did you know Lou Reed and Metallica have collaborated on an (as I still call them) album?

    My mantra (or one of them) has become the reminder to self to simply find and act upon the next indicated thing. If I ever possessed the ability to plan, it has left me. And I have begun to suspect that "I don't know" is the truth and the most honest thing we can say in practically every situation. My other, not mantra but perhaps rap on the side of the head, is, "I have what I need to do what I'm here to do." Meanwhile, that assignment unfolds itself one indicated thing at a time. Until it does, I don't know. Wishing you clarity and a quiet mind. xo

  24. Marylinn- I know, it makes perfect sense, the two of them seemed just destined to be together. I learned of the Reed/Metallica collaboration only recently when I searched for Reed's website. It didn't strike me quite right and I haven't sampled anything yet, but I'll be back to his site for that.

    I do like your mantra: act upon the next indicating thing. It's so very reasonable. You know, when I look back, I realize that I often had trouble saying "I don't know." I don't think I liked to admit that. But there is SO much I don't know! Growing up and older is freeing that way--I hear myself saying "I don't know" quite often now.

    Your assignments always unfold with great clarity. It's a joy to see them unwrapped. ;)

  25. this is a great post, for many reasons but then i get to the end and i am left wondering what it is like to be singer/artist in residence married to lou reed. i hope you get your laptop, new friends are hard to find.

  26. Margie- Welcome! Glad you enjoyed the read. Anderson and Reed are an interesting couple aren't they? Imagine their conversations. I'd love to be the proverbial fly-on-the-wall any night at their place.

    My new laptop is serving me well. She's been a very good friend thus far! ;)