Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Pina Bausch

I've been thinking about this poem all day since I read about the death of Pina Bausch and watched clips from her work on youtube.

The Summer Day
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean—
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life? - Mary Oliver

You can see the rest of this piece here.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Egon Was Wrong

Dave Eggers talks optimistically about print, the internet and the viability of newspapers.
To some extent all the doom about the printed word is a class thing. Wealthier kids who can afford their own phones and computers are probably spending more time online and in some cases, less time with books, but the kids we work with are honestly pretty enamored of books and newspapers. It means a lot to them to have their work between two covers, an actual book that they can see on a shelf next to other books. There’s a mystique about the printed word. And the students who come into 826 every day really read. These middle schoolers have read everything. Judy Blume came into the center in San Francisco one day, and she was mobbed. Fifty kids swarmed her. They practically tackled her. Same thing with Daniel Handler, who writes the Lemony Snicket books. These are by and large kids whose parents immigrated here from Latin America, and English isn’t spoken at home. But they’ve read all thirteen Lemony Snicket books. So I have optimism about print because I see these kids and how much they love to read. And they work on our student newspapers and anthologies and a dozen other print projects. They really have a thing for print. And I do too. I fear sometimes we’re actually giving up too soon. We adults have to have faith. And we have to rededicate ourselves to examining what in any given issue of our daily papers is really speaking to anyone under 18.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Fractured Fairy Tales: Not Quite Happily Ever After

We knew it couldn't be true, didn't we?

Didn't we?

Some day la la la la...

...la dee da la dee da la dee da da da.

Well...maybe some of us didn't.

I thought about this picture this morning when I realized that several of the women in my exercise class look remarkably similar. As in I couldn't tell them apart. As in even after I stared at them for several minutes. Which makes me wonder about the aesthetics of plastic surgery - does each doctor have his or her own personal signature? You can tell a Rembrandt from a Da Vinci, no? So taking into account the limitations of the materials themselves, every doctor would presumably have an individual style based on his or her surgical skills and personal aesthetics and of course, of course, taking into account what the client wants. But I'm just wondering, ultimately, whose vision gets realized?

The photo is part of Dina Goldstein's Fallen Princess series. You can see more of her work here.
The project was inspired by my observation of three-year-old girls, who were developing an interest in Disney's Fairy tales. As a new mother I have been able to get a close up look at the phenomenon of young girls fascinated with Princesses and their desire to dress up like them. The Disney versions almost always have sad beginning, with an overbearing female villain, and the end is predictably a happy one. The Prince usually saves the day and makes the victimized young beauty into a Princess. - Dina Goldstein

Friday, June 12, 2009

Hot Fun

It has arrived. Summer break. School's out. Yesterday was the first day and I barely survived. There was screaming and tantrum throwing and biting and refusing to eat food except for cereal and oh I'm so bored there's nothing to do and chasing each other around the house and jumping on the bed and refusing to take naps and looking for lost stuffed doggies CARTER HAS IT CARTER HAS IT and opening up the bedroom window and talking to the birds instead of napping a whole hour of not napping and then falling asleep and watching Scooby Doo and making up a board game and fighting about who's going to carry the water and the snacks when we go out and geocaching and grocery shopping and begging for Fruity Pebbles and Cinnamon Toast Crunch because there's a Lego car inside What? This isn't a really a Lego and they only print all those cars on the box to make you think that there's going to be different ones inside but it's only the same car and getting the lego car out of the excessive packaging and riding bikes and taking a bath and playing babies and complaining about wearing a sweater and reading books and cleaning up toys and making noodle soup for dinner and carrot soup for lunch and protests about eating leftover mac and cheese and how much liquid it actually takes to revive the sad, slightly fading orangeness of the stuff and going to the CSA for our vegie basket and more fighting and more tantrums and more biting and losing the lego car and then cupcakes CUPCAKES I'M NOT WAITING I'M EATING MINE NOW MOM SHE'S NOT WAITING SHE'S EATING HERS NOW THAT'S NOT POLITE MOM MOM MOM I'M TOO HUNGRY I CAN'T WAIT I'M EATING MY CUPCAKE NOW NOW NOW and fighting and biting and a time out for the 2yr old and playing instead of getting ready for bed and brushing teeth and playing instead of going to sleep and finally finding the missing stuffed doggie CARTER HAS IT CARTER HAS IT and reading stories about fairies and good dogs and hair pulling and giggling and slaps in the face and kicks in the head and snuggling. It's morning. And it starts all over again.