Monday, January 12, 2015


NAMA - Statue of a sleeping Maenad 09
Photo by Marcus Cyron
via Wikimedia Commons
About a week ago, just after the start of the new year, I dreamt I was married and had a daughter*. But it seems I'd been neglecting my family, as well as my duties to our home. Not sure why; possibly because I pursued a career or simply my own entertainments, apart from them. A violent pang of remorse, and a deep desire to atone and reclaim my life, made me return to our home.

I went to my "husband" first. He was grimly unhappy with me. Hurt, somber. He was a tall, blond man, wiry, with a bit of scruff along his jaw and chin. He looked like a man who hadn't slept in God knows how long. He's not anyone I know in real life. I walked up to him, gingerly hugged him. I had to stretch and get up on my tiptoes to do it. He didn't resist me, but was slow to respond. He did eventually hold me, though. It was almost as though he surrendered to the inevitability of having me back.

I apologized for not being what I ought to have been to him and our daughter. He was quiet, wary, sad. But he loved me, he wanted me, and he was prepared to do what it took to mend things because we belonged to one another. His embrace went from passive to active, he held me closer, welcoming whatever I had to offer, even if it was more pain. I pressed a kiss, like a pledge, to the area of his face between his chin and cheek, and I loved the feel of his yielding flesh beneath my lips. Then I sagged in relief against him. Over his arm, I spied a home in dire need of attention, a sink overflowing with filthy dishes. Guilt for having shirked my responsibilities to those I loved, for so very long, overwhelmed me.

I searched for my daughter next. A matronly woman appeared, a babysitter or nanny. She eyed me with grave suspicion, and I couldn't blame her. I told her why I was there. The woman said my daughter feared me seeing her, worried that I'd be disappointed by her. From what my dream self could remember, she was really just a little girl, perhaps five, and that she could harbor such concerns puzzled me. I stood firm in my wishes and the woman took me to my daughter's room. I approached a crib, I think, and a small, blanketed figure was handed to me. But it wasn't human. It was a tiny Lego figure. That was my daughter—a thumb-sized, hard, plastic figure. I felt alarm, hysteria, but also a bewildered love. Had she become that way for want of me?

Capricho 43, El sueño de la razón produce monstruos
The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters
by Francisco Goya
I awoke soon after that discovery. Regret, shame weighed heavily upon me all that day. The suffering of my dream mate I could still feel, like a fog drifting around me. And the shock of seeing what had become of my daughter, I couldn't bear. Meaning grew, like ivy, taking over every thought. My husband was God, a Judeo-Christian omnipotent power, ready to forgive and welcome home the wayward sheep; the home in shambles really my notebooks, containing tales and songs half-done, gathering dust in their various stacks; my plastic daughter who'd failed to become real and thrive signified the talents I've been given and have failed to nurture ever since the fall of 2013. Or maybe she represents me: a woman made small, and immobilized, by depression...

...or do dreams even mean anything, at all? Back in college, a psych professor told me they were nothing but electrical activity in my brain, triggering memories that flashed in my mind's eye. Maybe that's so. Maybe we'll never know, either way. Perhaps we're not meant to be satisfied on the matter, but to ever wonder at the secrets we tell ourselves as we slumber...

*In reality, I'm a divorced mother of a teenaged son.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Another birthday pictorial...?

Night Hotel NY
...why, yes. Yes, it is. Because YOLO, as the Youth said in 2012.

I unintentionally turned inward in 2013, especially in the fall months. Perhaps that's why I opted for a solitary birthday celebration. If "celebration" is the word...I aimed to make 2014 the year of the Very Goth Birthday and didn't fall too wide of the mark.

I'd accrued a couple of free nights on (which I use to book all my work travel), so I checked into the Night Hotel NY (not to be confused with its sister hotel, the Night Hotel Times Square) (although both of them are pretty much in Times Square).

Mah room

I was running late the day I checked in (my actual birthday, December 21) and had to forgo one of my planned stops for the day, so I was in a bit of a snit as I stood in the lobby awaiting attendance. Though the ambiance was what I'd hoped for, the piped in music wasn't. "For fuck's sake," I grumbled to myself as my lip curled in a disgruntled sneer, "why are they playing this stupid dance shit? They should be playing The Cure, or Joy Division, or frigging Depeche Mode, or something." Thankfully, I could breathe a sigh of relief when I entered the blissful quiet of Mah Room.

It'd been a couple of years since I'd last visited the Museum of Sex so I betook myself there, verily. I couldn't help but note their earnest exhortation for guests' best behavior (pictured left) as I paid the entrance fee, but I told the cashier I wasn't making any promises. (Especially regarding that last bit, W00F.)

He didn't mean to turn me on, poor chap.
One of the exhibits was the darkly dirty and whimsical sex puppetry of Peruvian artist Ety Fefer called Grumildos (see image right). It was my fave of that particular visit, I only wish the artist had given us more scenes to enjoy...or, perhaps, made some for sale, so sick puppies like me could bring a scene home as a souvenir. You can see more (and infinitely better) pics of the installation by clicking here.

You'll be heartened to learn I found mine. (As it were.)

I'd looked forward to checking out the Funland: Pleasures and Perils of the Erotic Fairground installment but found it kind of meh. I thought the best (and spookiest) bit was The Tunnel of Love, in which one has to manage various twisty turns in the dark in search of the supposedly elusive clitoris.

I ambled about the MofS shop, then buggered off for some Burger King (lame for a birthday dinner, I know, but I so totally dig their onion rings and that spicy dipping sauce that accompanies them) and Cold Stone Creamery (the night was mild enough to enjoy the chocolate and crumbled Oreo goodness). I went to the 10:15pm showing of Michael Keaton's Birdman, which was brilliant and engrossing though not the lighthearted romp I'd anticipated (if I'd actually read the reviews, I'd've known "lighthearted" and "romp" were hardly appropriate descriptors for the film). It was about 1am, I think, by the time I trekked through a still active Times Square to get back to my hotel. I was emotionally exhausted from the movie ('cause I'm sensitive and whatnot) and feeling myself very alone. 

As I entered the hotel I spied the restaurant/bar and strolled over to check out the action. There wasn't any, though the bartender Licensed Mixologist was still there. I asked if the bar was closed and was delighted to learn drinks could still be had, 'cause I needed one. I ordered a Painkiller (again—so totally needed one), a cocktail composed of dark rum, pineapple and orange juices, cream of coconut, and a sprinkling of nutmeg.

As I sat and soaked up the atmosphere (and cocktail), I felt my shoulders sink down. Then I grinned broadly as the absolutely most appropriate song thundered from the bar's speakers—Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the Silence."

Enjoy the Silence by Depeche Mode on Grooveshark

One Painkiller, to go.
When I settled my bill for the one cocktail with my Mixologist, I jokingly asked if I could get one "to go" (back up to my room, that is). And the answer, to my surprise, was YES!

Next day I went for an indifferent breakfast at some bistro around the block (Bistro Around the Block would be a brilliant name for a restaurant, wouldn't it???), then headed up to the upper east side to the Metropolitan Museum of Art so I could check out the (what else?) Death Becomes Her exhibit. Offered by the Costume Institute, this installation featured mourning garb spanning a century from 1815 to 1915. Bombastic organ music played as one meandered through the beautifully attired mannequins. Quotes from periodicals, journals, and letters of the era were projected onto the wall, and the lighting was fittingly sombre. I certainly admired the remarkable work, but after two hours was ready to leave death to its own devices.

Toward the latter half of this time period,
sparkly dress in light mourning colors of mauve and purple were acceptable.

I admit to being all Gothed out and in need of cheer. So I did some shopping at Desigual, made a stop at Starbucks for my usual (a lovely, buttery Toffee Nut Latte), enjoyed a fish'n'chips dinner at the Cock and Bull (heh heh) with a Dark and Stormy drink, and did some more shopping at Barnes and Noble, where I picked up another Georgette Heyer to add to my collection. I capped the night with a different Licensed Mixologist who, upon learning it was my last night there, insisted we do shots of Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey. Now, I'm not really a whiskey drinker but DAYUM, that jazz was the bomb diggity, as the Youth said in...hell, I can't ever remember.

Right, so; that's all I got. Hope all y'all enjoyed every danged December holiday you cared about and wish you a happy, healthy, love-filled, and prosperous 2015.