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Archive for November, 2006

The Time of Total Non-Reality

November 29, 2006 By: admin Category: Uncategorized

This is what I call the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. During this period it seems that every otherwise reasonable person turns into a stark, raving lunatic and all I want to do is run away to a sunny tropical island and hold my breath until it’s all over. Truly, though, this was my mother’s problem. My MOTHER became a stark, raving lunatic. Maybe it was the unpredictable nature of any arrival by my brother, or maybe it was the anticipation of having all of us, the Fab Four, back together again. Mom wasn’t ever the same after the family “broke up” when Michael left for college.

I wasn’t the favorite. I was the female. In households headed-up by Latin mothers, The Eldest/The Boy is The Heir Apparent. All others need cater and keep silent. And if you’re The Girl, then you are additionally expected to be All Other Things: servant, maid, emotional caretaker. This is not me complaining, by the way, this is me explaining. I no longer wish to hide certain truths from certain folks, i.e., anyone close enough to me to care enough about reading this blog.

The favoritism thing wasn’t anyone’s fault and wasn’t all that bad. My mother, by cultural origin, had no choice, and my father was blinded by the same powerful, Apollo-like, Golden Boy rays that came off Michael that we all were. Michael was… an angel. He still is. He’s just lost a few of his feathers.

I joked with someone yesterday that for the first 15 years of my life my name was “Michael Prichard’s Little Sister.” He was something of a celebrity in our small community of intellectuals. He was an accomplished choir singer from 4th grade through the changing of his voice, and became the reason why many – pardon the pun – actually flocked to the Episcopal church where he sang. He had a soprano… that you would just not believe. Rich. Round. Full. Sounds like I’m talking about wine. But if you could have heard him…

Anyway, we are in the midst of The Time of Total Non-Reality and it’s a miracle because I’m not feeling any effects at all. M’s family doesn’t freak the way families I grew with did. It was a Rite of Passage. Ya freaked. No one blamed you, everyone hated it, and then we all ate turkey. What’s not to love?

Maybe it’s all this damned sun and no snow around here. The absolute lack of hardship. Where I come from winter is something you EARN. You survive an East Coast winter and don’t go home crying to mommy, you get your wings. But, like living in NYC a few years after you’re not into being there any more, once you leave the East Coast winter for Southern, sunny CA, you don’t go back. And that’s what’s hard. I belong there. Back there in the cold and harsh dark. The misery that at this time of year is always a little… wonderful.

Ah well. No answers today. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe never. Goodnight Mom. I miss you.

The Feeling Of Being Not Here

November 20, 2006 By: admin Category: Uncategorized

The feeling of being just not here is growing. There are pains in my body that move around so I never know what to try to heal. I’m always chasing some new hurt. Obviously this time, the holidays, are more terrible since Mom died. They bring into sharp focus the fact that my other half is gone. Or my complete whole. Or all of me. I feel like the walking dead sometimes. Numb. Clear-colored. Plastic. And I don’t know what to do. Having never been depressed I couldn’t tell you if I am now or if I’m just very, very blue. I do know that nothing feels or looks the same as it did when she was alive. It’s as if, finally, I’m understanding that all of my joy of life went with Mom. I can laugh and smile and feel happy and hopeful for others, I just can’t sit up, can’t move toward them, toward the happiness. Everything feels at arm’s length.

November 11, 2006 By: admin Category: Uncategorized

The thing I have been most afraid of has happened, is true: I don’t feel anything any more, it seems. My mom is gone and with her went me. How did I not see how connected we really were? I wake up wondering how I could feel so little these days. I mean, we’re talking about ME, after all. Anyway, I had a dream of paranoia last night. No, a feeling of paranoia and I “called on” my mom to come and help me. She came. She was real, albeit, spirit. Air. Smoke. She was smoke. She hovered above me in one of the flowy, formless dresses she used to make for herself, light as a feather, and then lay down next to me and took me into her arms. Somehow I thought that was too weird, to be lying in bed with my mother, and so I imagined her going into me. In habiting me. She lived inside me and was pushing out all the “dents” in my soul, like a mechanic does with a damaged car. I was lying awake so scared, really PARANOID, panicked about my life – my actual LIFE – and she came and held me. All this time I’ve wanted her to come, but I guess I didn’t need her badly enough, and then she shows up last night and…. saves me? I don’t know. I do know that I don’t want to lose M, and that mom doesn’t want me to either. She misses me too. She’s so sad that I’m hurting so much, but she’s strong. She didn’t cry. She’s in a place now where she understands everything we do in life and why.

Election Day

November 07, 2006 By: admin Category: Uncategorized

Can you feel the tension in the air? The collective held breath? The results of today could rock our nation, however they turn out. And so I feel it’s so appropos that Donna Warren called me this afternoon to say what she thought of the video I made of my one day visit with her. Donna is the Green party candidate for Lt. Gov. of CA and I spent a day following her around on her campaign to get a glimpse into the life of a local activist. It was an incredible day and I came home with three hours of footage ready to make a small extravaganza. But, in my heart on the drive home, I knew what the piece would really turn out to be… Check out the video here:


Donna called to tell me that she loved the piece. It wasn’t what she expected – which I imagine was a strong, campaign-like statement on Green party politics and why we should all care about hard social justice issues – but she felt that it was good. “Heart-wrenching” is what she said.

As a person and an artist I’ve always held back just enough so that people in my videos wouldn’t get hurt. This is, I think, my first departure from that. I knew that if I didn’t tell Donna’s son’s story I wouldn’t be telling Donna’s story or that of the cause of social justice. I never set out to make her cry, dredging up, as I did, the murder of her beloved son, but there comes a time as an artist when you have to let go of every safety net there is if you know you have a REAL story. Donna was brave enough and generous enough to let me do whatever I wanted, and the universe has rotated just enough so that I would be able to recognize what I was supposed to do with such material.

Thank goodness. And I hope I never go back to hiding under the covers.

My very, very humble thanks go out to Donna for this opportunity.