misssylviadrake (misssylviadrake) wrote,

Upstairs/downstairs: bead-curtained closets, dreams & Carrington

Dear friends and readers,

Carrington: Peaceful routine: where the movie allowed this viewer to identify

It's getting cold upstairs now. When I began this project (see previous entry), it was too hot up there; now I need gloves, sweater, socks. Each time I do dread it -- because I think to myself the things up there are much worse than they are. For each time I'm vindicated. I discovered most of my folders were not self-indulgent print-outs of email letters. I discovered it was not so hard to move the bookcases out of my workroom downstairs and make the place airy. What I thought would be vile and filthy was not so bad, just dusty and old.

Well today I vindicated the beads on the closets. I discovered shutter-like horrible metal doors. All laying flat on the ground. And I suddenly realized, remembered that these were the doors to the girls's closet and my closet; another set were on the front closet in the hall (these were thrown out directly). They would continually fall off runners on the floor. I removed them, and turned my closet in my workroom at first into storage, and now it's a clothes closet again with some storage o top and bottom. I turned the closet in the front into more library shelf space. And I left the girls closet a closet but I covered the area with hanging beads. I was guilty about the beads: so very Bohemian; was it silly?. It's a pain to get through them to the clothes. As the closets are not flush to the floor but have a lower inner space (Frank Lloyd Wright idea) one had to climb to get the level of where the closet is. But they were cheap, easy to put up -- we hammered strips in from which the beads hang. And real wooden doors were very costly; literally a thousand dollars or some such price. The Admiral reminded me too that Caroline wanted these. And when the sun comes into the room, the colored light is pretty.

I made progress. Threw away a lot. Up and down up and down. Cardboard. More boxes of old broken stuff. Toy paints. We brought down an old inflated beach raft. I said rip it apart with a knife if you must. No, he had to figure out how to deflate it and did. A once happy face beanbag to float on. He deflated that too. At one point the Admiral began to contemplate and look at the stuff as if to decide what to keep. He had this tiny computer, meant to be carried about.  I got exasperated. Just throw out what's obviously obsolete, no good! What's to decide. Heave-ho. So he gave over.

I am left with separate areas of stuff, each making sense: 1) children's stuff left, crib, trumpets, basket I kept Yvette in when an infant on an apnea monitor, keepsake dolls; 2) beach stuff; 3) flat boxes and suitcases and carriers for cats; 3) electronics. There are a couple of others. I think all hideous stuff now gone: packing the Admiral said some of it was.

I wiped down the summer chairs in crazily thrown somehow and put them in the front of the attic near the two tables and young person's desk. With a battery-operated hurricane lamp it'll be fine. (The one light in the attic I now realize is in this back part paradoxically where the roof is low. You can't win altogether.)

Then the bins were full again.

The pussycats are now regularly very upset when I push the small bookcase back and pull the ladder down. They run and hide. I don't know why they get so upset. I stopped throwing stuff down weeks ago. The girl cat's heart was beating so fast. The admiral says it's me up in the attic. They don't like the steps. What would they do were we living in an apartment? Suppose this were the 19th century and we had to put them out to go to the bathroom? Ian would not be such a scaredy-cat (he would not have died of fright; he'd have gotten more used to life early on.) But the hour came to an end for them too. I then showered, vacuumed and we were back to normal quiet and they calmed down and went back to usual desultory life.

Clary close-up wandering across coffee table: cats are not burdened by remembering their birthdays.

I know what I've been doing has been my way of coping with this transition. It takes courage. Let me repeat that for myself. It took courage to quit. When I told friends, they said, '"What?  This is sudden, isn't it?"  "Well no I'd been thinking about it for months." A silent oh dear. Why courage? do anything different and people don't like it. The work ethic is strong because in the US safety is in money.  To say no and be strong in doing what you want is the ticket.

Still, having these vivid realistic dreams. I dreamed I was playing my old record player. It was Trollope;s Dr Thorne on a big 78 record! And then I couldn't get it to work. I woke out of that. Another night I was so troubled I couldn't remember the fourth book I was to put on my midterm. I tried and tried, and then I realized I couldn't remember it because I am no longer teaching; there were no 4 books, no mid-term at all. Yes sometimes I'm sad, but remind myself I was not going to get to teach what I had so lovingly developed for years and couldn't have done what they wanted. Another: I can't remember what day of the week it is. Again on the not-working. Finally that I too much expose myself, very bad, but again I woke and went to the front room and soothed myself with a good book. I wake up out of these and by the sharp get-up realize they are not real and so beat them back.

I'd be better off with dreams with gothic machinery and furniture. I've never been to the Pyrenees so immediately I'd know it couldn't be.

Watched Emma Thompson and a host of super-beautiful men (including a young Jeremy Northam) in Carrington.Why was it a flop and aimless? Because Holroyd in his original book didn't have quite the courage to present her as desperately clinging to Lytton Strachey out of an inability to cope with general social life. That's why she didn't want to do exhibits. And the director and writer, Christopher Hampton didn't tell us what was her background, how she got this way, to be promiscuous, obedient, clinging, all at once. We should have had scenes of ravaged self-berating, of anguish, of tearing the self apart. Instead Emma kept her dignity and calm and looked peaceful so we couldn't understand why. They did the happy life routine together very well though (see above).

Today I'm 66 and it's also Veronica Gambara's birthday. She was born 1485 and hers was the first poem I ever translated. Ive written a short biography on line, translated all 80 odd poems (with the Italian texts face-to-face), made a bibliography. I've done her justice I know and if anyone wants to reach her work and know about her it's there.

Happy birthday, Ronnie! Happy birthday Syl!

Still here, the Admiral too, Amazing. Who'd a' thunk it?  (aka I never thought we'd make it)
Tags: animal rights, aspergers, cats, diary, disability discourses, dream life, house, life-writing (mine), real family life, womens lives

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