This Is a Photograph of Me
It was taken some time ago.
At first it seems to be
print: blurred lines and grey flecks
blended with the paper;
then, as you scan
it, you see in the left-hand corner
a thing that is like a branch: part of a tree
(balsam or spruce) emerging
and, to the right, halfway up
what ought to be a gentle
slope, a small frame house.
In the background there is a lake,
and beyond that, some low hills.
(The photograph was taken
the day after I drowned.
I am in the lake, in the center
of the picture, just under the surface.
It is difficult to say where
precisely, or to say
how large or small I am:
the effect of water
on light is a distortion
but if you look long enough,
you will be able to see me.)
1. What's the last place you traveled to, outside your own home state/country?
I circled the U.S. with my family in a minivan, driving from D.C. across the southwest to L.A., then north to Seattle, then home across the north via Chicago.
2. What's the most bizarre/unusual thing that's ever happened to you while traveling?
We met people who belong to our Jewish Community Center while sightseeing near the Globe Theatre in London. Though the more I travel, the more I realize how interconnected certain communities are, no matter how global their spread.
3. If you could take off to anywhere, money and time being no object, where would you go?
I would spend two years traveling all over Europe, then go to the Himalaya region, visit Kathmandu and circumnambulate Mount Kailas. Then on to Australia and New Zealand, and home via extended travel in the South Pacific.
4. Do you prefer traveling by plane, train or car?
Plane is the only practical way to reach many of the places I want to visit. Within the U.S. I prefer traveling by car and making many stops along the way.
5. What's the next place on your list to visit?
Locally: Williamsburg, Virginia. Nationally: Armonk, New York. Internationally: Rome.
Last night I tried to rest but I was too sore -- my stitches are right on the part of my neck that hits my pillow on my left side, which is the side I sleep on. So my better half and I watched The Ice Storm, which I had never seen previously, despite Sigourney, Kevin, Joan, Elijah, Tobey, Katie, et al. And somehow, no one had spoiled the ending for me.
I absolutely loved the first 3/4 of The Ice Storm. It's one of those movies where you find yourself laughing aloud, even though what's happening onscreen is more horrible than funny; there's a superb balance of twisted humor and real pathos for the characters, who are all believably quirky if not downright messed-up. I am sure it's a reflection of my age that I related more to the adulterous adults than to the children, even though I was much closer to the kids' ages in the 1970s (when the film is set) than to the grownups'. The cinematography is stunning and made me envy my sister's home in Armonk, which is not far from the film's Connecticut locale -- not the house itself, but the trees and the footpaths within the neighborhood, and having an actual town to bike through.
But then Elijah Wood's character died, and I realized I'd seen this movie a gazillion times before: the one where the woman with selfish, independent sexuality is punished by the loss of her family and everything she does or should care about, while the male protagonist goes back to his wife and kids. Other than her barely-there husband, who's more a sketch than a full character, Sigourney Weaver's character is the only person the film truly condemns, in a final shot where she lies in bed looking like shit as she hears her husband sobbing (assuming, wrongly, that it's over her infidelity). We're not supposed to feel terribly sorry for Elijah's character, as he's a flaky kid who goes on about molecular transformation and there's a pretentious speech about death being just another molecular transformation around the time that he dies (compared to the death of a comic book character, which is rather disturbing).
Of course this is the catalyst for Kevin Kline to realize that he has what he really wants right at home, even if his daughter is toying with sex with Elijah's character's younger brother and his son is desperately trying to lose his virginity with Katie Holmes' character and Nixon is ruining the country. And of course, after brief and terrible revenge sex (it has to be terrible so as not to stain the woman with the taint of having enjoyed sex for its own sake, right?), Joan Allen's character decides she'd rather have bored cheating Kevin's character than ponder the independence with which she briefly and disastrously flirts earlier in the picture in a pathetic attempt to emulate her daughter.
Why are they still making shit like this? Is the 1970s setting supposed to make us feel better about the reactionary values, how we're supposed to despise Allison Janney's character (I should look up the characters' names, huh) for encouraging spouse-swapping, and to scoff at all the sexual frustration not being channeled into creating neat little families? Ick. Yuck.
I wish Tobey's character and Elijah's character had been onscreen for a single second together so I could slash them.