This morning’s baseline

In Animals, Current reading, Irish Mist, Local projects, Music, Revision, Sanford Meisner, Story material on October 23, 2014 at 7:12 am

Once, during her six-month contract at minimum wage, she was sent to fix the walls at an old couple’s house. The woman, overweight and dirty, sat in her rocker the whole time, and stared at the TV screen. The man paced. The length and breadth of his allotted space, the way stabled horses do. On the second or the third day, he approached her while she worked and said: “I worked all my life to get to this point. Next, I’ll die.” As it happened, his wife died first. He followed suit within the next six months.

Cheery: no. Lots of less-than cheery stuff around. No need to scour headlines, life and neighbors are more than obliging. Not to mention all the trudging involved to get the simplest matters sorted out. Or the multiple requests to do your share on this project or that other. Solidarity. Bread and roses. Walk On and You’ll Never Walk Alone.

This isn’t about knocking bread or roses or solidarity. I love all three. Wouldn’t mind seeing more good times being had by all, including me.  This is about hurt at the most basic levels – hurt in body, in mind, in spirit. Denial of basic needs for basic goodness: of air, water, decent food, decent work, not to mention someone you love and who loves you. Hurts caused by some on others. Denial of basic rights. Plus rape, torture and all the rest of the horrors some inflict on others.

Reading reviews last night about Steven Mithen’s book The Singing Neanderthals. Because of the piece of fiction I’m revising. Also as antidote to the sound of certain voices heard in the day. Voices made harsh by anger, boredom, annoyance, fear.

Bodies. Pulling, pushing, climbing. Bodies, holding, giving, taking, sharing. Bodies in pain, bodies in pleasure, bodies in comfort, bodies in sleep. Bodies with their stored memories and yearnings.

The full title of Smithen’s book: The Singing Neanderthals: The Origins of Music, Language, Mind and Body. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2005

  1. Thank you for mentioning Smithen’s book today. In 1967, when I was 18 years old, I wrote a poem that ended with these words:

    man’s first words were sung

    That was back in the day when “man” meant both women and men.

    Our public library has a copy. I put it on hold and will be reading it soon.

    Thank you for all you write.

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