I spent dinner reading an article I've been holding onto for a while with the cover teaser of "Rachel Cusk on the dangers of telling the truth about motherhood
." What were these truths? I had to know. And it was a really engaging read, enough to pull me back to it as soon as dinner had been eaten and the plates cleared away. One of the things she noticed was that she was basically being censored by other women, who weren't okay when what she said about her feelings went against the party line on what was an acceptable thing to say about how being a mother made you feel. While I enjoyed a lot of what she had to say, I found this bit especially resonated with me. Why is it that it's so often other women that try to put the brakes on what comes out of women's mouths? Why are they the forces of conformity? Is the price of sisterhood learning how to "put up or shut up?"
Tell me, oh (female) hive mind: has this been your experience?
I've been moody today. I've even come up with a name for the thing that's been causing my moods lately. I'm going to call it The McGuffin. The McGuffin hasn't gone away, although I thought I saw signs of its demise not too long ago ... it's apparently wormed its way into my brain and will now just kind of twitch now and then when something sets it off. I look forward to it dying permanently, but I now realize this may not happen for another three to six months, or longer. Meanwhile I've got yet another pile of poo added to what I've been toting around inside my head to make me act irrationally and obsess on stupid things. Yay!
So the McGuffin was bothering me as I set out today. I was angry about running so late and making shadowdaddy
sit and wait for me while I tried to find an outfit to wear (a lack of summer weight pants was making this difficult for me). But after we'd made it to West Dulwich station, of all things, Carter's Steam Fair
was set up! It was full of beautiful, restored, gilded giant toys that had calliope accompanyment and silly signs on the sides. The swing even blew out a huge puff of steam every time it went backwards. It was great!
Suddenly I was eight years old and the world was full of wonder. I ran around looking at all of the rides, laughing and pointing and realizing that rather a few of them would make me feel quite ill. The carousel was playing "The Lambeth Walk," a song I wouldn't have recognized a year ago, and I felt so proud of myself for being able to grow a little into the local culture. We stopped in the arcade and played some of the silly, old-fashioned machines. I went for the fortune teller, my obsession since reading American Gods
. I got the same one I got last time: "Your hand denotes a firm and determined character, one that can be led but not driven .... Very sincere, but too independent to please most people whom you meet." Yep, it's like a badge of pride and yet a knife in my heart - that ever so accurate fortune of mine - I should just change my LJ user description to say what it says on the card.
I can't really explain how much this cheered me up. We didn't actually ride any rides or play any more games, but trotted off to the Dulwich Picture Gallery to see the Coming of Age: American Art, 1850s to 1950s
exhibit (ends tomorrow). This was a very nice exhibit - good representations of the realist, substantially landscape-type work produced in the 1850s right up through Calder and Rauschenberg. I also really enjoyed the artists' description of their art, and the assertion of the need to develop an American identity for art, one which "embraces the world as it exists today" - a philosophy I feel most art forms should pursue, especially the performing arts. We also got to see an exhibit of photographs from China done at the very beginning of the 20th century which I found fairly interesting (reminded me of Song of the Fishermen
as well as the Chinese opera I've been watching). We actually were finished in good time - the exhibition hall is rather petite - and had an opportunity to sit down and have tea and scones. It was lovely.
Afterwards it was off to meet natalya
up at St. Pancras, with a short stop at London Bridge to wrangle some dinner fixin's (stuffed duck breast at a 30% discount, go heavy bargaining me!) and an opportunity for the McGuffin to take control again (boo). I finally got home at 7:30, popped the food in the oven, and we ate at 8:30 ... and now I'm so tired. So tired! It seems like I really burn the candle at both ends based on how long it takes me to get my engine restoked over the weekend. And I say this, and yet I read that the some Russian ballet company
is coming to London in late July and I'm all going, "Oooh! Ooh! How many of the shows can I see?" (the answer is two, but I only really want to see one). I can tell I'm going to put myself in an early grave, but, God, getting there is really fun, except for the sleep deprivation.