Archive for March, 2010

Soon I’ll be limbless! (That is, I’m running out of limbs on my family tree..)

March 6, 2010

Where TO start?  Over THERE perhaps?

My geneology my lauded, distinct and dear geneology.  This shall be our port of (relative) departure.

Today, we shall start with a relative I’ve just, of late, discovered (that is, just discovered my intense connection to).  He is…my great-grandfather on my paternal side…NONE other than that grander than grand father of Russian letters

Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy

The genius who bore us Anna Karenina and War and Peace.   That intensely cool cat, with an absurdly awesome beard who fomented his own following without ever meaning to.  He was the club president who didn’t follow his own rules because he (unintentionally) WROTE AND (intentionally) BROKE the freakin rules.

It seems fitting that as I finally phenagle some time between flitting and floating to “begin” (ohh the heavy onus that is “to begin”)–that at this ever so crucial juncture, as I wax and wane so (un)poetically about who and what I am…that, hark and behold, a KNOCK at my door!

So up I jump and dash to the door.  A gift-bearing man or woman (but definitely NOT child–that would be truancy) hands me deux packages (paid for by moi–via something far too convenient called amazon).

Wrestling the tape (whose end I’m never patient enough to find and peel away), I scoop from the box’s debris my algae supplements (gotta get yang energy a-roarin in my less-than-active spleen!  That lazy girl’s been a keepin me down!) and two books: The Kama Sutra of Richard Burton and

The Kingdom of God is Within You and What is Art? Of Tolstoy.

Regarding that oft sullied, oft lauded book of a certain, sensual nature; banned by Christian wasps but secretly memorized by its teenage captives–I have to say–I really never paid it any mind.  Neither super interested or super uninterested, I was too busy stomaching my physical reaction to Urban Outfitters (and other accomplices) exploitation of the urban legends regarding the sacred text.

But upon calling a dear friend, Lisa, to relay to her the unexpected wonders of a certain film that led me to discover my great-granddady, she updated me on her recent reading conquests.  Having stumbled upon a weathered copy at ze Baltimore Book Thing Lisa informed me that, rather than enumerate how to have steamier spicier intercourse, the book explored the spiritual nature of physical amor (appropriately, a theme alluded to in the aforementioned film).  Needless to say as a transcendental, overly sensitive little artsy flake, this has been heavily on my mind of late (well, for those who know me in highschool–since…for a while).  I decided I needed to read it myself–as I’ve been investigating other yogic texts concerned with similar notions…

But more on that later, today belongs to the Count!

So, here I sit scribbling away, staring at a rather intimidating text on the front of which is printed “the present volume contains two contrasting treatises…”.  Thank you publisher—or Tolstoy—or whomever for saving me the trouble of doing a Venn diagram.

As this shall take me some time to read through (I’m wont to severely wander) and I’m sure I’ll feel compelled to ramble forth about other things and people whilst simultaneously  sojourning through  Tolstoy’s non-fiction,  I shall attempt to read it  in a quasi, pseudo, almost timely fashion.  Naturally, as I read, I’ll report back campers.

This book, like all blessings great and small, has come at a serendipitous time en ma vie.

It’s a work that centers a great deal on non-violence and pacifism.  A work that highly influenced Ghandi—as evidenced by his correspondence with Tolstoy.  It grapples with the history of so-called Christian leaders and regimes who use violence to spread religion like peanut butter over an english muffin: everyone knows that while it might taste good, english muffins weren’t designed for hardcore spreadage…they prefer thin substance which melt upon meeting their heated surface…

But to capture Tolstoy’s essence let us look to Bernstein’s wonderful, wonderful (anything but traditional) MASS:

God made us the boss/ God gave us the cross / We turned it into a sword / To spread the Word of the Lord/ We use His holy decrees/ To do whatever we please.

[Ahh Bernstein…I MUST find him room on the family tree.  How about prickly but loving, brilliant musical guardian heavily responsible for molding my artistic credo.  Oh, I need to write an entry on Mass alone: how it encompasses any and everything in the musical canon, the fact that Bernstein could conduct Mahler and party with the Blackpanthers rocks my WORLD, how Paul Simon was a dear chum who contributed lyrics to Mass.  It (all) KILLS me.]*

So while the lyrics aren’t earth-shatteringly novel, they happen to be rolling around in my head and they cut to the basic, but oh so neglected, heart of the matter.

But of Tolstoy; Tea time with Tolstoy.  Yes, well he’s the great-grandfather who passed the baton to Chekhov—who was famously aware that he was ‘no Pushkin or Tolstoy’.  But what of that, Pop-Pop, you were pretty damn funny—and comedially tragic too.  Uncle Vanya—how can one keep from crying…?  Ahhh, per usual, I digress…

Soooo, I really haven’t said ANYTHING in this post–save for perhaps provided a shadow of a clue as to what this tome beside me is all about.  But I do declare–I have FINALY found a kindred spirit who gets where I’m coming from politically:

The truth is that the State is a conspiracy designed not only to
exploit, but above all to corrupt its citizens … Henceforth, I shall
never serve any government anywhere.

Word, great-grandaddy:  WoRd!

Do come back for another biscuit or krumpet as I regal you with tales of my attempts to locate this kingdom inside of me.  Not sure I buy it entirely–but the notion tickles and intrigues me; speaks to the questions I linger on in the deep of the night…when I should be counting sheep.

For now, fair friends, I leave you in PEACE.

And as for a glance at the crystal ball of what one might soon find HERE:

  • Save LANGUAGE: A diatribe against the notion of “proper” use of language in a world where communication is DEAD
  • Une Portrait de ma mere Teresa Stratas
  • On the AWESOMENESS that is Bernstein’s mass
  • Treatise on WHY Jeff Goldblum is an American Treasure!

And other (un)related digressions and detours.

For now, just enjoy a smidge and a taste of the fantasticness that is Mr. Jeff–that-cat-is-real-in-Goldblum.

Leave love, BE love, live TO love.

The lady of loch lovely

also known as


*  As any observant eye would note: I heart parenthetical (as well as ellipses and dashes!  Take THAT Wayne-my writing-is-so-dry-it’s-called-the-saharra-Biddle).