Friday, December 18, 2009

Seven Things

When Sandra Leigh sent us a Friendship Bouquet and asked us to write seven things about ourselves we were thrilled by the kindness of this gesture! But it took some time and the calling of an Animal council to decide how to approach this request. As you will probably pick up on if you haven’t already, things that might seem straightforward to Monsters can take some time to navigate as Big Bed Land Animals. In Big Bed Land, for instance, identity is somewhat fluid. So, when Animals address the phrase “Seven Things About You,” inevitably the question arises: Who Are You? (Pocketnote from Bink: please see Alice in Wonderland for an interesting discussion of this question.)

So, the Animals talked about who should speak for us. Should it be Platypuss, as our scribe? We are all rather curious about Platypuss, as a matter of fact and would like to know more about this mysterious creature. Or should it be Piggles, perhaps, who would give a beautiful but not entirely accurate picture of Animal nature? How about Boo Boo? Many Animals have learned to ask the question “What Would Boo Boo Do?” before making a decision they feel not totally good about if they happen to pay attention to that feeling and not ignore it for instance like Goat did when Goat had seven veggieburgers in a row during one of the first Big Bed Land picnics…

In the end, however, I, Monster E., was elected. So here goes.

1. Most life-changing events besides marriage to the exquisite Monster John Hayes: learning to build fence and cut down trees with a Marxist cowboy; spending four years in rural Brazil. (photo: trelissing cucumbers in my Brazilian garden.)

2. I wore an amber organdy dress for a piano recital as a young girl who endured the awful mortification of having to perform the detested Happy Farmer (perhaps a receptiveness to Marxism started that day with my deep suspicion of whether any farmer could be as mindlessly happy as this piece suggested?)

3. I stopped playing music almost entirely for 10 years – playing with John for a local production of Alice in Wonderland started me up again; I doubt I would ever have ended up playing music and starting to compose without John’s inspiration. I’ve always thought of myself as a writer rather than a musician. My favorite genre to write in: unpublished novels.

4. I did not play very much with Animals as a girl – it took a friend in my twenties to introduce me to the world of Animals (this was Margot, Beloved Queen and Pioneer Woman) and she had her work cut out for her – my first Animal, Chinabeary, spent several years in a closet (as she never tires of reminding me…)

5. For over 20 years I had only books by women authors in my library (I somewhat guiltily kept my collections of Dickens and Victor Hugo in my bedroom.)

6. My favorite musician is the jazz composer and pianist Mary Lou Williams.

7. I met my dear friend and writing collaborator Audrey when we were both waitressing at a college restaurant in Charlottesville, VA, and our first conversation was about nineteenth century women writers.

8. I often seem to have difficulty in following even the simplest rules...

(photo: home.)


  1. You certainly have led an interesting life thus far, Monster E. How very exciting to have lived in Brazil! Is that where you cultivated your gardening skills? (pardon the pun)
    Monster K knows that "Happy Farmer" and is in total agreement with you. Piano recitals whilst young are generally mortifying in the extreme (says she).
    Thank heavens for those three wonderful influences who have elicited some of the best things in you, Monster E. It would be a slightly sadder world without your lovely music, your animal-affinity (in the closet? for how long?) or your as yet unpublished (again, you and Monster K seem to have tread a similar path—albeit in different circles. She has a few of those lying around as well.
    As for #8, well, you have been hiding a canny wit, I suspect.

    Now we must go and have a look at that wonderful Yewtoob and see if we can't find your favourite musician.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    Kat and the Gang (not a band from the 70s)

  2. Dear Poetikat,
    we do seem to have tread some similar paths-- I would love to hear more about those unpublished books of yours-- are any of them collections of Animal verse? Should we collaborate on a collection? What fun that would be!

    The terrible truth is that Chinabeary would have been in the closet even longer than the 2 -3 years she was if I had not sent her to the land of Margot while I was in Brazil. That's where Chinabeary and Margot's beloved Barely Bear (not sure about that spelling-- much of Animal history is oral history)developed the wonderful friendship they are now famous for in Animal tomes.

    Maybe I'll do a post on Mary Lou Williams-- she converted to Catholicism and wrote some stunning sacred music-- I especially like her piece about St. Martin of Porres, "Black Christ of the Andes."

  3. A wonderful list,both amusing and intriguing, sure to endear you to anyone worth being endeared to. If I might gently point out, however, that several of the most obvious turning points of your life are left out entirely - in the words of our author-1) At the tender and impressionable age of 16, my conversation with Margot, first on a bus from the city of Rennes, 200 miles west of Paris,and continued in a cafe when we reached out destination but did not want to stop discussing the fundamental questions (and even some answers) of life the universe and all that.2)Emerging unscathed from the wreck of a truck, that should rightfully have been my coffin. Then walking in a heady daze in the winter landscape with my fellow survivor, MARGOT, most astonished and grateful for the gift of life. 3)The ever present knowledge of Margot's devotion and guidance, if somewhat late postings on my blog. Okay, so that is not a turning point. Just a reminder of my vain and jealous nature. Smooch!

  4. Dearest Margot,
    how right you are! If I had to pick one of the many life-transforming moments I have shared with you it would be a conversation in France but I don't remember where exactly, where we talked about how if you could see things, REALLY SEE them, then you could look at anything, the flame of a candle for instance, and read the entire meaning of the universe in it. (I still believe this although I might make "meaning" plural...)Is this how you remember the conversation? It was such an amazing moment to share with another human being.

    It does occur to me that the fact you hadn't called or written for a while may have contributed to my amnesia about our past in this post...just a reminder of my vain and jealous nature. Smooch right back at you!