Monday, December 26, 2016

Gilmore Swirls...

Oh, how I’d like to watch another episode of “Gilmore Girls” on Netflix right now instead of write this. I never knew of the series until the recent resurrection of it that got lots of publicity. A friend of mine wanted to watch the new episodes, but felt compelled to catch up on the old ones (from 2006 to 2011, I believe) before she indulged in the new material. Against my better judgment (as my mother used to say), I followed my friend’s example. Now, at the beginning of Season 2, I can’t say I’m hooked on “Gilmore Girls,” but I do enjoy the experience of disdain I feel for the character of the mother, "Lorelei." The actress, Lauren Graham, is, of course, attractive in a chipmunk sort of way; and self-absorbed as the day is long. She possesses the gift of gabble, the clever repartee of a dozen television scriptwriters working overtime. They gave the character their severe caffeine habit, among other things. And what’s with all the handsome people of color in the background? That is not realistic for a quaint New England town without an Ivy League college located within it. Or maybe things have changed, I don’t know.

Having come of age (12-18) in a quaint New England town WITH an Ivy League college in it, I suppose I’m nostalgic and jealous of the Gilmore Girls’ “Stars Hollow.” I could have stayed in Wellesley, right? I could have remained a town character (like I actually was for a year when I was 30, living in an apartment on the third floor of an historic house around the corner from my mother’s house, with a series of pathetic roommates). That apartment’s rent has probably quadrupled by now. I worked at the town newspaper (since swallowed by a generic publishing company) as a typesetter and artist, and had a crush on the one lowly photographer there. I had bad dates arranged by friends (the photographer was taken). I took to drinking apricot brandy with milk every night at bedtime. I didn’t stay in bed, though; I took night walks and ran into the another town character, Harry, who worked at the grocery store, was in his fifties, had a lisp, and apparently wanted to be spanked. I do not know if he ever found anyone to do it. I would wander by another historic house wherein lived another town character who smoked weed a lot, and I would partake, although it always made me paranoid. That feeling, pre-David Lynch, was not a good one. I saw “Eraserhead” in the fall of 1980, and thereafter I felt more comfortable with the paranoia that pot gave me. I applied for a position on the Wellesley Youth Council based on my experience with waywardness when I was a youth (and continuing), but didn’t get the acceptance letter until I’d already moved to Huntsville, Alabama. I wrote in my application that youth needed real adventure, and that was what had gone wrong. There was no longer any real adventure for the sheltered darlings, so they had to strike out.

And now, after 35 years in Huntsville, Alabama, I’ve retired from a job I enjoyed for almost 18 years, as secretary for the Department of Art & Art History at an Alabama state university. There were struggles before that university perch welcomed me, other jobs. I suppose I, and probably my brother Michael (only a year younger than me) considered ourselves scrappers, fighters, outsiders. We would NOT succumb to a secure, full-time job. Michael was tempted several times (once by the Harvard Law Library) but resisted. I succumbed to the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Michael is now an expert organic farmer doing what is really “sharecropping,” and has no home-base, now that our parents’ house has sold. I’m getting a pension and Social Security and married to a self-employed magician (and fellow art major) who is not YET retired, and probably never will. The amount of stuff accumulated in our household is appalling, because while I was working full-time, I paid no attention to my house as a place. The computer screen removes one from one’s immediate circumstances, as we all know. The pile-up resembles somewhat the pile-up my mother once created, with her bags of saved junk-mail and holy relics. I swore I’d make a film (I’m an amateur filmmaker) about her collection and her personality, and actually BROUGHT bags of junk-mail back with me from my expensive ($450 flights from Huntsville to Boston and back) cleanup sessions in her bedroom in Wellesley. But, by golly, I’ve LOST INTEREST.

Which is the main point of this blog post: LOSING INTEREST. What does that mean? How can I be consumed by one idea for about a year and then just LOSE INTEREST? I hate myself for this! The people I worked for bought me a very nice video camera for a retirement gift. How can I “betray” them by doing nothing with it? I have taken plenty of classes in the medium; I know what I could do. I just DON’T WANT TO. This is a betrayal of my mother’s life and of my department’s parting faith in me! I just don’t know what how I can go on with this charade. I have various “talents” and abilities. I have propensities, like the propensity to write. But gosh, unless I have someone demanding artistic products from me, I am NOT going to all that effort. And yet I go to simplistic physical effort three or four times a day to walk my newly-acquired little dog. Having taken plenty of (free-because-employed by same) UAH classes, I know that the idea of a “TEACHER” demanding things is something I’ve always responded to. But is that really “ME”? Why should I, Marylyn Coffey, make cheap little films when gods like Mike Leigh are making expensive, fantastic films using hundreds of people to help? I never was a team player. What am I supposed to do now? That is my question. And I have only beer, no apricot brandy at this time.

1 comment:

Kathi Geren Hahn said...

I can deeply relate. I wonder if it has anything to do with our age? I've been obsessed with photography most of my life, and absolutely driven to get that one perspective unlike all others. Now I rarely even pick up my camera except to catch funny things I catch my dogs doing. For me, this runs through my head, "it's been done and SO much better." When I was in the Sistine Chapel in Rome, I was awestruck by the level of artistry and beauty. But I took few photos. I asked myself what I could possibly photograph that hasn't been done 100,000 times and I can even find it on Google Images. I missed my passion, as I suspect you miss that feeling of just WANTING to create something for the sheer pleasure of it. But here's the other feeling I had. Freedom! I wandered through the Vatican unstressed about capturing images so I could share the wonder of it. I enjoyed it, but yeah, I missed having the passion to catch it forever. Damn Google, and damn access to everything. But, I can relax now. Tit for Tat.