We spent the past couple of weeks with a teenager, who's used to spending a shit ton of her time with her boyfriend and drinking and smoking and texting her fingers off and having lattes and all that. It's an interesting phase in that certain realties and challenges of adult life have yet to pervade her expectations. She was an incredibly gracious guest, especially considering we shared a very small space and at times the weather got downright oppressive for a few days at a time. I was also surprised that she was prepared to not just buy much of her own food, but to chip in for gas here and there too - I don't think I had my shit that together at her age.
I kinda miss the younger version of her that spent more time reading books, and getting really into nature, but I'm excited to see who she'll become as a full fledged adult. She took lots of pics while here, so when those get developed I'll try to post a bunch.
It was actually refreshing to have a window into what it's like to be 18 these days... We had some long beer fuelled talks about all the crazy stuff she gets up to including attitudes to sexuality that seem considerably more fluid and relaxed than what we were dealing with at 18. We went swimming at every possible kind and colour of beach and cooked lots of delicious manna-ful foods. Her favourite beach was the one I humorously refer to as 'nut sack beach' due to the reliable quotient of nude yogis (her hippie roots were showing, lol) We visited the mysterious Halema'uma'u crater on Kilauea, smoke billowing and glowing at night... but we have still yet to hike out onto the lava that is erupting nearest us from another crater/vent called Pu'u O'o, and by near I mean we could see it quite well the other night, glowing and occasionally bursting and sparking upwards, from our doorstep. It's quite active right now.
Here is someone else's lovely photo of Halema'uma'u, on a night with rather less fog than when we visited -
Photo by Peaches Wallin
We're currently preparing for guest #2, the ever lovely Sparkledebacle, who will soon be visiting from the land of Leeds!
Yet I couldn't entirely resist the sense of co-creation... I was a half assed fan for quite a while after that, sporadically reading her generally TMI oriented blog, pretty much up until she released 'who killed Amanda Palmer?' her first solo record. I bonded like crazy with that one, I almost invited her and the danger ensemble to stay at the studio, but I was having a really hard time back then and I lost my nerve. I ended up missing that show too - it was pouring rain, and I was having a really hard time that night.
It was around that time that she met Neil, and they fell in love. I felt like it was so fucking perfect, the two of them. They seem to fit each other so well. It was extra exciting having been a fan of each separately - Neil has been a hero of mine since I was a teenager for fucks sake. We went to Boston with Ron and Amy for new years (Neil proposed to her that very evening), and her performance with the Boston Pops and his new years wish was a moment for me, for R as well. It galvanized us in a direction - away from practicality and depression, towards fear and self actualization.
I tried to find my own way to participate in the circus of creation that she continues to perpetuate, creating an image for the ill fated Tarot card project (which, it turns out, may not be so ill fated after all), and then again for a competition celebrating her freedom from her record label (which I ended up winning one of the top spots in, though the host site 'creative allies' never delivered on it's promise of a real world art show) and then of course, we saw her in Cabaret. I'm still not quite sure what it was that made me love that performance so so much - but if I had to try and pin it down, I'd say it was connection. I shared a moment with her as the Emcee, where because I looked up and straight at her - She looked straight back at me, saw me, and shared a little bit of love and dirt and sparkle. It's amazing how such a small moment has continued to resonate for me... how many people has she shared herself with in this way?
It's nice to see, after various controversies and slurs, that she got an opportunity to articulate what her fans clearly understood all along - which is the basic principle and integrity that underlies all the amazing shit disturbing she does, the love and connection that fuels all the blogs and the intense performances and the creative projects and collaborations.
She will probably get out of hospital wed or thursday this week... which means I get to fly away back to HI maybe as soon as Friday or Monday.
She is such a piece of work - on the one hand she blames most of her troubles on 'stress' caused by our estrangement. On the other hand I have steadily emailed her with only one request - to make time at any point she might be in Toronto to see me in the company of a therapist to mediate. She counters that she hasn't been well enough to make time for that over a year and a half. On the other hand she was well enough to take a two week train trip through AFRICA, from Dar es Salaam down to Cape Town. She rode a fucking ELEPHANT. This trip cost more than some people (like say, her only daughter) live on for over two yrs... I don't even mind really - good for her. What I do care about is how I have a new opportunity to remind myself, that beyond making sure she doesn't die alone down here due to her own ferocious stupidity and lack of appropriate planning, I have zero emotional obligation.
I think her biggest problem is that she expects to die any minute, but she is actually very likely (especially with all the advances in modern medicine) to live for many more years. I dutifully tried to explain that she might live to regret living as though there were no tomorrow...
It is incredibly dry here. I am missing an epic horrible near two week spree of relentless rain covering all of HI. R is growing paler and more mushroom like by the day.
I have an epic headache today, and will be returning to the hospital in a couple of hrs. We plan to watch the Oscars, most likely in Spanish.
I did manage to get myself a decent Pollo Asado with all the fixings including grilled sweet onions for dinner yesterday, which was a welcome relief from my strange diet since arriving of fruits, chicken soup and chilaquiles at the hospitals non-cafeteria (like a restaurant).
It is NOT a Gringo hospital - almost no one there speaks ANY english. Such Fun! (curse the fact that for several years now I have failed to capitalize on my instinct to get myself Rossetta Stone Spanish)
and finally, the promised Aldous Huxley quote - (he has been the unusual patron saint of my trip to Hi and now Mexico...)
“It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them. I was so preposterously serious in those days… Lightly, lightly – it’s the best advice ever given me…So throw away your baggage and go forward. There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet, trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair. That’s why you must walk so lightly. Lightly my darling…”
~ Aldous Huxley, Island
I have now spoken with the surgeon himself, and they had decided to proceed with the surgery regardless of sorting payment 'as it was the right thing to do' so points to them. I have spoken with CAA, her carrier, and connected them and her policy info with the hospital, so thankfully that should all get sorted out.
That leaves - me, in HI, which my mother is unaware of, and her request that I come down if I can... I'm not sure I could sort out flights of any kind before monday, and I have mixed feelings about dropping everything to help her - she really has left me to rot this past year. And yet, it's my fucking mom, you know, and she has no one else. Something I wish she might have considered before finding herself in a crisis... It's so much harder to help when you don't even have her basic info and she has had to simply hand her credit cards to near strangers, and doesn't even manage to call me herself. Oh, and despite the fact that Bill took her to costco and showed her the hearing aids, she apparently just laughed in his face. Because navigating the world on your own as an elderly and infirm woman is just more fun if you can't hear half of what anyone is saying!
This song made me cry the first time I heard it, live in NYC, tired beyond belief - usually at concerts I find it hard to take in songs that I am unfamiliar with, it can be hard to hear the lyrics etc and that matters to me. The album wasn't even out yet, but the whole room hushed perfectly and I felt it all. I'm so grateful to have made it through the strange tides of pushing and pulling together with my Love, R. I'm so glad that neither of us ever turned away or fell silent...
The evening we arrived after a long and trying day I thought at first I was just seeing the waves send up spumes hitting the rocks, but no - it were whales, Humpbacks. A rare treat to see so many so close - I saw two leap in perfect synchronicity in front of the rays from the setting sun amongst the clouds. These whales were probably making their way around the point and up the west coast to the north where they stay and raise their younguns. In the morning I was still rubbing my eyes when I noticed a straggler showing tail within maybe 30 ft of the cliff (the drop off is INTENSE at SP) so I got an even closer view.
The next morning I was sitting on the cliff edge and saw a large pod of spinner dolphins go by towards the point leaping and spinning as they went. Such a show!
One of the nights we drove back to our spot late enough for it to be full dark, and thus we discovered it's night time identity as 'owl alley' since we saw 10 - 15 of them perched on fenceposts and flying beside or in front of the car as we drove. They looked so mysterious and preoccupied with owl things, barely giving us a second glance.
We also took a jaunt up just north of Kona to Kua bay beach - which is a small white sand beach with fairly tumultuous turquoise waves where we competed for space amongst a variety of boogie boarders, one determined surfer and people of every age and stripe. Great beaches are the only thing lacking on the east side of the island - I do love playing in the waves and soft soft sand.
We're back at home and back to work again in our pod, lots to get done before our two visitors (Becca for march break and our friend Ian from england for 10 days not long after).
"we all need to find home
it isn’t a house
but it can be
it isn’t a cafe
but it can be
it isn’t a relationship
but it can be
it is a space you must define
and only you know what it is
and only you know what it looks like."
Here's a link to the whole thing - http://www.amandapalmer.net/blog/20130128/ - Luca I recommend it especially to you.
I can relate, as I let myself wrestle with my self definition these days. I love the part too where she speaks of the feeling of safe warmed aloneness that comes from falling asleep in another room to the gentle sounds of other people's lives. I love that feeling and I sometimes get it from TV, if I choose something that doesn't really rivet me to fall asleep to, sometimes get it falling asleep in the late afternoon sun on an almost deserted beach. It reminds me of being a kid I guess, I used to love that feeling of life going on without me, sort of sanctioning my inner journeyings. Wanting to be alone and yet wanting to be with people who are safe, who are interested, who care, so, so much.
I haven't got home right now either (and for me that's not just a physical thing, I feel I've lost my emotional mooring points too) but I'm out lookin'.