Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday Serenity #153

What does joy, O Mag, B & N, Shakespeare, Dreams, Books, Drums and Gilmore Girls have to do with one another let alone with Sunday or Serenity?

Well Friday was my birthday and Ed was planning to take me out to dinner but got home late and wiped. Instead he brought home Subway sandwiches and the latest O Magazine to hit the stands. I'd mentioned the O Mag earlier that week when the Oprah show was about the making of the cover and the story behind it--the shenanigans Ellen pulled on her show last winter that inspired Oprah to invite her to share a cover with her and the photo shoot and the reveal of the cover. Ed had walked in while I was watching, shortly after the reveal and I was like 'Whoa, look, my name is on O!!! I want! I want!'

I was half being silly but only half. I collect things with my name on them. Not because--or at least not just because--it is my name. But because of the meaning of the word that is my name. I didn't start doing that until the mid nineties tho. Before that, for most of my life and especially through my whole school years, I hated my name exactly because of the association with the word and its meaning. It didn't help that I was constantly reminded by my parents that they'd named me Joy because my arrival had brought them such joy and I was supposed to be a joyful child and I'd been such a happy baby so what happened? Because from about age 4.5 on I was a moody and often morose child.

Ed was aware of all of this so his bringing home the O mag was a meaningful gesture to go with his apology and promise to do something special on Sunday instead. So today he took me out to Hometown Buffet for dinner but first we made a stop at Barnes & Noble so I could spend over an hour browsing and deciding how to spend the $40 gift card my niece (who was my secret Santa last year) had given me for Christmas just before I left town for six months to help out with my Mom's post-surgery care in Longview.

So today was both a belated birthday and belated Xmas celebration in a sense. And after nearly two hours of browsing and finding and considering over a dozen items on my serious wish list, I selected two books and--something else--but first the books:

Thinking Shakespeare byBarry Edelstein wasn't on my wish list by title but by topic--I needed something to give me insight and hard facts about what it means to act in and/or direct a Shakespeare play because of that story I'm planning to write that has Faye, Julia, Wilma, and Inny producing Macbeth with high school kids. Before I picked this one up, I'd looked at several of the Shakespeare books I keep checking out of the library and looked for several more that weren't there. Every one of them would have eaten at least 90% of the card and a couple would have gone over. I still seriously considered at least three of them but couldn't decide between them. Then Ed handed this one to me and I read the subtitle: A how-to guide for student actors, directors and anyone else who wants to feel more comfortable with the Bard.

That hooked me into opening at random where I read this advice: Shakespeare's characters thought in ten syllables. After I read the explanation surrounding that line, I knew I needed this book and I knew the library didn't have it because I've had out every Shakespeare book they have at least once and had never seen this one. Only then did I look at the price and see that I could have it and at least one other of the items I'd considered--one of the $30 something which meant either the Crochet Stitch Bible or the book with 200 braid patterns.

But on second thought, I still have the Crochet Stitch Bible checked out of the library and besides I knew I could get them both on Amazon cheaper if I waited so my thoughts went back to the first book I'd pointed at on our way into the store--the new Stephen King. I knew it would be months before we could get our turn at the library and I knew Ed was as eager as I for it. But on the other hand, I wouldn't get to read it until after Christmas anyway as I couldn't start it during NaNo and I really didn't want to carry 1000 page tome with me to Longview since I'd not likely be able to read much while there anyway.

While all this was going through my head, I was making my way back to the front section where we'd started. Alone because Ed had wandered off as soon as he handed that Shakespeare book to me. I had started to head back to the sewing and craft section but had just made a turn back towards the display tables where the bestsellers where and was about to make another sharp turn toward the bargain section where I'd spotted that encyclopedia of symbols and signs in dreams which I'd spent a good ten minutes looking at earlier, intrigued by its discussion of the language of image and musing about its relevance for a writer who might like to know the potential impact of certain images they're thinking of using in stories or poems. That was only $10 and Thinking Shakespeare was only $8 so I could have both and still have something else in the $20 something range.

But before I could get back to that spot I ran into Ed. Almost literally. I stopped short by about half an inch. He was looking for me and he had the something else plus a book. And he was telling me that if these three items went over the card limit he would cover the excess. The book was the latest Oprah Book Club selection, Say You're One of Them.

So tempting. It was on the list I had rattled off in the car on the way. I'd been wanting it since Oprah announced it a couple months ago and he had looked at all the places he had been shopping--Wal-Mart, Target, grocery stores--but it was never in stock when he happened to be looking. B&N is quite out of the way of his usual routes and he wouldn't have gone there without me. He had been promising me a visit 'soon' ever since I got back from Longview in June but it never worked out for both of us on the same day. So tempting.

But the Oprah Book Club web event had met over that book last week and my turn is coming any day for the library book. So I held my finger up, saying 'Maybe, but just a sec.' and darted (as best I could with a white cane in a semi-crowded store aisle) toward that dream symbol book to take another look at it. Ed followed and when he saw what I had returned to, he laid the novel in some random place and reached for the two books in my hands and said 'Let's go.' as he laid them on top of the box he was carrying:

It's a beginner's drum kit with the sticks and a practice pad, a book with lessons that start with how to hold the stick and include over 100 exercises that take you into advanced technique and a DVD with over 70 minutes of instruction. I'd pointed this out to him in the first ten minutes we were in the store. I hadn't really thought to include it in today's choices but for him to consider for Christmas maybe or just to be pointing it out because my long standing interest in learning the drums had just heated up again this past week as he and I reached the Gilmore Girls episode late in season two in which Rory's best friend Lane Kim finds her true passion and calling--drumming.

I'd first told Ed of my thwarted interest in learning the drums our Senior year in high school when we noticed we both had the annoying habit of tapping--he with his fingers and me with pencils and pens. I told him that my first choice for a band instrument as I entered sixth grade had been drums but it had been nixed by both the band teacher and my parents. The teacher said it wasn't a girl's instrument. My parents said it wasn't for hymn accompaniment. I ended up with the clarinet which I hated and dropped after two years.

I had been talking a lot in the last two years--ever since NaNo 2007 when I gave two of my major characters drumming as a skill and passion--that I really needed to learn how to play drums now if I were to make these character's ability on the drums believable. I don't know the jargon, or the feel of holding the sticks or how it feels when the sticks hit the drums surface. I don't even know the correct way of holding the sticks.

By bringing the box to me and offering to pay the extra so I could still have two books, Ed was essentially telling me it was time, that finding that kit at that price on this day was a sign and I'd be a fool to walk out of that store without that box because who knew if either of us could get back here before Christmas and it was so obviously a Christmas special they would not likely continue to stock beyond it.

He was right and I came home with them. As thrilled as I am that I'm about to embark on learning a skill I've dreamed about for forty years there is that part of me wondering what the world were you thinking? Your poor wrists are not going to thank you. In fact they just may curse you.

But then again, nobody is saying I have to get good at it. This is about playing with a couple of sticks and letting the rhythms penned up in my brain loose once in a while. And its about learning just enough that I can create a believable character who can be as expert, as genius at the drums as her story requires. And its about saying 'Yes!' to something that my intuition has been trying to tell me for most of my life is needed by my psyche and for some unfathomable reason is connected in my psyche with the concept of joy--and Joy.

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