This morning, I was half-listening to iTunes on shuffle play again, and one of my two or three favorite pieces from the Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind CD came on.

It's actually come on several times in the past few weeks, but each time I've skipped past it, 'cause it takes some emotional energy to listen to. It's called "Before You Know It," and it's a high-speed monologue full of segues; I can't really describe it, but you can hear the first 30 seconds of it (the whole thing is only a minute and a half long) in an audio sample at CD Universe. I would quote it here, but I think I would have to transcribe the whole thing for the transcription to have the impact it deserves. Suffice it to say, it's very appropriate to the theme of mothers. It was written and performed by Diana Slickman, who also wrote and performed my other favorite piece from that CD, "False Positive."

Anyway, for some reason I decided that I was up to listening to "Before You Know It" today, so I did, and it made me cry, as it sometimes does. Those of you who haven't yet bought the Too Much Light CD no matter how many times I've recommended it can ask me to play you this track next time you see me in person; I've got it on my iPhone.

Marcy HartmanAnyway, I didn't think much more about it 'til a couple hours later when I looked at the date and realized that my mother would've been 64 today. (To paraphrase the disclaimer I wrote in a memorial entry two years ago: I wrote that linked-to piece nearly twenty years ago; I think the first half may be largely incomprehensible to non-Swarthmore people. Sorry about that.)

I know I've posted this photo of Marcy before, but since I have it on the server already, I may as well show it again.

Tonight I'm going to see Carousel at Smithwick Theatre at Foothill College with Kam. (This particular production of the show has been highly recommended by various people; if you're interested, it's running through Sunday.) Wikipedia says that it was one of the first musicals to have a tragic plot. Kam pointed out the tragic plot to me a week ago to check in and make sure I actually wanted to see it (we have a history of accidentally watching stuff that's got much more character death than we'd anticipated); I said I would be fine. But I wasn't thinking about what day it was.

I'm sure I'll be fine anyway. And--as Ellie W. suggested many years ago (not long after my other grandmother died, in fact)--sometimes watching something sad at a sad time can help, in a cathartic kind of way. Something direct and immediate to cry about, as a way to help deal with more distanced grief, maybe? I think Ellie said something like "Sometimes it's easier to cry about something that isn't as important." I forget her exact phrasing; I'll try and look that up later. But that was the general idea, I think.

2 Responses to “Mothers”

  1. Haddayr

    I’ve seen it before, but I really like the photo of your mom. Thinking of you.

  2. jenderqueer

    This post brings me back to my first time visiting Swarthmore, hanging out with Bhadrika in the main building for her massage workshop I believe… Probably 1990… Funny what a small world we live in. Funny what will bring back floods of memories. Sounds, smells, particular shades of light or dark, songs, books, films, all can bring back moments that have been misplaced in the jumbles of memory. For me the 1960 album from the musical “Camelot” has tremendously vivid attachments, as does the cartoon “The Point”, and the smell of the Florida everglades.


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