Saturday, July 28, 2007

Sunday Scribbling: Phenomenon

(Needs NO introduction...)

Do you remember what it was like to watch your older siblings or parents getting ready to go out on a Saturday night, when you were too young to go? It was a ritual that began in the late afternoon. My mother and older sisters would carefully pin up their hair in enormous wire curlers (that we called “rollers”) to try and tame their curly hair into something approximating Farrah Fawcett's famed “shag.” Then there were the costume changes—long skirt or shorter? High heeled boots or wedges? And then, the hours spent in the bath and doing their makeup. When they finished and finally released their hair from its confinement, they looked like dazzling late 70s pinups.

The men in my family were not far behind. My father had a shiny black suit for such occasions, a suit I can only describe as pimp-like. He liked to pair it with a poly-silk blend shirt with a rather wide collar. His handkerchiefs (monogrammed, naturally) always smelled deeply of his favorite cologne. My brother was more adventurous in his attire. That white John Travolta suit of “Saturday Night Fever” fame? He owned a replica. Along with the stacked heeled shoes to go with it. He would strut around the apartment in a low slung towel, carefully laying out his clothes down to the socks. His ebony straight hair, the envy of every female in my family, flopped fashionably in his eyes.

These nights were the epitome of vicarious pleasure for me. While I stayed home with a tia watching the Love Boat, the rest of my family was off to live the glamorous Three's Company party life. Hey, I was young, and not very sophisticated. To me, being an adult meant being able to go out dancing like Chrissy, Janet, Jack, and Larry.

This is all to explain a bit of how I felt the last couple of weeks, during the height of the Harry Potter phenomenon. Like the world had decided to throw itself a party, and all I could do was watch it get dressed and boogie out of the door.

Oh, I have read (most) of the books—ravenously gobbled up books one, two, three, and four, but started to lose a little taste for it sometime around book five. I never got around to book six, and well, here we are.

But this post isn't really about that.

No, I was fascinated by the growing sense of celebration and excitement experienced by the fans. For years, they had plowed so much of their attention, love, and creativity into this fictional realm. They went online to plot out elaborate theories, to debate their various romantic preferences, to connect to others who felt as they did. They wrote reams of fan fiction; posted gorgeous music videos cobbled together from movie scenes.

And so, this was their moment. They sowed passion, and reaped a joyful riot in return.

It all made me think about what I was digging deeply in my own life. I'm the kind of person who is happiest when she's passionately, obsessively consumed with something—whether it be a relationship, a work of art or pop cultural entertainment, or anything. I love being invested at that level—the satisfaction of "your" team wins the World Series, or World Cup. The way some people feel when their fictional romantic couple finally declares their undying love, and shares a kiss. Finally get to see the Police reunite, or hear Aida at the Met.

If I am honest, I am not giving myself away in that way right now. Sure, I am engaged in the day to day mothering of my Madam, and while that is deeply satisfying, even joyful work, it's not quite...the same for me, for reasons I can't exactly articulate. I am getting close with my novel (finally started to daydream about the characters, a sure sign that they are becoming real for me), but...that's solitary work. And my poor little blog is also suffering from my posts are more scattered, less frequent. I feel disconnected from this place, and from the larger blogsphere that once fed me.

I am sowing inattention, and reaping apathy.

So, while hordes of Hogwarthian revelers thrilled at the culmination of their particular passionate phenomenon on July 21 at 12:01am, I made a quiet vow to myself. I would remember this “Saturday night Love Boat outsider” feeling, and use it to as a reminder of feed my passions, and spend myself in them, no matter how foolish they may look to outsiders.

I'm already planting the seeds.

For more phenomenal posts, go here.

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Blogger Herb Urban said...

"The Three's Company party life". Love it! Saturday nights watching Love Boat and Fantasy Island by my lonesome are among my fondest childhood memories. I was practically raised by Mr. York.

Great post! As someone who has avoided all things Harry Potter, all the hype has been lost on me.

11:16 PM, July 28, 2007  
Blogger paris parfait said...

I'm glad you're working on your novel, as your story-telling skills are stellar! I love reading your work and always wish there was more, more, more! xo

3:27 AM, July 29, 2007  
Anonymous gautami tripathy said...

I am yet to get sucked into any kind of stupid phenomena unless it is a scientific one.

3:36 AM, July 29, 2007  
Blogger Cate said...

Can't wait to read the stories that your seeds sprout. xo

P.S. I was a Love Boat/Fantasy Island girl myself (not to mention Sunday night Alice and the Jeffersons).

9:21 AM, July 29, 2007  
Anonymous Frida said...

May you be passionately, obsessively consumed. And that's not something I wish for someone everyday.

11:34 AM, July 29, 2007  
Anonymous Rose Dewy Knickers said...

I think it's a natural human phenomena to be caught up in something. We all need that connection.



11:52 AM, July 29, 2007  
Blogger Becca said...

The things I tend to get obsessive about are things I'm involved in directly - like my musical groups, and, more recently, my writing projects. I started out pretty obsessed with blogging, but, like you, have found my inspiration for that waning this summer, in favor of other writing activities.

I'm glad to hear you're working on your novel. I'm in total agreement with those who have commented on your skills as a story teller!

3:09 PM, July 29, 2007  
Blogger Tammy said...

I love your writing and really enjoyed a walk down "The Love Boat" lane. :)

6:17 PM, July 29, 2007  
Blogger Jessie said...

omg...i loved this adventure through television. how i miss my childhood! well, not really. but i DO miss all those blissful afternoons that i spent vegged out in front of the television withOUT feeling guilty!

anyway, i'm here reading your words and i just want you to know that i am, as always, loving every single bit of it!

love ya,

11:48 PM, July 29, 2007  
Blogger Paul said...

Great post. I really like the idea of feeding my passions. I'll have to work on that one.

3:48 AM, July 30, 2007  
Blogger Jessie said...

i finally wrote my random 8! :)-

9:54 AM, July 30, 2007  
Blogger bee said...

hi, mardou....i hope you remember me.

this post was just what i needed to hear...(read), i feel that certain parts of my life are moving, and others need seeds to be planted.

you are an inspiration, my friend.

5:41 PM, July 30, 2007  
Anonymous fern said...

I think I have a naturally obsessive personality, but lately it's been without a real direction. It's been directing itself into paranoia and panic. I'd love to lose myself in something that's less destructive!
Yay for novel work!!

8:38 PM, July 30, 2007  
Anonymous Tag said...

Feeding our passions is something I believe essential to our happiness and well being.

I have noticed there are many friends and acquaintences around me that are struggling with much of what you have articulated here.

I don't know if it is because I lack direction or that my passion is rather broad; summed up in the quote "these things we do that others may live."

I know I do go through the same things you describe here and others have described so aptly around me. I only hope that everyone emerges to not only find their passion but grow with it; watching it bloom.

Good health and well being to you wonderful woman!

12:14 PM, July 31, 2007  
Blogger deirdre said...

I read the first book too and decided it was enough. But that doesn't stop me from enjoying all the excitement.

So glad you're working on the book - daydreaming your novel is time well spent.

11:10 PM, July 31, 2007  
Anonymous tammy vitale said...

lovely post, as always....tagged you today....

8:09 AM, August 03, 2007  

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