3/10/2013

Surreal Yet Real

At times I feel certain I am in a Salvadore Dali painting, specifically "Soft Watch at the Moment of First Explosion."

courtesy jackygallery.com

Perhaps that's why Dali's work resonates with so many people? We can feel in our guts what this means, this sense of time breaking apart, of feeling as if we will melt in frustration, despair, and anxiety and yet simultaneously fly apart. Will there be any of us left to mop up when we are through melting and exploding?

If I were an artist, if I could paint like Dali, I would not use a clock, numbers breaking free...I think. It's hard to know how I would represent my internal reality when I often don't get the chance to think in quiet. Even writing this is an exercise in near-futility as Lily hounds me with math questions, and Rick peppers me with comments, as if I were not sitting here attempting to type, to think, to process. Bobby's learned to hide away, that if I am typing I cannot direct him, and Rosie is somewhere hiding, avoiding the shower she is supposed to be taking. I suppose I can take comfort that at least it's only 2/4 of them surrounding me with chaos, or if we add in animals and exclude me from the count, 2/10. Yes, doing arithmetic with Lily on a sample accuplacer test has made sure numbers will dance in my head. They do the rumba, if you were wondering. They are saucy numbers. I don't know why...I'm just here for the ride, people.

And this is a part of why things feel surreal to me. I am constantly asked questions that I could not possibly have the answer to and yet the questions asked aren't rhetorical. Or I think they are not and feel I must offer an answer.  Or I am asked questions that defy answers, asked to render understandable things I grasp intuitively but may not have the words to explain. And I should totally have the words to explain, given that I am an English teacher, right?

Yet, the reality is, there is some slippage...words lost or untethered, and in order to arrive at them, I find myself grasping at other words, pulling myself along until I arrive at the right one, and I wish I were kidding. I wish this were rare but it is not. It's coming more often, leading me to wonder am I simultaneously exploding and melting? Seriously. In order to tell Rick to look under "purchased" in apps (which, turns out works in Ibooks, not Apps), I first said look under "punished" and then searched for long moments to get to "published" and then again to arrive at "purchased." And yet that still wasn't right--it was the word I was looking for, but not the right choice.

Yes, it would be and is easy to dismiss this as no big deal, nothing uncommon, but when this happens in the classroom with increasing frequency, it is annoying to say the least. I stand there, looking off at the right side of the classroom for no apparent reason, stopped, and stumped. I shake my head and make do with the closest thing I can get to, knowing I am being horribly unpolitically correct at times, or shrugging and admitting I have no idea where I was trying to go and that the train is obviously not going to arrive at the right station in a timely manner. Hell, the train isn't even on the tracks and I'm no longer sure there's even a train. Class with me can be really interesting.

But, I refuse to classify this as terrifying, scary; I will accept surreal. I am, I know, overwhelmed. I am on system overload. It is what it is, and I have narrowed my world down, reduced my responsibilities with various volunteer efforts, but life keeps throwing itself at me, and there are some responsibilities that cannot be shirked. And some meds that must be taken that probably contribute to the word salad I seem to be spending more time spinning. Not tossing. I don't feel like I'm tossing it--lettuce would land everywhere. It's more like a weeeee sensation. I think. 

But back to artistically rendering this train wreck. I know, I said I wasn't sure there was a train, but hey, if anything's a stream of consciousness train wreck waiting to happen, it's gotta be this post. 

If there were a way to capture all the internal and external noise constantly bombarding me on canvas, that is what I would have in the upper half of the painting. (And I reread this and thought "What would I have in the upper half of the painting?" I guess noise, right?)

Or maybe it would be like Munch's "Scream"?

                                             
courtesy Wikipedia

No, not busy enough, not overwhelming enough. His head is still up and he looks more surprised than overwhelmed. "Oh shit, are you taking this in?" seems to be his response.  I know it's called "Scream" but it looks more like "Yelling" to me. Or calling to someone. Yeah. That's it. Munch must not have screamed much. Or looked in a mirror when he did it.

My painting would be more intense and I'd give my person hair. Maybe that's why he's yelling? "Hey, who the fuck took my toupee?" 

But...life intrudes in ways large and small ways, and I feel compelled to tell you that...

My computer doesn't want to type Gs, so I have to keep going back and fixing the text. And I wonder if all the dropped Gs are Thelma's way of sneaking out. And those who have no idea of who Thelma is will wonder if I have an alternate personality. As my mother says of Lily, "She has plenty of voices in her head," and so do I. They are all me, at least. I don't know about those in Lily's head--they aren't me--they are her, I presume. And at least we are never bored.

Or boring if you can get us to share the internal noise.

Maybe somewhat surreal, though?




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