The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Wednesday

By Rita Dove

How she sat there,
the time right inside a place
so wrong it was ready.

That trim name with
its dream of a bench
to rest on. Her sensible coat.

Doing nothing was the doing:
the clean flame of her gaze
carved by a camera flash.

How she stood up
when they bent down to retrieve
her purse. That courtesy.


Today I had an unexpected attack of nostalgia -- unexpected because I was looking for a photo in an old album, and I had thought I had removed all my photos from PVC pages but I discovered that I was wrong and some of my most important photos -- photos of me, apaulled, our kids and friends at fannish events from the mid-1990s -- were turning horrific shades of yellow and brown, so right then I stopped everything and stripped down the album to put the photos in acid-free boxes. (I used to think my friends who got obsessively into scrapbooking were so frustrating, spending hours on end gluing those little corner-edge photo holder things in place with all those borders until I never saw some of them like my husband's former office mate because she was always too busy hosting Creative Memories parties and putting her own books together, but oh how I wish I had listened more attentively when they warned about what the popular "magnet" photo albums of the 1980s did to pictures.) Anyway, it was impossible to strip my main personal Star Trek album without looking at the photos, , some of which date back to high school and a girl vertigo66 and I both knew with whom I attended my first convention, who died in college in what seems to have been a suicidal traffic accident...then there were photos of my friend Karen from grad school, whom some people reading this probably met at the KMAS meeting with Kate Mulgrew at the convention in Chicago that I couldn't attend because I'd just had a baby, where Kate brought her mother -- Karen is no longer living, she died of cystic fibrosis at 33, and Kate's mother is in the last stages of Alzheimers, and having gotten maudlin from looking at these photos I flipped through the rest of them.

In addition to this toxic album with the dangerous pages, I have 12 small guaranteed non-PVC albums that hold 100 4x6es apiece -- that's right, 1200 or so photos of conventions and appearances by Kate and a smattering of other Trek stars. I went to file some of these personal photos in with the convention photos and started with the first one from KMAS, Kate at Grand Slam in 1996. I've seen these photos a bazillion times, though not for years, so I don't know why it suddenly struck me anew how beautiful she was or how much my mental Janeway, the one in all my fic, looks so much more like Kate herself than like the character onscreen with the bad makeup and hairdos -- I remember when I started working on "Home" (which none of you who haven't seen already should bother to look at since it's unfinished), I was adamant that Janeway was wearing a very particular white dress, and I realized today that it was based on what she was wearing at that first convention. That was probably the pinnacle of my relationship with Kate Mulgrew, anyway -- before I'd ever spoken to her or even her publicist, a total stranger sending me a bunch of photos of her with a copy of the first issue of Now Voyager in front of her. (Kimberley Junius, if by any chance you are reading this under some unexpected alias, please tell me, I would love to find out how you are...)

Anyway, I went through all these photos -- not just of Kate, and of Robbie McNeill with ann_tara and Robert Beltran with beckyo and someone else reading this who would probably rather remain anonymous (but I have very pretty pictures of you, Miss Maquis) and people's family photos and baby photos and holiday greeting cards and things they sent in, some to the fan club, some to me as a representative of sorts of Kate, and some to me personally though they ended up sorted in with fannish stuff like the first photo I ever saw of mamadracula because I had met her in that Christmas cards from Alexander Siddig and Chase Masterson together with those from Eric Stillwell and Lynda Foley with those from people I never met and people whose names I can't even associate now with an online handle, an address, anything to remind me of who they are. It's so strange to realize the sheer numbers and feel badly about how many people I let get past me, people I wonder how they're doing and it's probably too late to ask because of how often e-mail addresses and physical locations change. (I've also been tagging my old entries here -- I decided to work from 2002 forward so I'd be able to figure out which tags I'd need, rather than from now backward -- and I have run into myself apologizing about three dozen times for not being able to get through my whole friends list, and these days I never even try to load my whole friends list, I read local people and people I know personally on the days when I can manage it and never even get to favorite writers because there are just too's the same problem only expanded.)

Anyway, as I was going through all these Kate photos, I thought, I should send some of these to totallykate, whom I thought might be mad at me because I haven't seen her in far too long (mostly because we haven't been to my in-laws' and they are on the west coast for the next month, then coming here for Thanksgiving, so it might have to wait until Christmas week). And I would not have met her without Kate. Of anyone who might have had reason to cut me out of her circle after I walked away from KMAS, she is the person who would have had the best excuse to do so -- unlike some of the people I considered my friends who vanished, she is someone where I really would have understood if she felt like there was a conflict of interest running an official web page for someone where I'd thrown up my hands and walked away amidst what I considered not-very-fair protests of betrayal from Kate herself. Yet we still talk, and in fact the mailing list of the remnants of the board of directors of KMAS still exists, though it's pretty dormant these days -- sometimes we still do some celebrity gossip and "Mwahaha, know what I heard?" but pretty much everyone there has at this point met my extended family and knows how boring I am and we talk anyway. *g*

And wow, I don't know what just set me off on this whole *sniffle*fest -- I'm at that point with HP fandom that I have hit with every single other fandom, where I feel overinvolved and unable to keep up and unsure that I want to keep up because it just takes up too many hours of my life, but I panic because I know there are people who are going to fall out of my life if I let the fandom slip away -- I feel like I'm in the death throes with a couple of people I really, truly adore from LOTR fandom but we don't live near each other and without that interest binding us together we just don't talk all that often and it's scary, I am not ready for that to happen with my friends from Harry Potter, I don't know how anyone juggles work, kids, serious writing, hobbies and fandom and I seem to be incapable of giving up any of the last three, I don't know where to start reprioritizing.

Hey, can someone explain icon fine art to me? I don't understand why there are so many icons that win awards in icon tutorial contests with words on them that are too small for anyone but the icon's creator to have any idea what they say. I keep thinking it's my eyes, but then I read comments where people ask what the hell the icons say and I feel better knowing it's not just me, but then I am baffled: what is the point of making a public icon with a teeny tiny semi-private message on it? Do I just chalk this up to my inability to appreciate Rothko and other modern artists where no matter how it is explained to me in intellectual or artistic terms I just don't get it? I think I must be very shallow, because give me an icon I can glance at and have some clue what it's about without having to struggle -- the 100x100 art form as art form eludes me!

Hmm, I didn't talk about today at all. It rained. Younger son had an all-day field trip from which I expected him to come home tired and cranky, as it was very cold and wet, but they showed Wallace and Gromit shorts on the tour bus they had chartered for the trip and he apparently had a great time in the Native American encampment where they had a campfire and he was perfectly happy. Older son's stomach is still off but he went to school all right and I picked him up so he wouldn't have to walk in the rain. Commander in Chief was as always -- damned mediocre dialogue, lots of bluster and some overacting from the supporting cast, but Mackenzie Allen Mackenzie Allen oh my god Mackenzie Allen. And Boston Legal -- did Alan ask Denny to marry him or just recite lots of quotes on how a good friend is better than a wife? I know I heard Shatner say, "I won't have sex with you"! The previews make it look like they are going to have a rift next week, and I sincerely hope it's just a one-episode thing, because I am coming to depend on my Alan/Denny love-fest. I cannot believe I am enthusiastically watching a David E. Kelley show and I really cannot believe I am not more ashamed of myself.

I always hear Michael Crawford singing Barnum rather than Jim Dale because of Torvill and Dean, hence the icon. (And if you understand that connection, drop me a note!) Meanwhile, a boy practices the tightrope with Baltimore's skyline as backdrop. That must be intimidating, knowing that you can be seen from the Inner Harbor.

And here's the daring young girl on the flying trapeze, all at the Maryland Science Center circus exhibit where you too can make a fool of yourself in front of dozens trying these things!

A juggler walks through the exhibit on stilts.

It's a lot easier for kids to do these contortionist exhibits than adults!

Against my better judgment, am watching to see whether the White Sox can pull this out. They were winning when we were watching other shows so I feel like we should be watching other shows again! I had a political rant but am thinking I should just have a blog for political rants instead of ranting politically here. I don't want stress in my LJ -- not fannish stress and certainly not impotent rage about the latest idiocies of the Bush Administration. And I was going to say something about Rosa Parks, but I will let the poem stand for itself, as Rita Dove says most things so much better than me. Must get up early as apaulled has an early meeting. Yeah, I'm going to go to bed.

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