we the people…

saw this cool exhibit in the airport in Philly; about the Faces of Freedom, honoring the 225th anniversary in 2012 of signing the Constitution. all the familiar faces, some famous for their fight for freedom, some famous – like Muhammed Ali, for other things.

let&#39s face it; it&#39s a time right now when we as americans seem to really be re-examining ourselves and our freedoms. guns – or no guns? gay marriage – or no gay marriage? abortion rights-or no right to abortion? and other such decisions mired in controversy.

but the clear message, at least to me when i saw this wall of people, was:

we fashioned ourselves as a people to be able to be…whatever the hell we wanted to be.
and we&#39re known around the world, (for better or for worse!?) for that exact notion.

now… if we could only all agree on that.

we all have the right to reinvent ourselves…if only we weren&#39t our own worse obstacle.

as Patrick Henry so aptly expressed it:

&#34United we stand, divided we fall. Let us not split into factions which must destroy that union upon which our existence hangs.&#34

-Patrick Henry

31
Jan 2013
AUTHOR Lizz DeLera
CATEGORY

people, places, thoughts

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bovine…assemblage

wow, well… hooved and cloven animals, both imaginary & real, just keep popping up into my path lately. llamas, blow up doll unicorns, bejeweled cows, herds of deer…

this year, 2013, is the chinese year of the snake (also my birth year&#39s matching animal!). so not sure what this means; if anything. but it&#39s more imaginative to think that there&#39s some kind of subliminal message in it all.

Also, I&#39m Taurus the Bull: born in the Year of the Snake. so i think what that may mean, then, is:

*don&#39t wave a red chinese flag with a snake on it at a bull…or she may charge.

bovine assemblage

-sculpture courtesy of American Visionary Arts Museum, Baltimore

14
Jan 2013
AUTHOR Lizz DeLera
CATEGORY

things, thoughts

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power…of your own story

those who do not have power over the story that dominates their lives, power to retell it, rethink it, deconstruct it, joke about it, and change it as times change, truly are powerless, because they cannot think new thoughts.

-excerpt from Salman Rushdie

one day back in my NYC days…probably about 1989 or 1990…i sauntered out with a good
friend and coworker to lunch and to the bank. It was supposed to be a leisurely stroll in the neighborhood we loved. We worked in Soho, and rounded the corner on West Broadway…only to find an angry erupting crowd of militant Islamists lining the entire sides of the streets for as far as the eye could see. The fervor was high, the middle of the street seemed to be an invisible demilitarized zone – and quite frankly, it was downright scary. There was a new bounty on Salman Rushdie&#39s head for his novel The Satanic Verses...and in a city rich in the global literary landscape, this was no joke.

My friend and I did not dare to cross the street into the fever pitch of hatred; the bank would have to wait. Lunch plans were deferred. Police were on hand to make sure violence did not ensue, but it was brimming over with tumult.

I have no hidden political agenda in this post; but ran across this quote in a museum over the weekend – and thought it was poignant in the context of commandeering your own story.

And, his memoirs might be a very interesting read, indeed.

Salman Rushdie memoir

31
Dec 2012
AUTHOR Lizz DeLera
COMMENTS No Comments

wise men say…

wise man

scene of the happenstance: Baltimore

 
this is going to be an unusual post and somewhat of an anomaly; reason being…although spiritual, i am admittedly not the biggest fan of organized religion, …that is, for myself. although it is somewhat familiar. and…no problem with the rest of the world embracing their own rituals or whatever they need to do. and probably needs to be said in the same breath that i was raised Lutheran; and my family is probably something like 1/3 Lutheran, 1/3 Episcopalian, and 1/3 Catholic (the Catholics being converts. *to Catholicism, that is. i know – not exactly the norm.)

so let me be clear this is NOT in any way, shape or form… a preachy or judgmental blog post.

i agree to accompany my favorite aunt & uncle to Christmas Day service, my comfort level not being very high; but rolled with it for the atmosphere of the season, and just because i really wanted to be with them. And the minister was young & progressive, and he and his young minister intern guy had some really interesting things to say, so it was actually quite compelling. The intern had bought a really old prayer book in an antique shop as a self-Christmas present – and was saying how amazed he was at the fact that the book had been touched by people from the Civil War up through the ranks of history.

but it was right in the midst of a snowstorm, and so there were only 10 people in the whole place. You could hear a pin drop.

right into the middle of it all shuffles this very odd man, who clearly hadn&#39t showered in days, and was breathing kind of heavily. At different intervals he impulsively (and loudly) shouts out things like &#34you know, i have a question! I&#39m a Jewish guy who is fascinated with Jesus, and sometimes I come to other churches to see what it&#39s all about at Christmas time.&#34

The young minister smiled wryly, and tried in earnest to succinctly answer his questions. And did a very eloquent job at that. At one point we&#39re taking Communion…and since there were only 10 of us, we were invited to come up to the altar, somewhat informally, when the Jewish guy starts rocking back & forth in probably what was an exhibit of some degree of autism…and walks up and helps himself to the gluten free bread as if it were a buffet at a country club.

the minister at this point breaks out a very large but regal looking bottle of hand sanitizer and passes it around to everyone…but it somehow skips the pacing, murmuring visitor entirely.

he then stops the very cool minister mid-Communion, mid-sentence, and interjects:

&#34so do you guys all mind if I take Communion with you since I&#39m a Jew? I mean, I&#39m used to Judaism and a lot of other religions that have very strict rules, so I&#39m confused.&#34 By this point everyone is astounded, but shrugs their shoulders and the minister says &#34we welcome everyone,
so of course you can join us.&#34

then…

jewish guy: &#34so…is this grape juice?&#34

minister: (gently, but firmly) &#34no, this is actual real wine. this is not fake wine.&#34

jewish guy: &#34well do Episcopalians believe the wine is really the blood of Christ, or what?&#34

minister: (who slowly looks up…searches all of our eyes for an &#34oh boy, how do i answer this one mid-ritual?&#34)

me: &#34well, that is quite the LOADED QUESTION.&#34

minister: &#34yes, that is indeed a loaded question.&#34 (he proceeds to diplomatically explain that some sectors believe that it is – and some believe it to be more of a symbolic nature.)

the whole service finishes…everyone is blown away by the Visiting Jew on Christmas Day service, and then he suddenly vanished into thin air, from whence he came.

THE most fascinating and meaningful church visit i&#39ve ever had…as a non church-y kind of person.

how bizarre, how bizarre.

 

26
Dec 2012
AUTHOR Lizz DeLera
CATEGORY

people, places, thoughts

COMMENTS 4 Comments

drawing a parallel…

naum gabo sculture

 

ahhhh….the Nasher Sculpture Center, the nirvana of modern sculpture. Even after going multiple times, I always discover something I hadn&#39t before. In this exact moment, Naum Gabo&#39s eerily beautiful constructivist torso and face loomed forward and sent me down an instant path of neuron connectivity. Being a russian born in Belarus, Gabo was a pioneer of kinetic art. And with original last birth name &#39Pevsner,&#39 (he changed it during the war on a stint through Norway & Denmark) i was also reminded of good friends of mine; also from Belarus, and also named Pevsner (except spelled with a &#39z&#39). But not sculptors.

He had command of many languages, that enabled him to navigate with mobility throughout his career; my kind of guy.

But really, this is where my stream of consciousness goes down the rabbit hole.

The face, the eyes, the hollow sci-fi enigmatic quality…made me think dreamily of one of my childhood TV heroes…

ULTRAMAN!!!

You know, Ultraman. Japanese alien-like crusader and fighter of all monsters in the universe. I mean, what kind of pre-tween girl dreams of an alien in tights with superpowers. This is where you cut to the scene of my parents…just shaking their heads and rolling their eyes. As in…it wasn&#39t our fault she turned out so left of center.

Pretty sexy, though, huh.

ultraman

ultraman gia

Ultraman-whatever-happened-to-30397145-600-450


ultraman_03

sound byte

tattoos are the bumper stickers of our times.

09
Dec 2012
AUTHOR Lizz DeLera
CATEGORY

sound bytes, thoughts

COMMENTS No Comments

sound byte

every time i have to type the word ‘linguist…’
i just think of linguine.

04
Dec 2012
AUTHOR Lizz DeLera
CATEGORY

sound bytes, thoughts

COMMENTS No Comments

sound byte

the narcissist…always circles back to the self.

&#34all the while surrounding him/herself with all of the props that reflect back onto themselves and their outward image…because without these props…

they cease to exist.&#34

 

29
Nov 2012
AUTHOR Lizz DeLera
CATEGORY

sound bytes, thoughts

COMMENTS 2 Comments

sound byte

so…you’re a human enthusiast.

-ernesto, last name unknown, who works for expedia.com – who overheard my conversation at a nearby table at a starbucks at mockingbird station, and jumped in – at which point a woman nearby got up out of her chair, made a beeline to our chair cluster after overhearing us all; and also jumped in

24
Nov 2012
AUTHOR Lizz DeLera
CATEGORY

sound bytes, thoughts

COMMENTS No Comments

happy happenstancing thanksgiving!

girl-riding-turkey

 

I found this vintage postcard long ago in some antique shop whose location and name escapes me…but it reminds me today of the great lengths we go to…especially in our now-digital society…to travel to get to one another, just for the same exact reason that the pilgrims & native americans did all those years ago. For comfort, for companionship, to break bread together, to just hang out and let each other know we&#34re there for each other if needed – a kind of break in the action from &#39survival mode.&#39

Once when I was living in NYC, in Brooklyn, I had a rare opportunity to get a tiny window of time off work for Thanksgiving, and I was vow and determined, after a few years of no time off to travel, to get home to my family. I love Thanksgiving. And I was possessed!!!

So the first thing I did was stop off at the italian bakery in my neighborhood and pick up some boxes of beautiful special cookies, and a pie all tied up – in 3 pretty boxes with twine. Then I stopped and bought a paper table turkey (the accordion fold kind!) and threw some clothes and stuff into a big black vintage hatbox that I was using as a suitcase, sped to Penn Station to buy an Amtrak ticket to Baltimore and hurtled myself…into a PACKED train.

So..what do you do when it&#39s &#39standing room only?&#39 From NYC to Baltimore?

Why…you all sit in the aisles, on the floor of course, and revel in the spirit of traveling to see your loved ones, and make the absolute best of it. I sat on my hatbox on the floor with my cookie boxes piled high on my lap, sat with the others, all strangers of course, sitting on the floor in the aisles, and we chit-chatted the trip away. Good conversation can virtually melt the &#34uncomfortable&#34 off of anything.

Any you know what? It was great.

And my family now has a funny memory of picking me up at the train station with a slightly smushed hatbox for luggage and that damn paper turkey, which sat proudly on the table.

Even if I can&#39t recreate that specific journey, Thanksgiving somehow always does.

And honestly, I think Samoset and Squanto have always been some of my personal heroes…for smoothing the waters and helping to bond our society as we know it.

 

 

22
Nov 2012
AUTHOR Lizz DeLera
COMMENTS No Comments