The thing about going on vacation, Distance to the Moon


You remember what you really care about. In our case, we care about writing and family. And we do talk a lot about Red Hen. But mostly about writing and ideas and long stories that last a lifetime.

We’ve been listening to Philip Glass all day, and I remember when I taught at CalArts and the students were merciless in their hatred for Glass. They liked John Adams.

I like the way vacations can help you unravel. Because I am wound pretty tightly. And when I’m wound tightly I start to think big thoughts like, Who am I? Is there a God? Why haven’t I done as much as Martin Luther King or at least Margaret Atwood and that is a slippery slope.

Every day I gather roses and rosemary, thyme and dill, I put them in two flower vases, one large, one small. I light candles at night and I burn incense and the house is sacred.

The thing about vacations is that they are so personal. What you like someone else might not like. We like not planning. We like not researching too much. We like the languid stretch of days by water, and we are always by water. I like to swim. But I don’t like plans.

We play Lauridsen and Glass and we enter some dark wild space. I went to Songfest Thursday night and listened to art songs that my friend Victoria Kirsch had arranged. She had created a beautiful evening of music. We went to the Omni Hotel for drinks afterward. There was a full moon. Vicky’s husband Michael Alexander, one of my favorite people on the planet was there and his organization’s logo, Grand Performances was shining against one of the downtown buildings beside that moon. I wanted to hear about his program of the summer season. Vicky was bubbling with excitement with the success of Songfest. Colburn is so much cool magic. Dana Gioia was with us followed by a young blonde woman. A photographer? Poet? Dana told us about successes at the NEA when he was chairman and about the the president of USC.

We all ordered drinks. The food was calamari and French fries. The moon came out and Grand Performances glowed in the darkening night. Vicky still flushed with her grand success. She plays the piano like an angel. Dana told us about the many offers for speaking engagements.

It was very late when we all left. Last night was Friday the 13th, a full honey moon. Honey because it was the color of honey which is one of my favorite foods. Tonight I will talk to the moon as well.

The best story ever written about the moon is also about Cuba and love coming and going and dreams.
It is “Distance to the Moon,” by Calvino

“Climb up on the Moon? Of course we did. All you had to do was row out to it in a boat and, when you were underneath it, prop a ladder against her and scramble up…

Now, you will ask me what in the world we went up on the Moon for; I’ll explain it to you. We went
to collect the milk, with a big spoon and a bucket. Moon-milk was very thick, like a kind of cream

Surely there was something strange about that night. “

Published in: on June 14, 2014 at 5:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

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