Friday, February 02, 2007

Oz and other workings of magic.

At the moment, I'm waiting for my brother to pick me up so that we can size up the fish tank situation and then go to the pet store to get whatever supplies we need for cleaning it. I'm actually looking forward it. Excuse me? Looking forward to it? Yes, that is how badly I need a break.

And in case you're wondering what I'm going on about, I'm talking about the fish tank at work. The one hiding behind the 2-way mirror in the bathroom. It's a very cool set up, actually--because if you look in the mirror without turning on the lights, you see swimming fish instead of your reflection. The mechanics of the fish tank are completely hidden in the wall. Needless to say, feeding the fish in the morning before we open makes me feel a little bit like the wizard in the Wizard of Oz. Pull back the curtain (or, in our case, open the cabinet door) and you might be disappointed by what you find. And so, a full-on (and horribly over-due) cleaning of the fish tank takes me (and my brother) to a whole new level of magic making. Magic is not an illusion. There are very real janitorial duties involved. And I suppose this goes for anything we do. Whether we keep fish behind our bathroom mirrors or paint or write or raise babies or work for the circus... let's face it, the manifestation of magic requires unfeigned effort.

This past week has been a rather difficult week of writing. I feel stuck and unsure of where I'm headed with it. I want to get done with this thesis because I can't seem to get the censors to leave me alone. Despite my best efforts, I still have Thesis Committee Members hanging out in my head every time I sit down to work on it. They're all nice enough people...but (in my imagination) they impose too many demands on my writing--one is a stickler for commas, one must have a reason for everything, and another...well, I just can't tell with her. Then there's the Grad office. That censor takes the form of a secretary who will only accept standard formatting. Period. In the end, I write for myself. But, my god, such terrain I must muck through to reach the end of each sentence!

I guess you could say that cleaning fish tanks is a little like cleaning out the quagmire of my writing-mind. I need a break and I'm willing to clean fish tanks to get one! Has it really come to this?

Afterwards, we're headed to a new Indian restaurant, the Mysore Cafe. It just opened and I've been looking forward to eating there ever since I saw them putting the sign up. I watched from the windows of the bus as they hung precariously from ladders in the Minneapolis cold. M.Y.S.O... mmmmmmmmmm...did someone say dosas? I've recently decided that I'm going to spend the next month eating nothing but Indian food, listening to nothing but ragas, and watching nothing but Bollywood.

There's more than one way to work magic, you know.


Anonymous said...

You know, I seriously considered getting ZeeTV (the 24 hour Indian/Bollywood channel) just as a way to deal with these winter doldrums.


Can't wait for tomorrow.

And I love the way you described the people in your head when you write. Hmmm...I wonder if I can do the same?

bee said...

ooh. i wish i could come eat indian food with you.

Kristine said...

Have a great weekend! I love this idea of you surrounding yourself with India. Sounds like fun.

Leah said...

i think this cleaning would qualify as an artist's brain activity. there's something really soothing and quieting about stuff like this. no wonder you craved it!

tell that committee of yours to take a recess, they probably need a break too. ;-)


Endment said...

My censors and committee members have also been working overtime. A very kind person suggested I take a look at a book "Internat Family Systems Therapy" by Richard C. Schwartz - Warning - it is not an easy read!!! but I found some tools for getting my censors and committee members to step back and let me get on with what I need to do. Oh yes - this is not about Family therapy____

Laura Bjerk said...

I love that we share some of the same struggles with our thesis-in-progress as well as the school that expects it, some of the same people on our boards. It really does help to know you understand, and vice-versa.
Good luck! :)

Jamie said...

I love the idea that cleaning the fish tank is making magic. I've recently read a book that talked about how we can make magic when we do our laundry, walk the dog... and your post is reminding me to do just that.

May cleaning the fish tank help clean out the committee in your mind and bring life and clarity to all those fish and ideas that need clean space to swim around and grow in.

Jessie said...

Dear everyone,
I know I don't always respond to the comments left here on my blog...but I'd just like all of you to know that you are the best! And thank you, THANK YOU for these words.
lots and lots of love,

megg said...

Oh my goodness, Jessie, I LOVED this! The part about magic needing real janitorial duties was the best thing I have read for ages!!! I am going to live with that bit today and see what comes up - I hope that things start moving a little more swimmingly (har har har.)


gkgirl said...

i hate cleaning fish tanks.

but that's just me.

i do love what you wrote though.

bella said...

I can't even imagine what writing a thesis is like, but I know how it feels to need a break so bad that I would clean a stinky fish tank.
Cleaning has always been very theraputic in a way when I have way too much swirling around my brain.
By the way, I don't know if you have cable, but here in NJ, our cable company has added some international channels - Indian being one of them. I believe you subscribe for the service (about $5 a month) in addition to your already existing package. You may want to check if your cable company offers the same.

krista said...

I sent you a really long email girl, and it bounced back. Is there another email addres I can use for you?