I went to lunch today with my best friend who suggested that I set aside an hour a day to write. I have been encouraged by so many in the past year and especially in the past few months to just WRITE! I’ll try to explain my writing as best I can, and as I explained it to my buddy. “Did someone point to a canvas and tell Van Gogh to paint A Starry Night?” That was my first response to my best bud. I followed with this little story. One day I was bumbling around Florence, Italy without a map (which is the very best way to bumble). I would study about what I saw, of course, but in the moment, I just wanted to absorb every single brick, statue, street, smell the veal cooking, taste the wine and be amazed. In my wandering, and because a creative mind might see things just a little differently, I noticed a long, very old building with a covered walkway. The building itself was nothing spectacular. The roof over the walkway was held up by a series of archways. In the early afternoon light, these archways threw crescent-shaped shadows across the tile. That’s what caught my eye. Not the building, not the arches, but the beautiful design that the light played on the tile. Had to get a picture…or many…now. I quick-stepped to the arches and then through them onto the walkway, the shutter of my old Kodak clicking crazily, capturing shadows. As I stood there inhaling light and shadow, I noticed a small, rather inconspicuous sign next to a doorway. Squint. I stepped closer. “Admission – 50 lire”. Admission to what? Who knew? Thinking, “Okay, I’ll bite…”, I stepped inside, gave a thin, expressionless attendant behind a podium my fifty lire. No pamphlet? No brochure? No headphones? “Dove?” I asked her. “Where?” She stood there, stone-faced in her spiffy little red bellman’s jacket and pointed to my left. (I get impatient when I don’t get anticipated information, and I was on the edge of cranky.) I took approximately 20 grumpy steps when the room opened up and there before me was Michelangelo’s “David”. My breath was sucked out of me with pure, unadulterated awe. I had just bumbled into the famous Academia which houses some of the finest renaissance and pre-renaissance works of art in the world. I had studied Michelangelo, written papers on his life and works, and I was acutely aware that the magnificent sculpture before me was created when the sculptor was 26 years old. It has been written that he picked out his marble from the quarries in Carrara personally. They (the infamous “they”) say that he could see David within the block of Carrara marble and “simply” took away whatever wasn’t the David. As an aside, I would like to note that I brought some Carrara marble home with me from that trip with the intent of sculpting it. After all, it’s in my genes, right? I ruined every chisel and sculpting tool I owned and couldn’t even scratch it. It is very, VERY hard, which explains how it lasts for centuries, but how that 26 year-old genius put a dent in it, I will never understand. I went to the town of Carrara in northern Italy and watched them cut and shape the slabs of marble for shipping. They did it with water. Sigh… I spent a good hour staring at the David. I eventually remembered to breathe. Every vein in every arm, finger, leg and throughout his body was revealed by the veins that ran through a giant, rough white block of Carrara marble. It is nothing short of miraculous when you view the detail up close and personal. I finally broke free of the masterpiece, only to find another and yet another; On plaster, on canvas, on wood, gilt in purest gold, the Muses looking down on me from their giant canvas (bigger than any two walls of the room where I now sit), the Madonna and Child throughout the centuries by various artists and scribes, in every medium and at the very back of the Academia…Michelangelo’s unfinished works. Unfinished. Unfinished? Why? An arm and a thigh jutting out of a block of Carrara, and part of a head. Perfect in every way. Why did he stop? Did the Caesar call him away? (“Michelangelo, PAINT!”) Did it just not come out the way he thought it would? Did he go blind or die before he could finish? It was at this point of the telling of my “bumble” that my buddy asked me, “Did someone ask him to sculpt The David?” No. He did it because it came to him. Through divine providence or pure creative genius it appeared in his mind and in his soul. He did it because he SAW it and then he HAD to make it real. I am no Michelangelo. No one is. But something in me understood that he saw it and HAD to do it because that’s how my writing comes to me; not because someone admires my work or tells me to do it. It is simply there and I have to, or it isn’t. It’s that simple. Those of you who know me well also know I’m a bit over a year into finding myself with four English Mastiffs. You may read that again for confirmation. Four. One 210 pound therapy dog with a paw that I’ve nursed, one rescue who had a knee replacement and a tail amputation and two spankin’ new puppies who will also become therapy dogs. I haven’t felt free to go into my cave as I am now, but I promise you this. I see things hidden in the marble of my life and they WILL come out. Thank you all for your patience.
Category Archives: The Warrior Queen
I have to admit that over the past few months, I’ve been kind of a whiney-pee-pants. (That is MY noun, and I’m keeping it.) This has been a tough summer at Casa de Muddy Pawz, beginning with the loss of our baby/guardian/best friend, Bentley, a 4 1/2 year old English Mastiff. Both cars broke down, one after the other, the vacuum literally flew into pieces at my feet as I was cleaning and the hose bib in the back yard started squirting me in the eye every time I turned it on, and I even backed over the cat food dishes with my Range Rover and learned the true meaning of “smithereens”. We had the biggest dust storm in a century right after we had drained and refilled our pool, resulting in the largest water bill in history. I went through a biopsy and surgery for skin cancer, paying for the sins of my youth as a sun-worshipper. I talked to the real estate commissioner who informed me that commercial real estate wouldn’t be regaining a pulse until at LEAST 2014 to 2016, i.e. “Your career is toast!” My unemployment had run out and I couldn’t BUY a job.
Damn…things were looking pretty grim.
Now, some good things happened, too, this summer. I got a grant and went through Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and graduated from their New Media Academy to gain some street cred and increase my smarts. After months of research, my husband found THE healthiest puppy on the planet in Indiana and flew him home. Our female Mastiff, Nala (also known as the Princess or the Honey Badger, depending on her mood…) made a turnaround from her fear of men and became Daddy’s Little Princess, complete with kisses and snuggles. I even reconnected with a couple of long lost friends and made some new ones. I even learned the definition of “haboob”! You know…the good stuff!
Yet it seems like the economy has tanked in the good old USA and now Europe is following suit, right down to rioting in the streets. (More to come…film at eleven…) People are robbing banks and homes to feed their families. There enough are droughts, wildfires, earthquakes, tsunamis and floods to make you wonder if the whacked-out 2012 End-of-Days people might not just have something. And of course, we’re all watching our president vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard and charging $35,000 a plate (Let me repeat that…$35 grand per PLATE!) for his campaign fundraising dinner, while telling us about his plan for turning our economy around. (Did you kinda choke on that one, too?) Well he’s going to make those big bad boys that have corporate jets pay more taxes, by golly! And he’s gonna find jobs for our nation and get America back to work…somehow…by golly! (Thanks, Pres’…) I’m choking on both dust and politics. It’s a political haboob…
We discovered that our new puppy came with an intestinal parasite, but we quickly got that licked, We fixed the cars, got a new vacuum cleaner with a four on the floor and cherry-pak mufflers, got the puppy through obedience school,sprayed down the dust from the house, drive, cars, patio and leafy things, back-washed the pool 46 times, got my stitches out, and I even landed my first paycheck in 2 1/2 years doing some independent contractor work. Hallelujah!
On 9/11 the puppy developed a rare joint infection, collapsed on the floor, and I found myself once again staring at forty-eleven bottles of pills and a treatment schedule. My dear husband had been beside himself through this after losing his best friend with fur, another friend at work and putting in 50-hour work weeks to keep the boat afloat. Walking the puppy into the same clinic where we said farewell to Bentley just four months prior was too much. It tore my heart out to see him walking in circles in that parking lot, wiping away the tears of grief and fear. We were both red-lining both emotionally and physically and trying hard (sometimes unsuccessfully) not to strike out at each other through it all.
Micah, the puppy is back on all fours again, but it seemed to be one hit too many. Generally I walk through crises and fires with full body armor and do my bleeding, whining, crying and blistering post-crisis when it’s safe to fold the WonderWoman outfit and drop it in a box. This weekend I dragged around in slow motion, spent a lot of time in bed with the Honey Badger and only got up do pill the puppy and look at that damned treatment schedule again. I hit the wall, feeling raw. I lost my flak vest and helmet and I even shed a few tears.
I woke up this morning, and sat on our patio watching the sun break over Camelback Mountain, and something in me just…tipped. I realized that I was looking across a beautiful, manicured lawn with trees heavy with fruit, past our warm, sparkling pool at one of the most beautiful mountains in the valley. I had just kissed my husband and sent him on his way to work for a wonderful company where he works alongside a man he respects more than any other. (…and ya know, my husband is very easy on the eyes, even in his 50’s!) Our two mastiffs were stretched out in that beautiful golden morning light, washing each other’s faces and the sun felt warm on my skin.
There are families who have lost everything…lots of them. I was struck by a news report of a man who was recently arrested for robbing a bank to feed his family and asked the officers to please take care of his dog who was still in his car.
I have a warm, cozy little home, we have been cautious enough to live within our means, even when we lost our juicy second income. We have food in the fridge, health insurance for us and our pets, a roof over our heads, incredible friends, two beautiful dogs and absolutely worthless silly cats. Best of all, we have each other. We’ve had each other about 15 years now, and are getting ready to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. I took a fresh look around this morning and I am overwhelmed with gratitude for my husband, our home, our animals and our life together. Life is suddenly looking pretty shiny compared to yesterday. I took a deep breath and…
Copyright 2011 – Mary Watson
My Thanksgiving – Music and Lyrics by Don Henley, Stan Lynch and Jai Winding
|Well a lot of things have happened
Since the last time we spoke
Some of them are funny
Some of them ain’t no joke
And I trust you will forgive me
If I lay it on the line.
I always thought
You were a friend of mine.Sometimes I think about you.
And wonder how you’re doin’ now
And what you’re goin’ throughCause the last time I saw you
We were playin’ with fire
We were loaded with passion
And a burnin’ desire
For every breath
Now the trouble with you and me, my friend
Because I’m tired of waiting
Cause I ‘ve got great expectations
For every breath
|And have you noticed that an angry man
Can only get so far
Until he reconciles the way he thinks
Things ought to be
With the way things are?Here in this fragmented world,
You know I still believe
In learning how to give love
And how to receive it.
And I would not be among those
Who abuse this privilege.
Sometimes you get the best light
From a burning bridge.And I don’t mind saying that I
Still love it all.
You know I wallowed
In the springtime,
Now I’m welcoming the fall.For every moment of joy
Every hour of fear
For every winding road
That brought me hereFor every breath
For every day of living
This is my Thanksgiving.
For every one
For every breath
A Day in the Life of the Warrior Queen
by Mary Carrara Watson on Wednesday, February 23, 2011 at 7:52am
Went to start my car yesterday to run a few errands before a 1:00 interview….key in the ignition…click.
Called AAA who arrived faster than a 911 responder. They jumped the car, tested the battery. Supposed to test at 950 jiggahertz and tested 42. Baaaaad battery. Only Land Rover carries the correct battery. Checker Auto is not an option.
Called my guys at Rover Techs who confirmed they had batteries there. (Oh, by the way…the “Check Engine Soon” light came on…How soon is ‘soon’?) They asked me to run it up there and they would have a rental for me so they could replace the battery and check it out. No problem…plenty of time. Threw my hair in a ponytail and slapped my Sunday-go-to-meetin’ suit on.
Drove to Northeast Scottsdale to Rover Techs. Sign on the door – “Out to Lunch – Back at 1:00”. (ACK! My interview’s at one!) Car pulls up in front of Rover Techs. Could this be my rental???? Nope…parts delivery. But the guy is sure that they would be using Enterprise for rentals…just up the street. Guy gives me a ride to Enterprise in new Prius (I would rent that car…).
Enterprise states they have no cars due to the Arabian Horse Show and other events in the valley, and there are 5 people also waiting for a car. I state my plight and a representative offers to drive me back to Rover Techs in his brand new Escalade. (I would rent that car!)
I try to start my car. It’s graveyard dead. It’s 12:35. Up comes a 1962 VW Combi with my Rover Tech guys, smiling and waving. I tell them there are no cars at Enterprise and I have about 22 minutes to get to my interview. Kevin, the co-owner drives me to Hertz…just down the street in his brand new Range Rover (which I would happily rent).
Hertz rents me a red motorized vehicle the size of a Yorkshire Terrier and charged me $38. (WTF-EVER!) I have 12 minutes. The perky dimpled blonde Hertz girl says I’ll make it. I want to slap the bejiggers out of her. I jump in the “thing” and haul butt to Cactus and Tatum for my interview. As I pull in the parking lot, I glance at the “thing’s” clock. It is 1:00 on the nose. I run across the parking lot (in heels), leap to the door, push the elevator button 47 times, trot straight to the correct suite where the perky dimpled German receptionist with a large mole under her nose informs me that it is 1:07 (“Eeet eees vun-oh-SEFFEN”) and the group interview is underway and I may NOT (snaps whip – clicks heels) enter.
I believe she turned to granite.
I contemplated crying (never), a primal scream (possible), or just bailing out of the 3rd story window behind her and just ending it all right then and there.
I went back to the red “thing”. I drove home, put my sweats back on and hung up my Sunday-go-to meetin’ suit, hugged my dogs and went to bed.
Rick came home. I explained why there was a red lump in the driveway and how I had been in 5 different cars inside of 30 minutes and missed the interview. He patted my head and hugged me. Kevin called from Rover Techs and advised us that the flibbergiggit and platasnacker need to be replaced along with the battery…and an oil change and that will total $1,600. They’re giving us two window stickers for free. Rick told them to make the car safe for his warrior queen.
I love my husband. Interview rescheduled for March 8th…the lady understood…she has a Jaguar. She said, “Those Britts can’t cook, but boy do they make a great car!” Yeah…except for the flibbergiggits…
© 2011 Mary Watson