About 18 people showed up for our Halloween Party Thursday, including dear Andreas who, after 4 years with us, has now moved to Ireland, and a new position as professor of piano. We brought him and his puppy Butch in by phone.
I had promised myself to go as a “star woman” this time, rather than going along with the prevailing Halloween pretend-Evil that has actually morphed into obviously real Evil during these strange years. Oh, and by the way, I forgot to mention in that post that perhaps the most obvious sign of F.E.A.R.-based all-year-long Halloween is that we’re still “mandated” to wear masks in public!
Some people at our party weren’t dressed in costume, so I said, geez, you’re coming as yourself? At least go out to your cars and get your masks! Of course I was joking. But you never know.
In any case, I was pleased with my star woman costume, which consisted of a Dollar Store star sticker pasted to my forehead, white pants and top that I used to wear to Dances of Universal Peace events (hopefully they will return sans masks), and a hand-woven and designed robe by a very talented woman I used to know in Jackson Hole. I used to don the robe when I’d give formal presentations on astrology. Oh yes, and an amber necklace, gifted to me by my dear mother-in-law probably 30 years ago. All this coupled with sandals and a pair of black socks depicting the solar system. But my crowning glory, which I decided on at the last minute, was a Peruvian headdress that I got in Peru many years ago, and that I think might be something which is supposed to belong to a shaman. At any rate, the entire get-up worked as a unit, and when I announced, somberly, to the assembled that I was a Peruvian Star Woman, and that they were to address me in the third person, someone asked, “Is there really such a thing as a Peruvian Star Woman?” and I answered, “She has no idea!”
I created “Peruvian Star Woman” from the interaction of my fertile imagination with the “stuff” I have at hand. Presto. Instant respect, even reverence! Pretended, of course, and matched by my pretended haughty attitude Thursday evening. Great fun.
I always tell the young ones around me that though reality appears to be very structured — and so, please stay in the line, and these days, six feet apart! — reality is actually quite malleable. Most seemingly eternal structures (rules, roles, regulations, institutions, etc.) are human-made. And so can be undone, and redone, by humans. So, for example, if you think you fucked up a food recipe, no. You didn’t fuck up. You changed the recipe.
So too, my son Colin Cudmore, an inventor. See Garden Tower Project. Most people, including him, think that his inventiveness is his great talent. But I’d say that prior to any of his inventions, it’s his fertile imagination that formulates questions others don’t think to ask. These questions he then turns into problems, which he knows he can solve, given time, attention, and his deep familiarity with materials used in the 3D world. He told me yesterday that when he goes for patents, and he has many of them, unlike most inventors, there’s never much research required, in order to tweak the invention so that it won’t copy others. Thus the patenting process, for him, is not nearly as expensive as it would otherwise be.
I knew I had a kid whose mind and imagination were free to roam wherever, back when he was three years old and asked me, “Mom, which is more real, my dreams or yesterday?” To which I responded, “that’s a really good question, Colin!”
In fact, I used his question in the finale to the drama of my PhD dissertation examination. One of the professors asked me: “Well, since you think that the line between fiction and fact is very thin, give us an example.”
(Remember, this was 50 years ago, and though the “thinness” of this “line” appears obvious now, it wasn’t then.)
“Well,” I responded, “my young son Colin asked me recently: ‘Which is more real, my dreams or yesterday?'”
How could anyone follow that response with another question? In fact, that response closed down the examination — after only 30 minutes. (It was supposed to last two hours.) After a minute of dead silence, I hear “You may go now,” from the chairman, clearly flustered. The committee consulted without me for a little while, and then awarded me the degree.
So, my Peruvian Star Woman, is she real? Is she a dream, or is she just something I wore yesterday.