Less a memoir and more a series of pretty, impressionistic word-pictures, strung together like Christmas cards: little sketches of a fussy, formal, efLess a memoir and more a series of pretty, impressionistic word-pictures, strung together like Christmas cards: little sketches of a fussy, formal, effete world, long gone.
'It is still the depth of night. The moon has clouded over, darkening the shadows under the trees. There come voices: 'Can we open the shutters?' 'But the servants will not be ready yet!' 'Attendant! Open up!' Then the bell for the dawn watch suddenly wakes everyone up and the Ritual of the Five Mystic Kings begins...'
'I was absent from the mansion the day the Governor of Harima gave a banquet as a forfeit for losing a game of go, and it was only later that...'
'Sometime after the twentieth of the eighth month, those nobles and senior courtiers whose presence was required at the mansion started to stay the night. They would take naps on the bridge and the veranda of the east wing, and play music in desultory fashion. The younger members, who were as yet unskilled in either koto or flute, held competitions to see who was the best at chanting sūtras and they practiced the latest songs together...'
'His Excellency carried the baby prince in his arms, preceded by Lady Koshōshō with the sword, and Miya no Naishi with the tiger's head.'
'On the last night of the year, the ceremony for casting out devils was over very early, so I was resting in my room, blackening my teeth and putting on a light powder, when...'
'On the ninth of the ninth month, Lady Hyōbu brought me floss-silk damp with chrysanthemum dew.
'"Here," she said, "Her Excellency sent this especially for you. She said you were to use it carefully to wipe old age away!"'
70 minutes' worth of very good reasons to not only love Laurie Anderson but, in fact, want to be her when One Grows Up. (So screw you, everyone in the70 minutes' worth of very good reasons to not only love Laurie Anderson but, in fact, want to be her when One Grows Up. (So screw you, everyone in the press calling her 'Lou Reed's wife' or 'Lou Reed's widow' as though that's all she is or has ever been.)
For instance, the story that opens:
The summer of 1974 was brutally hot in New York, and I kept thinking about how nice and icy it must be at the North Pole. And then I thought: 'Wait a second; why not go?' You know, like in cartoons - where they hang 'Going to the North Pole' on their door knobs, and they just take off.
So I spent a couple of weeks preparing for the trip - getting a hatchet, a huge backpack, maps, knives, sleeping bags, lures, and a three month supply of bannock: a versatile high-protein paste that can be made into flatbread, biscuits or cereal.
Now, I had decided to hitchhike; and one day I just walked out onto Houston Street, weighed down with seventy pounds of gear, and stuck out my thumb.
'Going North?' I asked the driver as I struggled into his station wagon.
Having grown up on a steady diet of Magical Native Americans and twee New Age cultural appropriation, and coming fresh from Ishi In Two Worlds' litanyHaving grown up on a steady diet of Magical Native Americans and twee New Age cultural appropriation, and coming fresh from Ishi In Two Worlds' litany of atrocities against native Americans by white landowners, this was...a bit of a nasty surprise.
I guess there never really are any Good Guys™....more
Early in her therapy, Our Heroine, Bernice - assigned a therapist following an overdose she can't remember taking and a 911 call she can't remember maEarly in her therapy, Our Heroine, Bernice - assigned a therapist following an overdose she can't remember taking and a 911 call she can't remember making - and Our Hero, Dr. Young, have the following exchange:
'I read about hypnosis and it said that suggestions can be made that a hypnotised person takes to be reality. How am I to know whether you are making such suggestions?'
'I am careful not to make suggestions.'
The text indicates so consistently otherwise that it's almost funny:
'I'll tell you about a dream I had. A child is hiding behind a big rock. I recognise the rock. Bernas and I used to play around it. I thought I should tell you the dream.'
'I think your mind gives you dreams like this to tell us to pay attention to someone who needs help [Suggestion #1]. One patient I helped dreamed there were children of hers who were at the bottom of a swimming pool, and she was bringing them to me and I was resuscitating them. I was able to contact them and bring them back to life [Suggestion #2]. We will see what we can do for this one [Suggestion #3].
'Let your mind shift to where you are hiding behind a big rock. Somewhere you are hiding behind a big rock. Why are you hiding there?'
'I'm hiding from Papa.'
'Why are you hiding from him?'
'He wants me to get in the car and go away. I won't go, and I ran here to hide from him.'
'He is gone now. You stopped knowing what was happening outside [Suggestion #4]. You stopped feeling your body and you stopped seeing with your eyes [Suggestion #5]. Much time has passed since then [Suggestion #6]. I am Dr. Young, and you are in my office. You are safe here. I want you to open your eyes and look around. Open your eyes now.'
She opened her eyes and looked around in surprise.
'I am Dr. Young, and you are in my office. You have been asleep a long time [Suggestion #7]. Many years have passed while you were sleeping [Suggestion #8]. Your body has kept growing while you were sleeping [Suggestion #9], and it has grown up now. You can see you're not behind the rock now.'
'I want to go home.'
'The home you were in was a long time ago and is far away and you need a new home now [Suggestion #10].'
'I could walk.'
'It is much too far to walk. But you have a new home that is near here and you can go to it [Suggestion #11]. Your grown-up self will take you there [Suggestion #12]. Your grown-up self will take care of you [Suggestion #13]. You are safe to go back to sleep now. Go back to sleep.'
'Bernice, wake up now as I count to three. One, two, three. Stretch now.'
'I've been talking to a child who has been hiding behind a big rock. And she wants to go back to her old home [Suggestion #14]. I told her you will take her back to the new home [Suggestion #15]. If she wakes up [Suggestion #16], tell her she is with you now, and that you will take care of her.'
'Is this one of your suggestions?'
'No, she is very real [Suggestion #17]. Call me if there are problems with her [Suggestion #18]. I will see you next week. Goodbye.'
Bernice called me three days later.
'I keep hearing this child's voice saying "I want to go home". This is driving me up a wall. Do something.'
That's eighteen possibly-personality-generating suggestions in one session. And it's only the second session.
A sort of general overview, in article-sized samples, of UFO mythology from the 19th Century to the present day (the airship craze; the Flatwoods MonsA sort of general overview, in article-sized samples, of UFO mythology from the 19th Century to the present day (the airship craze; the Flatwoods Monster; the Chiles-Whitted and Socorro sightings; George Adamski's terribly convincing photographs; Roswell Through The Ages; the abductees, etc.).
There's nothing terribly exciting here if you're already reasonably well-read on the subject, which it increasingly looks - to my only very mild shame - like I am. I suspect all the questionable and lolarious accounts were left on the cutting-room floor....more