Redheaded Ramblings: Sheila A-stray  

"This race and this country and this life produced me, he said. I shall express myself as I am." -- James Joyce, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

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I pulled that incoherent Chita Rivera quote from this pre-review of the Nine revival. But once I read the whole thing, my overwhelming response is: I don't think there is one coherent quote in this entire 3 page article. Everyone sounds like a blithering idiot. I hope the director's concept has more clarity than his actresses.

Choice quotes:

"In the States we choose to do things because they bring us to prominence. In London, for instance, you go back and forth from being a spear carrier to being Hamlet. What you learn is the value of the piece. And I think it really minimizes ego." -- Laura Benanti

"I literally counted my lines and went, `No'...I finally just went, `Too small for who?' Not too small for me. Too small for Julia Roberts? Yes. And then they said Chita Rivera, and I was like, `Sure.'" -- Laura Benanti

"You're very much a huge part of what you give yourself to." -- Chita Rivera

"I've never in my life felt like I'm a beautiful girl; I've never held that with me. And this has taught me to at least carry myself as if I am, even if I don't feel it in my heart." -- Laura Benanti The woman should be stopped from giving interviews forevermore, frankly

"I have a code: of our world and not of our world. And these women were of our world." -- David Leveaux (the director....That quote made me think of my OWN personal code: Of a pretentious nature and NOT of a pretentious nature ... every person in this article except for Banderas sounds "of a pretentious nature" - Also, every quote from the director made me wonder: Hmm. Wonder if this one's gonna bomb...sounds that way to me)

Antonio Banderas saves the day at the end of the article, with some coherent and charming quotes, about what it is like to be surrounded by women at all times.

"When I was sick, I got seven chicken soups in one afternoon."

  contact Sheila Link: 5/30/2003 02:17:00 PM

Friday, May 30, 2003  


Incoherence from Chita Rivera, now doing a Broadway revival of Nine with Antonio Banderas : Try to make sense of this:

"I suddenly got this picture. Antonio, he's going on an adventure. It's like not wanting to miss a good party. I saw Antonio like this golden bird climbing into the sky with all this power and all this energy coming from the tail feathers. And I was on the back, hanging on. I was on it for the ride. And the deeper I got into it, the more I realized I was supposed to be there. It was almost not for me. It wasn't like I was on this trip for me. I feel Antonio so strongly, and I really want him to get everything that he deserves because he really deserves it. It's a spiritual thing."

Uh ....

okay ...


  contact Sheila Link: 5/30/2003 02:03:00 PM



This entry is from my second year in grad school. One of my best friends in grad school was a crazy Texan named Wade. He would wear his Stetson hat to voice class. We were two peas in a pod. Wade is one of the most insightful men I have ever met. And he loves women. But somehow our relationship was like – brother and sister, or kindred spirits. We're still good friends.

September 24, 1996

Saw Wade sitting out in the courtyard, writing in a notebook, hair all haywire. I tentatively walked over. Didn't know if he didn't want to be disturbed. He looked up at me, deep grey shadows under his eyes. Hm. What's up here?

He put his notebook down. We exchanged Hey, how ya doins – all with a deep subtext going on. Hm.

He asked me what I was doing. I had 45 minutes before I had to be anywhere. Then he offered up to me what was going on, what had just happened to him in his acting class.

"Wade! What?" Squatting next to him. I hadn't been sure before if he had wanted me to sit down, but then I knew he did.

He is so open. So angry, so conflicted, so self-aware. I really relate to this man. We can actually TALK to each other and actually BE in the conversation. He confided in me.

It's hard sometimes, to describe a conversation like this one. It has an essence, hard to capture, yet so potent. Deep. We're very alike, he and I.

He described something he's going through – very complex, very specific – and I was right with him. I know it in my bones, in my blood. "I know just what you mean, Wade."

"Yeah, I actually thought about you. I had a feeling you'd know. I mean, from that night we spent together, member, and what we talked about?"


He told me about B. [his acting teacher]. What she had said to him in class. We go all over the place in our conversations, but somehow, we keep up with each other. Nobody else can. Others try to follow me and Wade and get completely lost, or left behind, like: "Oh … I thought we were still talking about this…" Wade and I are like: "Nope. We moved on. Now we're talking about this." So, for the most part, when Wade and I are deep in conversation, people leave us alone. It's all telepathic with the two of us. We're also very tough with each other.

Me to him, about what was going on in his class: "So do you find that to be abusive or helpful? Sounds abusive to me, actually."

We give each other room to explain ourselves, though. It's all about listening.

Listen to me rave about Wade!

We talked about hands. Why women are so into men's hands. How he doesn't get that. I reached out and took his hand, to explain it to him. "I'm not indiscriminately into hands. But certain men have hands I love. For me, it has to do with if I can feel you in the hands. If I can feel the man in his hands."

"Ohhhh." (Light bulb on for Wade.) "Yeah, okay, I know what you mean now."

"Cause not every guy is really in his hands."

I talked about Pat's hands. His hands were great. I loved his hands most of all. Wade gets me, man. He just gets me. Not many men do.

We talked about Fool for Love. Beirut. The scenes we are working on.

Wade, to me: "Oh no! Don't learn your lines yet! Get into the situation – Time and place. Don't even look at the lines! Understand the situation." We both want this year to be about getting out of the way, getting our egos or whatever out of the way, so that we can act.

We talked about therapy.

He had had a mind-blowing day. B. called him "a Rolls Royce with a dent … No, you're not a Rolls Royce. You're a Wade."

As he was talking to me, really confiding in me, I got tears in my eyes.

Can we let go? Can we allow ourselves to breathe? To just breathe? To simply breathe? So much of acting is in the breath. Everything starts with the breath, and half the time we're up on stage all stressed out and barely breathing at all.

Wade and I sat in the courtyard at school and practiced breathing together. Slow breath in. Concentrate only on your breathing. Be in your body. BE IN YOUR BODY.

Then came Wade's BRILLIANT observations about my drawings. What do I draw? It's really just a doodle, but when I doodle, I draw ladies' faces. There are cartoon lady-faces all around the borders of all my notebook pages. Some have straight hair, some have glasses, some have boingy-boing curls, some have long eyelashes … I am always doodling this woman. She literally is everywhere. I do not even know I am doing it half the time. She's like Tic-Tac-Toe for me.

So Wade had noticed these drawings before, and had mentioned them to me once or twice. The first time he brought up "the lady", all he said to me was, with no preamble, "Who's that lady, darlin'?" I had no idea what he was talking about. "What lady?" Silently, Wade pointed at my notebook, and I suddenly saw, as if for the first time, the 20 "ladies" clamoring in the margins. I BURST into laughter. "I have no idea who that lady is!" Wade does drawings, too: skeletal woodcut faces with deep shadows under the eyes, eyes bored into the head. These faces are all over his various notebooks. A counterpart to my "lady". That's what Wade calls her. "The lady."

Last year, in voice class, I noticed a skeletal face staring up at me from Wade's voice journal. Or maybe it was the memorable day he sat next to me in Theatre History, and we wrote notes to each other in our respective notebooks, like we were in high school. Legs sticking out from under our desks. Stephen all the way across the room. I remember it was the day of Shelagh's presentation. She said Wade and I made quite an impression when she first walked in the room. Like we had become the same person, joined at the hip. This was from Shelagh's directorial visual sense of things, her instinct for people's energy.

Later, I mentioned the skeleton-guy to Wade and we had an intriguing talk about him. Ruminating – or, no, not even – just commenting on these faces we draw, over and over and over. What are they about? Why? Who are these people?

And I remember Wade saying point-blank, "Well, I know I'm drawing myself." And that sparked a tiny bit of recognition in me. I remember him suddenly drawing the parallel between his drawings and mine. I didn’t even know he noticed my "ladies". Wade's eyes, man. Nothing gets by those eyes. Nothing. Especially if you're a woman.

I remember feeling sort of startled when he dragged me into the discussion of his drawings. Wait, this is about you, not me!

But Wade is smarter than me in some ways. He was like: I had noticed your drawings, and related to them on a subconscious level, because – subconsciously again – I recognized myself in it. I saw your drawings and was like: Oh. You do that too?

I was almost pissed to be discovered like that. How dare he see so much? I can never ever hide when I am with Wade. It pisses me off.

Wade said casually, "It's like that lady you draw."

I was puzzled, again having no idea what he was talking about. "What lady?"

"You know. The same lady you draw everywhere. The one with the luscious lips."

Startled. I felt naked.

This was all last year, during the first conversation about the drawings. And it came up again today.

Wade actually looked like one of his own drawings today, sitting in the courtyard. The eyes burrowed into his head surrounded by shadows that almost look like bruises, the pale sensitive face, the pain exuding from that face.

Wade burst out, "That's why I just love the lady you draw! And her lips! Those sensuous lips! You're drawin' yourself, darlin'."

There are moments when I feel closer to Wade, more known by Wade, than anyone else at this school. Even Shelagh. I do not know what I would do without him. He sees my dirt, my shame, the stuff I don't like about myself. And he loves it. It makes me human to him. We talked about that today.

We talked about Lily Taylor. We talked about Jennifer Jason Leigh. She drives Wade crazy. "I want to see her in a movie where she does nothing. Where she sits still. Where she keeps it simple. She's always so busy distracting herself, twitching, all mannerisms. It drives me out of my fucking mind." We talked about Martin Landau.

Wade told me a story about Landau and Tim Burton, during the filming of Ed Wood, a movie I loved. Landau said to Burton, during the rehearsal process, "So this film is a tribute to Bela Lugosi." And Burton said, "No, it's a tribute to acting."

I welled up as Wade told me this. It's true. That's the genius of the movie, that's actually why I loved the movie. The horrible pathos of the scene with the octopus … Lugosi being a trooper, flailing about in the puddle with the octopus arms … it was hilarious, and tragic. Michael Gilio and I saw that film together, and we were literally laughing and crying at the same moment. Humiliation hand in hand with dignity: acting in a nutshell.

I wonder if Landau has ever played King Lear. He should.

So Wade and I parted, after we had a conversation about holding tension in our mouths. How to let it go, how to relax the jaw. Wade has always commented on how tense my mouth is. So sitting there, in the courtyard, I consciously tried to relax my jaw. Wade scoffed at my attempt. "Sweetheart, you're TENSE. Come on now. Really relax." So we both sat there, doing it, massaging our jaws, sticking our tongues out, moving our mouths around. We roared at how stupid we must look.

I told him about the clipped-tongue thing I had when I was a baby. Also having braces for three years in high school.

Wade exclaimed, "Ohhhhh! No wonder!" He meant it kindly. I knew just what he meant. It just came out funny. I laughed, and threw my arms around him, saying, "No wonder you're all fucked up, Sheila!"

"No! No! You know what I mean!"

"No, I know. I'm kidding."

Later that day, in voice class, he passed me a note. A propos of nothing. I literally will keep this note forever. FOREVER. Here is what Wade passed to me, during class, spelling mistakes and all:

"That explains a whole lot. ie: about your mouth. You have beautiful teeth. It's muscle memory. You may have been an ugly duckling. Your now a swann. Swann's are beautiful. And mean."


Swanns are beautiful and mean. That is absolutely classic. Wade loves me because I am like a swann. I am beautiful and MEAN.

Later in the day, I left a scrap of paper in his mailbox. All it said was:

To: Wade

From: Sheila

And in that big space, I drew a "lady". Just for him.

  contact Sheila Link: 5/30/2003 08:39:00 AM


Look at this. Why is this pissing me off so much? I know the "world is too much with me, late and soon". I can feel it. Things are getting to me.

Why doesn't she be a good obedient Muslim, go to Saudi Arabia, and try to get a driver's license there? She should be praising Allah for even BEING in this country, where she is allowed to drive. Take the veil off, and thank God you are HERE and not there.

I've had it. I don't just have compassion fatigue. I have no more compassion whatsoever. At least not for stuff like this.

  contact Sheila Link: 5/28/2003 12:03:00 PM

Wednesday, May 28, 2003  

Something is totally screwed up with my blog. It is disappearing. It is never-constant. It is driving me out of my g-d mind.

Update: It is a Blog-spot server-transfer. We all are experiencing it. It is not just me.

  contact Sheila Link: 5/28/2003 11:42:00 AM


I am off to acting class ... I'm working on Saint Joan, one of my favorite plays. It's one of my favorite plays to READ. Like all Shaw's plays, it is delicious language, beautiful to READ ... but a play must be spoken, the words must lift off the page, and that is where actors (myself included) can get into trouble with Shaw. Can you speak the damn thing? And make it sound real? This is my challenge with Joan. I love her. Calling the Dauphin, "Charlie". "Listen to me, Charlie..."

And then, at the end, when she realizes she has been betrayed, she turns to the group of inquisitors and states, "Light your fire."


My acting teacher Sam Schacht said once to an actress working on Shaw: (I can't remember which play she was working on ... but she was playing an upper-class woman, obviously ... and, sorry to be bitchy, but this actress was quite quite pleased with her own work. Self-regard radiated from her every pore, as she chewed up the scenery imperiously.) Anyway, Sam watched her work, she finished, there was a long pause, and all he said was, "You can do whatever the hell you want to do. Just don't put a stick up your ass and think you're playing Shaw."

Ah, Sam. He certainly has a way with words.

  contact Sheila Link: 5/27/2003 05:23:00 PM

Tuesday, May 27, 2003  


...for tracking down stories like this one. (It's the first link on the page at the moment.) I read the tale of New Rome, Ohio and the insane traffic tickets issued left and right, with growing bewilderment, and a "WHAT??" expression on my face. What??

Kepple has also linked to a "New Rome" photo gallery - you have to see it. It's hilarious. And tragic. The URL is "" ... Get the picture?

  contact Sheila Link: 5/27/2003 03:01:00 PM


Talking with my brother on the phone this weekend.

Bren: Yeah, so I'll be bartending Monday and Tuesday. You should come in!
Me: (enthusiastically) Yes! Maybe I will definitely come in!
Bren: You sound like Ari Fleischer.

  contact Sheila Link: 5/27/2003 02:54:00 PM


The Greatest Jeneration, as always, has a very moving photo-gallery up for Memorial Day yesterday.

The Vietnam vet hugging the statue has brought tears to my eyes.

  contact Sheila Link: 5/27/2003 02:33:00 PM


"Where are they holding the Cannes Film Festival this year?"

-- Christina Aguilera

  contact Sheila Link: 5/27/2003 02:24:00 PM

"Wanna go out to dinner with me?"
"Uh ... have you been to Toronto lately?"

Last week, Jen (roommate) was meeting up with her best friend from high school, who flew into New York for the weekend. She flew in from Toronto.

Jen invited me to come out with them. Jen, her friend just in from Toronto, and about five other people, who had also just flown in from Toronto. What -- are you NUTS?

I said, "You are aware of the problems in Toronto right now."

"What ... like ... SARS?"

"Uh - Yes."

"Well, she says that that's all blown over now ... She didn't see any sick people in Toronto or anything."

"Hmm." (Clearly, they aren't reading the newspapers I'm reading.)

Long pause. Jen said, (and I wish I could have taped her tone of voice, it was hilarious ... hilarious only because she said it in a dead-serious way): "So ... do you want to come out with us? Or ... you don't want to get SARS, huh..."

We roared.

"No. I do not feel like getting SARS this weekend. LAST weekend I kinda felt like contracting SARS, but I'm over that now."

(One must joke in such serious times.)

  contact Sheila Link: 5/27/2003 02:15:00 PM


Tom Friedman says it's about time we practice a little tough love with the Saudis. I couldn't agree more. We just need to be willing to tell the truth - to the Saudis and to ourselves.. And we need to be willing to get smaller cars.

Saudi Arabia is a sick place. And we support them. It's an abusive relationship, and we're the enablers. No more. I am glad we are pulling out of there. Good. Saudi Arabia, figure out your own damn problems, build your own damn roads, build your own skyscrapers, and create your own business plans. 19 of your sons were on those planes of death. Buh-bye.

I have no objectivity, I realize. I cannot stand the Saudi regime, the Saudi culture, and I cannot stand that we have tolerated that 7th century bullshit for so long.

  contact Sheila Link: 5/27/2003 02:10:00 PM


To all the poetry-lovers out there, Emily and Stephen have put out a call for poems on love and marriage, appropriate to be read at a wedding. I put up two of my faves, but if anyone has a good suggestion, go on over to their poetry blog and post it.

Spread the love. Spread the word.

  contact Sheila Link: 5/27/2003 01:56:00 PM


Read this post on PowerLine.

Sultaana Freeman, a Muslim woman in Florida, refused to take her veil off when being photographed for her driver's license. Now all hell, of course, has broken loose, her trial starts today, the ACLU is defending her, blah blah. LOOK AT THE PICTURE of her though. LOOK AT HER PICTURE.

You're in America, woman. Driver's license are used for identification. Take your damn veil off. This is how we do things here.

  contact Sheila Link: 5/27/2003 12:43:00 PM


The man is eminently quotable. I have always loved the "foolish consistency" quote. Love love love it. Here's more. Read them!!

-- A chief event of life is the day in which we have encountered a mind that startled us.

-- Great geniuses have the shortest biographies.

-- When Nature has work to be done, she creates a genius to do it.

-- America is another name for opportunity.

-- Hitch your wagon to a star.

-- A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesman and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do.

-- Let us treat men and women well; treat them as if they were real. Perhaps they are.

-- The louder he talked of his honour, the faster we counted our spoons.

-- All sensible people are selfish, and nature is tugging at every contract to make the terms of it fair.

-- A child is a curly, dimpled lunatic.

-- A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him I may think aloud. I am arrived at last in the presence of a man so real and equal, that I may drop even those undermost garments of dissimulation, courtesy, and second thought, which men never put off, and may deal with him with the simplicity and wholeness with which one chemical atom meets another.

-- A good indignation brings out all one's powers.

-- A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer.

-- Adhere to your own act, and congratulate yourself if you have done something strange and extravagant, and broken the monotony of a decorous age. (I just love his word choices here. "Strange and extravagant" ... "decorous age")

-- Bad times have a scientific value. These are occasions a good learner would not miss. (I love this one.)

-- Doing well is the result of doing good. That's what capitalism is all about.

-- Each man takes care that his neighbor shall not cheat him. But a day comes when he begins to care that he does not cheat his neighbor. Then all goes well - he has changed his market-cart into a chariot of the sun.

-- Enthusiasm is the mother of effort, and without it nothing great was ever achieved. (I loved a man once whose main religion was enthusiasm. A thirst for enthusiasm truly is one of the most attractive and lovable traits you can have.)

-- I hate the giving of the hand unless the whole man accompanies it.

-- I suppose every old scholar has had the experience of reading something in a book which was significant to him, but which he could never find again. Sure he is that he read it there, but no one else ever read it, nor can he find it again, though he buy the book and ransack every page.

-- Is not marriage an open question, when it is alleged, from the beginning of the world, that such as are in the institution wish to get out, and such as are out wish to get in?

-- It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion, it is easy in solitude to live after your own; but the great man is he who, in the midst of the world, keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.

-- Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. (Words to live by!!)

-- New York is a sucked orange.

-- Meek young men grow up in libraries, believing it their duty to accept the views which Cicero, which Locke, which Bacon, have given, forgetful that Cicero, Locke, and Bacon were only young men in libraries, when they wrote these books. (I must remind myself of this, when I am filled with despair that I can't write like James Joyce. Just chill out, Sheila. You should NEVER EVER think about Joyce when you sit down at your desk!)

-- Every man I meet is in some way my superior.

-- You send your child to the schoolmaster, but 'tis the schoolboys who educate him.

-- No great man ever complains of want of opportunity.

-- None of us will ever accomplish anything excellent or commanding except when he listens to this whisper which is heard by him alone.

-- Perpetual modernness is the measure of merit in every work of art.

-- Everybody keeps telling me how surprised they are with what I've done. But I'm telling you honestly that it doesn't surprise me. I knew I could do it.

-- Few people know how to take a walk. The qualifications are endurance, plain clothes, old shoes, an eye for nature, good humor, vast curiosity, good speech, good silence and nothing too much.

-- The characteristic of a genuine heroism is its persistency. All men have wandering impulses, fits and starts of generosity. But when you have resolved to be great, abide by yourself, and do not weakly try to reconcile yourself with the world. The heroic cannot be the common, nor the common the heroic.

-- Fine manners need the support of fine manners in others.

-- Genius always finds itself a century too early. (!!!!!)

-- God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose. Take which you please - you can never have both.

-- The days come and go like muffled and veiled figures sent from a distant friendly party, but they say nothing, and if we do not use the gifts they bring, they carry them as silently away. (Man. So true. So true.)

-- The age of a woman doesn't mean a thing. The best tunes are played on the oldest fiddles.

-- Sometimes a scream is better than a thesis.

-- Win as if you were used to it, lose as if you enjoyed it for a change.

-- Who you are speaks so loudly I can't hear what you're saying. (Ha ha! I know just what he means!)

-- When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers.

-- What would be the use of immortality to a person who cannot use well a half an hour.

-- We ascribe beauty to that which is simple; which has no superfluous parts; which exactly answers its end; which stands related to all things; which is the mean of many extremes.

-- The miracles of genius always rest on profound convictions which refuse to be analyzed.

-- 'Tis the good reader that makes the good book; a good head cannot read amiss: in every book he finds passages which seem confidences or asides hidden from all else and unmistakeably meant for his ear.

-- Think, and be careful what thou art within; For there is sin in the desire of sin; Think, and be thankful, in a different case; For there is grace in the desire of grace.

-- There was never a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him to sleep.

-- The two parties which divide the state, the party of Conservation and that of Innovation, are very old, and have disputed the possession of the world ever since it was made.

-- We are too civil to books. For a few golden sentences we will turn over and actually read a volume of 4 or 500 pages. (HAHA!)

-- Truth is beautiful, without doubt; but so are lies.

  contact Sheila Link: 5/27/2003 11:54:00 AM


This past weekend was Emerson's 200th birthday. Emerson has always been a personal favorite of mine.

(What's Up, Doc tangent:
Mr. Larabie: A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds!
Judy: (gasping in pleasure) Emerson!!
Mr. Larabie: You like Emerson?
Judy: I adore him.
Mr. Larabie: I adore anyone who adores Emerson.
Judy: And I adore anyone who adores anyone who adores Emerson. Your turn!)

Here's a great piece in The Boston Globe about Emerson, the man. The Self-Reliant man.

Emerson's self-reliance did not mean a narrowly personal or economic self-interestedness. The kind of individualism that mattered to him, and that he himself lived out, was independence of thought or action undertaken not in arrogance but within, despite, and against an acute self-consciousness of one's perennial susceptibility to group-think.

To qualify as true self-reliance, an act must not merely be ''the choice of the hands, of the eyes, of the appetites'' but ''a whole act of the man''-the ''choice of my constitution.'' As always with Emerson, the choice of words matters. ''Constitution'' here suggests both one's bedrock personal character and the fundamental law of the American republic. Emersonian self-reliance fused together the moral-religious and the sociopolitical, a belief in the awakened conscience or ''inner light'' and a belief in the inherent equality and worth of every person-male or female, white or nonwhite.

  contact Sheila Link: 5/27/2003 11:25:00 AM

My weekend in Rhode Island:

-- Green. Everything in Rhode Island is a lush lush green. The trees meet over the roads, creating a long green canopy.

-- Grey skies and fog.

-- Green and grey. My favorite combination in nature. (Tell me my heritage isn't Irish.)

-- My aunt Regina and my cousin Emma drove to my parents for a visit. Emma showed us her pictures from her prom. She wore a lavendar shiny dress and looked absolutely spectacular. My tomboy cousin, who usually dresses like an urban youth, an urban youth about to become a rap star - bandana wrapped around her head, huge puffy parka, and glittery sunglasses -- Emma looks like a ghetto rapper who has a freckled Irish face and rosy cheeks. Emma is a trip. I said to her, "Emma, it's just that you have a 45 year old soul, and you happen to be in high school." Emma nodded seriously. She knows it is true. I said, "You will catch up with your own soul. But for now: you have to hang out with other 15 year olds, and pretend that you guys are the same age." Emma murmured, "Yeah. It sucks."

-- My mom and I walked the sea wall. It was a grey day, with long grey swells coming in. Over in Newport, across the bay, we could see the surf crashing on the rocks. It's a couple miles away, so we could only imagine how huge the surf was. There was a teeny slit of sunlight coming through the grey, beaming down on that Newport shore... which is why the surf gleamed like that.

-- The air was chilly the whole weekend. Freezing. Not like Memorial Day at all. We all sat around in the living room wrapped up in fleece blankets.

-- My father gardened so diligently that he literally could not move the next day. My father's garden is a work of art.

-- Had a late lunch at the Ocean Mist with my sister Jean. The Ocean Mist is a big rickety shack on stilts, standing on the sand. When the tide is high, the waves roll right under the bar. Jean has said, "Someday, that shack is going to slide off into the ocean." But for now, it's a great place to hang out. We sat at the bar and ate burgers. Jean told me about her experience taking her class to Alton Jones (part of the URI campus ... which hosts local high school and grade school classes to come spend the weekend, and go on nature hikes, learn about animal tracks and constellations.) I went to Alton Jones myself, in grade school. Jean was telling me about her junior high kids, and how they succumbed to the experience. Some of the other groups kept wise-cracking through the whole thing, and kept getting in trouble, and wouldn't work together as a team, but her group totally got into it. She was very proud of them. Jean's stories about teaching make me cry. I was shedding tears at the Ocean Mist, like a pathetic lunatic.

-- Went out to Mews (a notorious tavern in Wakefield) with Beth and Regina, friends from high school. It was awesome. I love the Mews. We talked nonstop.

-- I slept until 10 am every day. Sometimes 11 am. I also took naps. This is absolutely unheard of in the lexicon of Sheila. I do not take naps, and I only need 5 hours of sleep a night. Well, this weekend, I literally could not get enough sleep. I was in a stupor.

-- I drove down to the beach by myself my first night home. It was windy, cold, drizzly. The surf was crazy. There were little people in black wetsuits bobbing up and down far out, waiting for the perfect wave. I was wearing my father's rain parka. I sat on the end of the sea wall, by the clam shack (not open yet), and watched the water. The greyness of the waves, the tumultuous white-water, churning against the rocks. I just watch the water and let my mind go blank. It is one of the most relaxing things in the world.

-- Sunday night, Beth and I met at Mere's. We hung out in Mere's living room, drinking wine, eating bread and cheese, and laughing like maniacs. Calvin, Mere's son, showed us his karate uniform. Calvin is a black-belt. He is very very proud, as well he should be. Very into his accomplishments. Showing us the program from his graduation, and the pictures of him in karate class. Mere is now taking karate. She's such a bad-ass! I do not know who I would be without those two women. We have been friends for so long. Junior high was when it all began. They KNOW me. It is so easy being with them. And also: still challenging, and thought-provoking, and hilarious, and fun.

-- Took a walk down to Potter's Pond. I sprayed myself with Off, because I fear the deer tick. I saw a mallard couple, swimming around peacefully. The birds in the trees were shrieking like maniacs ... they were LOUD.

-- Jean and I drove around, listening to Eminem (of course), with Hudson panting in the back seat.

-- We drove by the house Jean will be moving into next month. It is adorable!! It's not finished yet, so we stalked around on the periphery, peering through the windows, setting up her furniture theoretically. There was a very very VERY bold male duck who approached us as we were doing this. He had no shyness. No fear. He was huge. He was quacking incessantly. He came right up to us, quacking, on his big orange feet, staring up at us. Jean and I were like: "Uh ... hi there ... what is up with you?" He followed us around ... at one point we got ahead of him, when we walked around the corner of the house. I turned around and saw the duck RUNNING to catch up with us. He was RUNNING. And quacking the whole time. Then, Hudson, sitting in the back seat of the car, saw the duck, and strained his neck out the window. The duck skittered away. Suddenly silent. No more quacking. A couple of tense moments passed, as we watched the duck waddle away, trying to maintain his dignity. Then Jean and I heard two very small subdued quacks. We burst into laughter. They literally had the sound of terrified defiance, like: "I'm not afraid of that dog ... I can still quack ... Listen to this..." (Then, two teeny tiny scared little quacks.)

-- I took the bus back yesterday morning. The bus left at 6:15 am. So my dear dear mother woke me up at 5 a.m. We drove up to Bess Eaton and got some coffee. The fog was very heavy. Visibility was quite low. Nobody was awake. The whole world was covered in fog. But you could sort of see the greenness through that heavy grey. Mum had to drop me off at the deserted bus stop, so I just stood there, on the empty sidewalk ... staring up and down the street ... feeling like I was going to die from the beauty. Everything was hushed, muffled. It was so early in the morning. You could not see more than a block down the street because of the fog. There wasn't even any bird song yet. It was poetry. Total poetry.

  contact Sheila Link: 5/27/2003 10:56:00 AM

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