Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Dear St. Joan of Arc

It's weird how I feel as though I haven't been home in truly a dog's age, and I still have almost two more weeks before I'll see my sweet little street again. I wonder if the leaves will have begun to creak out of their sockets and descend to their resting piles yet. Instead of a red carpet, I shall have a crackly ocean leading the way to my door from the curb, and I will openly take sentimental joy in sounding like a rain stick as I make my way to my estranged Victorian shanty!

I'm so glad that I will be home for Christmas this year. First thing is first: I must acquire a sewing machine in some mysterious way so that I can make stockings for everyone while I have the chance! I intended to do that last year, but every spare moment I had was consumed with laboring over the most inefficiently-crafted quilt this world has ever seen (but it least I finished it). I dream of a future time in my life where I can spend an entire month doing nothing but waking up late, having breakfast for lunch, and setting to work on handmade Christmas gifts of all kinds! I'll listen to songs on repeat and shamelessly zone out into my daydreams while my hands are at work on soap, or a candle, or a tea cozy...

The other day, I started a new book called 'West With the Night.' It's been flapping around in the van for quite some time now...some autobiography of a female pilot in the 1930s in Africa that Lauren's little brother gave her a while back. It wasn't being read, so I took it up. So far, I have really enjoyed the way that the author describes things. Her little phrases and poetic observations inspire me enough to stop reading for a couple minutes at a time, look out the window, and repeat her words over and over under my breath until I feel that I've sufficiently soaked up some kind of benefit from that particular bit. Not that this is necessarily an example of something that would stop me in my tracks, but here's a cute little sentence worth repeating:

"She was a little like the eccentric genius who, after being asked by his host why he had rubbed the broccoli in his hair at dinner, apologized with a bow from the waist and said he had thought it was spinach."

It's just a fun and adventurous world to run off to during long drives, and I definitely recommend it!

The drive to New Orleans was about nine hours, but less than half actually went into my book. I can only read as fast as I can speak, so I'm about 100 pages into it. New Orleans was really a strange experience, and to be honest, I both loved and hated it. That place is haunted and magical and deeply unnerving in many ways. The night of our show was a David Lynch-directed music video, basically, but rife with coincidence to the highest degree. At least they had a giant bird cage for Christopher to dance in.

We went to the minor basilica in the french quarter, which, despite being the oldest cathedral in the country, reminds me a lot of the cathedral in downtown Sacramento on K street. I bought a small St. Joan of Arc pendant that I'm wearing upon my neck this very minute. Having it has made me behave rather superstitiously the last couple of days. The only other time I can recall feeling the urge to have some semblance of small daily ritual was when I was 13 and combining behaviors such as sprinkling grave yard dust over spell candles, then attending catholic mass with black fingernails and rosaries. Would you believe me if I told you that I wasn't goth?

Anyway, the pendant reminded me of my old, purely symbolic fascination with Joan of Arc from three or four years ago. I had just read Anais Nin's first diary (she has 13 or so!) and was intensely inspired by a chapter where she gushed at length on how she only wished that she could be like Joan of Arc and save France. Shortly thereafter, I put myself on this weird schedule of exercising and reading adamantly, trying to get myself into adequate physical and mental shape so that I could be a hero. I vigorously jumped on my bed for an hour a day at least, listening to Stereolab with super-hero sugarplums dancing in my head...

As it turns out, I'm no super hero, and actually, I could use some exercise more than ever right now! But my pendant is modestly empowering and has already served as a reminder to pursue my dreams and accomplish that what I feel must be done.

For all who read this blog that might be in need of a saint to look after them right now, if not a super hero, here is a small prayer to St. Joan of Arc:

Glorious St. Joan of Arc,
filled with compassion for those who invoke you,
with love for those who suffer,
heavily laden with the weight of my troubles,
I kneel at your feet and humbly beg you
to take my present need under your special protection...

(mention here)

O most powerful Saint Joan,
Do not let me lost my soul, but obtain for me
the grace of winning my ways to heaven
forever and ever.


  1. your blog is making my day constantly. keep it up! <3

  2. Thank you SO much, Michelle. I struggle with my new commitment to writing things down, so your encouragement is an oil-soaked rag torch for my lonely pursuit down the mineshaft of...documentation!