long game

One of the down sides about being a compound being (which perhaps we all are; I have no way to even guess at this) is that no one (including me) really has the whole picture.

Five Facets, kate mckinnon 2013

No matter how revealing I am, I could never reveal the whole of my plan, even to myself, because it doesn’t work that way. I explore the edges, try to abide by my own code of honour, I discover my own ratios (and in every case I see that they are identical to those in the world around me).

Somehow, I never die, although one day that will change.

I turn 50 in two days; for some reason, entirely having to do with being a woman, it hurts. This is the first time I have felt this. I am unquestionably on the back side of my hourglass; however long I live, my days of boundless energy and the ability to travel the world (and carry my own damn bag) are counting down. I feel the urgency; I resent any wasted time and any bullshit drama from others so deeply I cannot communicate it to you.

I refuse to chit-chat, to molder, to pander, to be where I am not needed, to ache in the cold, to look mournfully out of windows and wish I were doing something, for God’s sake. Although my time is vastly more well-spent staring out of a window than listening to stupid.  I changed my Contact page to still be even more prickly and offish, to say in as many ways as possible the thing I say to everyone who looks at me, “what are you fucking looking at?”

I will start out loving you; don’t waste it before you’ve had what you came for.

Everyone gets a sporting chance.

look at the sun, it’s all aglow
slow burning star
sinking low

do you disapprove of how we´ve wasted our time?
sunset, end of my days
my decline

the postscript you trace colours the sky
the red-letter light fades
and is filed away

I am surprised by my own temper; some things enrage me beyond explanation; others do not. One of the reasons I separate myself from my children and titrate myself into their lives in measured doses is because I hate myself when I lose my temper at them; I fill with shame when I treat them or my beloved with disrespect. I never speak of this, not really, but just typing it, my eyes well with tears. The truth is that no matter where we lived, I could not spend my life with my children and husband, because I don’t like the person I become in domestic captivity; there is an ugliness to the animal-need for privacy that I cannot bear to see in myself, or in the eyes of the person I was just rude to.

Whatever grief I carry, it isn’t for the dead, it’s for the knife in my heart every time I struck out at someone I loved in this life.

I find that I have a shelf life of exactly one week in the company of others, no more; beyond that I go bad. I feel it is in everyone’s best interest that I sequester myself. And so I make my life that way, and when people ask about my marriage (and they do) I say my paragraph about how we are each writers, and how our marriage is an endless romance, and that unlike most longings, ours for each other will always be requited until one of us no longer breathes, and who ever gets that from love, and it’s all true, every word true, but what drives my scarcity is the sorrow that I feel for needing to protect the people I love from my nature, and I never ever say that, because I don’t owe anyone a look inside my soul.

I can’t even think things through properly around other people. I just can’t do it, I don’t have the capability. But I value the interactions; I have to run my life in cycles.. experience, reflect, write, repeat…

you make me nervous when you telephone
you drive me crazy
I want to be alone
I want to be alone

What I’m actually trying to do here with my one life is to make a total package; everything I’ve done plays into this in some fashion. I’m working on my final release. You may or may not know that I am writing a book called Love Letters; I try only to mention it often enough so that I am obligated to continue it. It has twelve chapters and I have taken exactly twelve pre-orders for it; this was utterly random but now seems cosmic. It is larger than the number of pallbearers at a funeral (unless two are dead).  If one of the twelve gets weary of the wait, I will replace them with another. Twelve men on a jury, twelve tribes, twelve apostles, twelve hours, repeated, twelve months. An even dozen, a number of horsemen.

From Wiki:

Etymology suggests that “twelve” arises from the Germanic twalif, meaning “two-leftover”, so a literal translation would yield “two remaining [after having ten taken]”. This compound meaning may have been transparent to speakers of Old English, but the modern form “twelve” is quite opaque. Only the remaining tw- hints that twelve and two are related.

Lesson 12 of the Learn Tarot website is particularly informative, pointing out as it does that not all moments are equal; we must learn to differentiate major from minor; to smell in the wind a moment of significance before it appears, to catch it before it passes.

The Hermit Card from the Pagan Tarot is drawn after my own heart. One thing you may not know about me is that I mean to interpret the entire Tarot into my own life; modelling for my own deck. After all, the Tarot is no more nor less than the study of the human path through life, the mundane and the major. We will, ideally, see each card before we end.

I expect that you will find a finished deck, carefully painted, in the small box I leave behind.

the hermit, from the Pagan Tarot

Our counting is elemental. Literally. Our very timekeeping is driven by the specific mechanical resonance of quartz; our math is generally base 10; the concepts of ten and twelve is are not ideas we made up. We ask ourselves, “if humans had eight fingers, instead of ten, would our math be base 8?” which is an annoyingly humancentric question in the first place. Perhaps the reason we have ten fingers is because ten is a number that our universe is built around, as are the numbers three, and twelve. We are just another expression of the basic building blocks. Base 10 is not driven by how many goddamn fingers a humanoid has, it just helped us see it. We often find our first answers close to home.

Numbers simply express what is already in motion, all around us. Triangles, spirals, sixagons… you need no comprehension of higher math to understand that it is a language, but of course any deeper understanding gives context, fills in the poetry, and is like listening to the whole album as opposed to the radio single.

I don’t know why my default is twelve; it simply is. It’s who I am, what I am made of, and I suspect that one could study me like a crystal, a fractal, or an equation, I would reduce to 12, and then 6, and then 3, and then one, and then to nothing.

Screen Shot 2013-05-28 at 9.32.30 AM

My mirror-box has five mirrors. But sometimes I can only see myself in four of them.

Anyway. If you can’t figure out why I think about Bryan Ferry too much, all I can say is that it would take too long to explain, who cares anyway, and of my Twelve, he is significant because he carries as his gifts beauty and music, and he reminds me of Bill; my idea of love reduces in all cases to one.

This will be the case no matter what happens next; I began searching for him, specifically him, as soon as I could stand. I did not miss the moment that brought me into his orbit, finally, even though I had to cross an ocean in great haste to reach it; I arrived only as the train doors were closing, it was pulling from the station. I swept through the gap, I could feel the river, the wave, and I will never forget the thrill of knowing, the taste of the moment, I did not miss it, I did not fail to see the open door, I went through it without hesitation; I found the space in spacetime and I came to him and bore his sons. Whatever that means, it was part of my mission, and I fucking completed it.

I high-five myself, even though I don’t know what it all means.

Nor do I have to.

Before I die, I´ll write this letter 
Here are the secrets you must know 
Until the cloak of evening shadow 
Changes to mantle of the dawn 

Marking the time spent on our journey 
There isn´t much we have to show 
Counting the cost in money only 
Strikes me as funny don´t you know? 

Tongue tied, the thread of conversation …
Weighing the words one tries to use 

11 thoughts on “long game

  1. Kate, you rad soul-barer, I hereby give you twelve times twelve astral hugs. No ‘splainin’ needed, but still appreciated.

    A note about age: I just ran across an article about a woman named Carmen Dell’Orefice who began modeling for Vogue at 15 to help support her family (saved on bus fare by roller skating to work), emerged from three uncool marriages, and still models in her eighties (and should). Legendary writer William S. Burroughs didn’t get a novel published until he was 49 years old. I predict you’ll wear 50 and over at least as well as Mr. Ferry. Rock the f^ck onnnnn.

  2. Oh, Kate, fifty is definitely a milestone and reason for introspection, but I feel that you have many more years on this planet and will use your time wisely. One of my friends who is 67 recently connected with a scientist who is using an invasive plant to find a way to reduce cancerous cells that does not harm other cells, as chemo does. My friend has access to an unlimited supply of the plant for research and never dreamed that the scientist was so easy to reach and the possibility that she can contribute to this research thrills her to no end.

    One of the things you do is delight us with your words…so…I thought you might like the article linked below (and it has nothing to do with your age, it just happened to be on the website today). I don’t know how you feel about George Carlin, but I think he would have liked it too!

    Thank you for making my days more enjoyable and early Happy Birthday!

    http://grammar.about.com/od/words/a/Never-Say-die-Euphemisms-For-Death.htm

  3. I agree with Teresa. You’ll wear 50 plus very well. That’s also who you are. I have a friend who turned 70 last month. She was dreading it terribly. Then, on the day, she woke up & realized it was just another day. Life goes on!

  4. Fifty, schmifty. I thought as you did, that life would begin to unwind after fifty; that I would begin to slow down, not be able to do as many things physically as I used to do. I’m now at sixty and freaking out the forty-somethings because I haven’t slowed down or let it stop me from what I want to do.
    All it does is make whatever you hope to accomplish even more urgent. I hope fifty is a cause for new projects, new thoughts, new philosophies. Happy early birthday.

    • Oh, I don’t really think any of those things. I think I am simply past certain things; they are gone forever. It’s about vanity, not quality of life. I will never again be fresh as a goddamn daisy. Fact.

  5. On the other hand, I always thought daisies were kinda immature looking and way overdone. I’d rather think that as we get older, we become the exotic but tough as boot leather blooms of some tropical orchid or epiphytic cactus. Much more interesting.

    • Actually, I am flying to San Diego, to party like a rock star. Then home for a few days, then off to see my true loves, then off to Boston to see Bri (and Boston) and more party. Three weeks of whirl!

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