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Posts Tagged ‘FM Alexander’

1. I did read a bunch of my poems last Friday night. It was fine.

What do you want to know? I love reading out loud. I love reading in front of an audience. I love to talk. I love to be on stage. Is any of this a surprise?

2. I did see The Master last Saturday night.

What did I think? I loved it. I loved it while I watched it. I loved Freddie Quell. I love the name of the character Freddie Quell. I love the pun Fred Equal. I feared him. He seemed real to me. He seemed like people I’ve known. He seemed like ignorant, violent, scary men I met about a hundred years ago in Ohio and beyond when I was still drinking.

I thought the script was brilliant. I thought the lighting and visual compositions were brilliant. I thought the acting was brilliant. I sucked it all in, I drank it all up (like Daniel Plainview I drink your milkshake?). I liked the tension. I liked being manipulated. I liked that it was disturbing and hard to watch.

I liked the questioning of any human following anything or anyone who thinks they know more than anyone else. I liked that it explored, through character alone, certain ideas about ego and need and projecting outside of oneself what one can’t own or see in oneself. Denial. How some egos need constant feeding regardless of whether the food is bullshit or not. To constantly externalize and point a finger at someone who seems worse off than we are keeps us feeling superior, keeps us from owning our own shit (usually fear and anger). Scapegoating.

I thought it was pretty damning of modern psychology while at the same time coming out of a time when we all assume its merits. People were prepared to see something damning about cults or Scientology or L Ron Hubbard, but since I went into the movie not expecting that at all and since I am fairly ignorant of L Ron, I made a freer association with it being about relationships between therapists and “patients.”

Did Joaquin Phoenix go too far in his portrayal? Would it have been more effective, less distracting had he not? Just a question. I waver on the answer because in many ways he seemed completely believable. His physicality, the intersection, a la FM Alexander, between the way a disturbed body is inseparable from a disturbed mind was right up my alley.

Yes, Amy Adams’ character was almost more scary than Philip Seymour Hoffman’s or Phoenix’. I was ready to doubt her but she was very, very good. Creepy, controlling. Wow.

I love that almost all the scenes were interior scenes (not unlike most of There Will Be Blood) and that outdoor scenes were usually under porches or overhangs of some kind. SO FUCKING AWESOME! The vast outdoor scenes were in either of 2 places: the beach (wet sand) or the desert (dry sand). What does it mean? I have no idea. I liked the cramped feeling of the interiors, I liked the huge, windowed room that Dodd is in at the end of the movie. Why is the Fisherman’s Memorial on his desk at the end? This appeared to be a reproduction of Gloucester, Massachusetts’ guy. The sea, the beach, the sand, the ocean. Ships. What does it all mean to Quell? The sand woman.

It was odd, it was difficult, it was imperfect, but hell am I glad someone is out there trying, stabbing, attempting to give us something real and intense and troubling.

I felt so sorry for Quell by the end, he was so ground down. Tragic. The song that Dodd sings to Quell near the end of the movie was heartbreaking. The scenes where characters sing in the movie are some of the most stark and touching.

The final sex scene was also very touching to me. Beautiful, tense. I felt like Quell was finally redeemed a tiny tiny bit. Until the last shot of the movie. Then, not sure. More ambiguity.

I could say more and more and more. And c’mon. Real naked women’s bodies. Is someone taking notes? THANK YOU, PT Anderson. Thank you. Any movie needing to show a naked woman should use this as a guide. Quit fucking us up for chrissakes and show real bodies.

3. I have so far submitted to 17 different journals in 17 days. I have not hit a roadblock. I have hit a reality block. What am I learning in my 30 days/30 submissions? I don’t have enough really good (excellent) poems to submit to the journals that I want to submit to. So I’ve changed my plan a bit. I will still be submitting to 3 more journals/presses; 2 of these submissions will be chapbook-length manuscripts. Then? I’ll wait for rejections (presumably) or acceptances (hope). And now I need to write and edit more. Editing some of the poem images/starts that I have. Go back and hone. Finally admit that some things will NEVER be poems. Plan B, which was originally Plan A: start a writing workshop by the end of January. I’ve got 4 other writers lined up. Would like to add a few more, but time will tell. I’ve known I need this from the start of this blog. The need is not gone. There is a gap in my writing and it is support and feedback from other writers.

4. I am still bleeding, but have almost stopped as I am on progesterone now. The yunnan baiyao didn’t work so I have to go straight pharmaceutical for a while. I will see an OB/GYN this week. I am anemic as fuck (okay, not as fuck, but close). I am trying to ride my bike and hike, but I am breathless and gasping for air; more than that, my energy is subdued. I am tired when I move my body. No yoga, but maybe next week.

Apparently, I am one of those women with rebellious hormones. I don’t know why, but it seems I always have been. I am ready to stop. I am ready to never bleed again. I wasn’t before, I love my bleeding and my period and my hormones, but I can’t do this much longer. I can’t bleed out like this any more. Please. Does this make any of you uncomfortable, this talk of female blood? Get along little dogies, get along.

SO, here’s a crazy thing. I just read 20 minutes of poems and made a video in my iPhoto.

You get a private, twinkly reading. Good luck. You will need it more than I did!

P.S. I tried to make the video private on youtube. I am not sure what that means. I think you can still watch it here, but maybe can’t click through. And now that I see it here on my blog, I look sort of freaky and small. I’m haunted. I told you that the other day.

X O, twinkly

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As a teacher of the Alexander Technique, I think about coordination a lot. What does good coordination look like? What does someone who is organizing him or herself well look like?

In Alexander Technique school (and in lessons before and after my training), I spent a lot of time unlearning some of my habits of thought and movement based on a system of sound principles discovered by FM Alexander. In spite of this, I spend a lot of time in my old habits and patterns of thought and movement, not all of which are particularly healthy. I slouch at my computer; sometimes I gasp for air when I am in front of a group of people either singing, speaking, or acting; I may take a step on a mountain hike without considering the relative position of my hip, knee, and ankle joints as I bear or shift weight. UNLESS I stop and take time to slow down, think, and coordinate myself in order to choose what I really want, these old habits rule me much of the time.

What I love, and many of my fellow teachers love, is looking at footage or photographs of good coordination. However, we are also often cautioned not to present what “good use” looks like. Many (or most) of the people in these photos have good overall coordination, but they may not know a lick about the Alexander Technique. What could AT do for someone with a natural ability to coordinate oneself with a minimum of tension, a lack of overusing what isn’t necessary? For one, in the case of an athlete or performer, once a person is injured, they often don’t know how to get back to the state they had formerly “perfected.” AT’s principles, the 2 major ones being Inhibition and Direction, can put one back on track after injury. AT can shed light on the means whereby one does what one does.

I realize I’m throwing some unfamiliar terms at you. If nothing else, this post should bring more questions to your mind than it answers and when it comes to the AT, that’s okay. It is about questing, about what FM Alexander termed going from the known to the unknown. It’s a beautiful thing.

Today, I will share with you some great examples of what we in the AT world  call “good use.” Use is a term which Alexander Technique teachers and students use to describe how a person does what they do with themselves. Sounds goofy, I know, but if you spend a bit of time reading about the Technique or even taking lessons, this term will begin to have meaning.

Okay, readers, let’s have at it!

Watch the way the old man (Uncle John Scruggs) and woman move out of the cabin and come to sit in the chairs. Neither of them slouch while sitting. The chairs are not places to “park” and collapse their bodies. The man has an overall upright and balanced coordination in his head, neck, and torso. If you go about watching musicians, you will rarely see this level of unified attention to the whole self and apparent lack of tension throughout a performer’s whole being.

It becomes tricky to post photos and videos which illustrate what we call “good use” because it can lead to a misunderstanding of the Technique, what it is about, how to get where you want to get in being a more unified whole. We can look at examples, study them, but ultimately, we cannot simply “copy” good use or coordination. In fact, the Technique is about peeling back the layers of our own unconscious habits of thought and movement so that we can replace them with new thinking that will hopefully lead to better coordination, regardless of how it looks to an outside observer.

Still….

ashley-lodree-run-swm

Look at the poise in Ashley Lodree’s head, neck, and back and her obvious focus and lack of overall tension, even in the face of getting ready to race.

Baryshnikov, a paragon of good use (although if you catch him when he is not dancing, he is often slouching and in what one might describe as a “collapsed” state):

he can be equally stunning in a still photo

young

or older

Poise and balance

in a life before sitting in chairs becomes habitual

examples of “good use” abound in times before photography

open and free even in a complex coordination

Steven Shaw, Alexander Technique teacher:

“multi-tasking”

I also began to look for images of African women walking. The more I looked, the less I wanted to stop. It is ridiculous how many examples of beautiful balance and poise one finds. You can do this yourself–search google images for Mozambique women walking, Ghanian women walking, South African women walking, etc etc. As Michael Gelb, author of Body Learning, says (I paraphrase here), the kind of presence you find in people in many traditional cultures lies dormant in most Westerners.

What do you notice?

In the above photo, the woman in the foreground is about so much more than her size. One wonders if an American woman (or man) of any size could comport herself with this kind of presence.

And this, in which the child exhibits perfect balance throughout the head, neck, and torso, even while turning her head and taking a step. Notice the full contact of her right foot with the ground and the flexion in her left knee. Ah, if only we could hold onto our birthright–our natural poise!

(You may have to copy and paste this link…for a while, the actual photo appeared directly on this post, but I think once someone clicks through, it reverts back to the URL with no image)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ebsylvester/2408941449/in/set-72157602574849955/

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Warning: this post contains mature words (as in “adult” or “dirty”) and falsehoods. If you have trouble determining which these are, please leave me a comment and I will do my best to help.

“Behind every misuse is an erroneous belief.” Frederick Matthias Alexander

I am something of an etymology geek. I used to be really good at remembering the roots of words, but now I just make things up. One thing we all know is that the horo in horoscope comes from the Latin word for prostitute. In other words, any and all women who believe in the power and prophesy of the zodiac are whores.

Imagine my surprise when I read that the horoscope as we know it is false, that all of the dates and astrological signs are misplaced due to the fact of the movement of the earth over the last several millennia.

I’ve been thinking about editing some of the information in “About” here on my blog because I state that “I am a Cancer,” but I found out this month that I may actually be a Gemini.

Not only that, but throughout my life, most of my friends have been Scorpios, (Scorpii?), Leos, and Geminis (Geminii?). All of my crushing infatuations (2 high school, 2 college) were with Aries men, but my “polar opposite” in the zodiac is Capricorn. Hubby is (or perhaps was?) an Aquarius. What does all of this mean about my love life? I am sure I don’t know, but if I don’t start behaving like a whore in the bedroom soon, I don’t know who to consult any more. I don’t think the syndicated “Daily Horoscope” that I follow has updated its charts.

One thing I know, because I really believe it, is that I AM NOT A GEMINI! I am a Cancer, through and through. I am a water sign, just like my pals, Scorpio and Pisces. I am domestic. I like to stay in my shell. I am moody and crabby because I am ruled by the changeable Moon. I form strong bonds with my female friends. I rule the breasts and this is obviously in keeping with the whole family-whore theme; plus, I used to have a really nice rack before I nursed my crablets. I taste really good with drawn butter and my tender meat is the best part of me, though sometimes my carapace will get stuck in your teeth if you aren’t very good at using that little metal pick.

I know that I am not a Gemini because everyone knows that Geminii are duplicitous, like the twins who they emulate. I would never lie because Cancerians are loyal and this includes being completely honest.

So you can see that I am very confused, even angry. I am sure you have all been struggling with this as well. You’ll find no answers here. However, I am interested in knowing if your life has been governed by the feeling that no one understands you and that anyone’s attempt to pigeonhole or classify you has always fallen short. If this fits, I’ll just bet you are a Ophiuchus.

That’s it for today’s Horoscope. Stayed tuned over the next several millennia to see whether your sign has changed or not.

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