I don’t know what these are. We think they might be a kind of allium. I noticed some in the other neighborhood community garden a few days ago. They are kind of magical.
Over the last few months, I had heard a couple of interviews with the MacArthur award winning cartoonist and writer Alison Bechdel. I hadn’t really heard of her, but I did know there was a musical on Broadway called “Fun Home”. She has this new book out, a graphic memoir called “The Secret to Superhuman Strength”.
Then I listened to a third interview, or fourth with Kara Swisher and in their talking about the book and Bechdel’s intense engagement in karate (she did earn a black belt), skiing (a number of kinds), yoga and bike riding, inline skating and running, Swisher mentioned that she didn’t mention body image once.
I am like, really? Is that possible. I am active but have never been athletic. No one in my family is or was athletic. My oldest sister wanted to be a ballet dancer for a time…
…but for me I didn’t start getting active until my mid-twenties, where as a test subject in a clinical trial in biofeedback for cancer patients (after some intense being a pest they grandfathered me in because I had this genetic mutation in my sweat glands and they were curious to see if they could teach me how to raise the temperature of my skin by thinking about it) I had to make a commitment to join a gym and go to it regularly and log my visits.
I was an active kid though. I thought that was normal. My brother and I ran around all day long during the summers and we walked to school. Separately.
Since then, 40 years plus, I have been active, because I feel better when I am. It is a way to manage my mutation and my mood.
But I have always had body image issues. Made much much worse by the mutation and the way it affects my skin when I am having a flare up. And I thought oh gosh, a book about being active, maybe obsessively so, that can be funny and poignant and…I am in.
The time I saw Charity before the snubbing incident I asked her if she had bought the book. We had talked about Bechdel because she knows people who know her. She said no, and I said well… I want to read it and when I am done, I will loan it to you. I ordered a copy through Bookshop.org and got it last week.
I have never read a graphic memoir before. I admit I had my lighted magnifying glass with me the whole time. The level of detail in the panels is amazing. They contain just the right amount of “stuff”. She goes off on these tangents abound transcending the body and The Beats (particularly Kerouac) and The Transcendentalists. Mostly Margaret Fuller. Fuller was an important part of the history of Unitarianism, the kind the church I am associated with, follows.
Our social hall is called “Fuller Hall” after her. The yoga, the Buddhism she dips into, the whole thing. And she has a cat. In the adult panels there is pretty much a cat in almost all the panels.
The book is brilliant and thought provoking and at times funny and wry. Truly an original.
My favorite panel was where she is saying to her therapist…you mean there are other options besides perfectionism and worthlessness???
I finished it this afternoon and I took the sticky note that Charity had left in front of my door with a chocolate bar written in sharpie a few months back that says, “Reduces the Blues” and stuck it on the book and left it in front of her door.
We’ll see if she continues to ghost me.
This morning walking back from the garden with my watering can and basket I came upon three wild rabbits. They hopped away but it just so happens I had carrot tops in said basket. I tore the greens up and left them out.
Please don’t tell the bunnies that if they just hopped down a couple of blocks their wildest greens dreams would come true. Okay?
Last updated July 07, 2021