27 September 2008

Workin' on a film, Part 2

Home with the family, with my sweetie up on top of the roof and my little sweetie playing with her friends. My husband is demucking the gutters. I'm doing laundry and blogging while I make sure he doesn't fall off the roof. The children have made our cherry tree into "a Webkinz tree" and festooned it with googly-eyed pets; the little round exercise trampoline is now a pet ferris wheel.

And I can't help thinking ahead a bit about how I'm setting out on that quest again to "find myself in the music," as a woman with a lovely, gravelly voice said on the radio on my way home from dance class. Tift Merritt, the singer being interviewed, also talked about how intense she is and how that works quite well in some situations (like performing: on which she said, "I like to feel 'emptied out,'" she explained) but not always as well in others ("real life"). How familiar that sounds! I thought. But I'm still wrestling with this feeling that I have all of this nervous and creative energy and haven't yet figured out how to channel it, nor even how to let it show. I heard Merritt's song start just as I stopped at a yard sale on my street. Its proceeds were going to a hockey team, and ironically I "found myself" in a couple of nice black, filmy dance clothes that moms must have tossed on the heap of donations, the camisole top a "hoochie-koochie mama top," as a friend of mine would say.

Half an hour later, I was taking pieces of my clothing out of the dryer while they were still damp. One was made of rayon and just benefits from that initial relaxing in the warm air; the other was a 10-year-old Indian cotton shirt from Tar-jhay, white with little multicolored flowers, that I took a drawstring out of and still adore, I thought as I smoothed out the little ruffles at the bottom edges of the two-thirds sleeves. I love knowing my fabrics. A dress of my daughter's had stayed in the dryer too long and I had to spray it and massage it to get the right wrinkles and folds and relaxations and make it lie flat and pretty again. And I thought, people might not realize you can do that. Finger-pressing, ironing, drying -- all are tools you can use to get certain clothes looking good.

You know those facings under the row of buttons and buttonholes that fold over when you dry a shirt for too long without buttoning it up? Well, if you finger press them and button them up to the neck before you put them in the dryer, you can sometimes eliminate that. And maybe some folks don't know that. I like knowing my material. I love the process of smoothing out warm clothes and helping to come to rest in their shapes. I like helping us both have a nice shape: me and the clothing.

Did you ever read the book The Dive from Clausen's Pier, by Ann Packer? (She has a new book already out in paperback I'll have to check out.) I loved and found quite familiar her interest in fabric and sewing clothing in that story. I've always taken great hope from her ability to explore the pleasures of fabric's textures and shapes. I still don't know for sure whether I'll find ways to play with that in stories, music, dance, or all of the above. Film is exerting big magnetism for me; I've managed to put myself in the position of a dedicated volunteer for a while now and learned a few things, only recently starting to get little rewards in return besides the intrinsic joys of being exposed to lots of films.

How could I work this love of fabric into a film, I wonder? How could I create literal and figurative threads in this project I'm launching? Is it even a good idea?

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