Sunday, October 18, 2009

Rosie Thomas Film

I got out of the house for the first time Friday night to celebrate Susanna's birthday. It was a bit of a gamble considering how exhausted I still am. Recovering from blood clots in your lungs has been deceptive. Most of the pain is gone. I can't see much else that is in process of being healed. It is all internal of course, but my body must be working hard at something.

Anyway, I had bought tickets for us to see Rosie Thomas over at Calvin. I thought it was going to be a concert. For those of you who don't know, Rosie also does this stand-up comedy based on an awkward, neck brace wearing character she calls 'Sheila." The evening started with fifteen minutes of Sheila, then Rosie showed a film about her life focusing on her confusion about making a living as a musician. Rosie is definitely a funny, charming and interesting person. Susanna said afterwards that she wished she could be friends with her.

Yet, the film was 80 minutes long. It could have easily been trimmed to 45-50 minutes and had the same meaning. Some of the concert footage could be included on a DVD as bonus features. After the film Rosie came out and made a few disclaimers about how the film was originally supposed to be a short 15 minutes. She reasoned that the length of the film and its use of her story was a way for all of us to come to terms with our own struggles. The film wasn't so much about her as it was about her suffering and that sharing our suffering ends up being our gift. This was an important observation. I'm glad to have received. All would have been well if she'd just sat down to play some music, but she ended up doing a Q&A for the next fifteen minutes. The evening was finished with only three songs. Well, truthfully, she may have played an encore, but I was so exhausted that we left.

Susanna and I wondered if she felt the need to do Q&A in the manner of a film screening. Perhaps it was my fault in not realizing that I was going to a film screening and not a concert. I'm glad we went, but I'm sad I didn't get to hear more music. Rosie is one of the few acoustic artists I can still stomach. I'm afraid I've become jaded. I can't listen to James Taylor or Emmylou Harrris or even Patty Griffin except for a random song here or there.

The evening with Rosie Thomas was a glaring example of the many ways we search for connection in our society. Whether it is a concert or twitter, its obvious how much we want to be with each other. Perhaps it is my age. I'm less naive. It seems to be more difficult for human beings to substantially share themselves with each other.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Home from The Hospital, What the What?

A blood clot in my lung. Doctors don't know exactly where it came from. Was it the minor bike wreck three weeks ago? Do I have a blood condition that predisposes me to blood clots? I was supposed to know more by now, four days after I went into the emergency room, but it turns out my doctors are either tools or they are just extremely...inefficient. So, my whole experience at the hospital was less than good, except for my ER doc. He was the one decided to do a catscan after all the other tests looked good. He is the one who thought it'd be best to double double check things. And that was a good move because most 34 year old people who are in good health (I've lost ten pounds riding an exercise bike and drinking almost no beer since July) do have blood clots in their lungs. Perhaps he might have sent me home with some strong pain killers (the pain was both stab like and pulse like on the upper left half of my body) and told me to take a day off work, and perhaps I wouldn't be here any more!

I'm having trouble getting my head wrapped around what has transpired these last few days. But let me just say that I'm glad to be out of the hospital. It is hard to be in a hospital for many reasons. But I'm still restless. The vicodin is really frustrating. It takes away the pain, but everything is a bit fuzzy. I've talked with a few friends on the phone and right now I miss Oklahoma City almost like it was just yesterday that we left. I have had great and overwhelming love shown to me from neighbors, church members and Hope College people. Lovely people, but there is a sense that I'd like to be in touch with people who have walked a bit longer with me on this tedious, twisty turny, beautiful and strange pathway of life (cliche fully intended).

I'm so tired of watching movies that I think I'm going to do something drastic and read Dostoevsky. I just finished Jonathan Saffron's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I picked up on the recommendation of a friend whose taste I really trust. It was a "B" at best. He seems to be the master of postmodern gimmickry. I think a person will either love his tricks or be annoyed. Unfortunately, my experience was the latter. He is definitely an extremely talented writer, and approaching a subject like 9/11 is a gargantuan challenge. But, nevertheless.... I'd be glad to hear from anyone else's experience with the book. The good thing, I guess, is that now I'm left with an appetite for something substantial in a canonical sort of a way.

The only other major topic for discussion: coffee and how I can have any of it right now. Because of my anxiety levels and this latest blood clot scare, we've decided I should stay off caffeine. I did this for Lent a few years ago and it didn't seem like such a big deal. Since then I have developed something of a love affair with lighter roasted coffees. I just bought this fun coffee maker, "The Clever Coffee Dripper" and a new grinder a month ago. So, I don't know which I want more sympathy for...blood clot or having to say goodbye to coffee (for awhile).