Wednesday, August 03, 2005

breaking up with martha

i'm in love with an older woman.

i mean martha. martha stewart. she's 64 today.

i love her. i do. i am not ashamed. ankle bracelet and all.

how could i not?

she provided me the recipes for two of my favorite cookies - black and whites and aunt dillon's pralines. she taught me how to properly fold a fitted sheet. she has shown me the importance of maintaining good hair in the face of all sorts of tragedy - culinary, marital, felonious, or otherwise.

her magazine is like high-falutin' arts and crafts porn to me. i used to have a subscription. oh bliss! my heart would practically skip a beat when i'd arrive home to discover the glossy little mag on my doorstep. i'd pore over it for hours, making mental to-do lists of all the crafting and pastry-making and redecorating i'd be doing in the coming weeks.

never happened.

well, i wouldn't say never happened. i'd make the occasional almond meringue sandwich cookies filled with dulce de leche. i even attempted hot cross buns one easter weekend in my sweltering ozone park kitchen (their tooshes were burnt, but the frosting was lemony, sugary delicious - slurp!). i made handmade greeting cards and matchbox advent calendars trimmed with ribbon. i spent several hours painstakingly covering a styrofoam wreath with real cranberries (only to have it fall from my door and break in two pieces about 5 minutes after i hung it). so i attempted, and accomplished quite a few Martha projects. i realized one day, however, as i sat surrounded by stacks and stacks of MSL magazines (and the prospect of having to lug them from one apartment to another yet again) that they were actually taunting me:

look at everything you're not doing!

page 104, the little monogrammed tea kettle cozy screamed:

make me! make me! you don't drink tea, but you should! it's so much better for you!

page 64, the spread on sterling silver victorian serving spoons beckoned me:

helloooo! don't you need an asparagus fork?

page 145, special weddings issue, the 4 story wedding cake with iridescent fondant icing topped with bluebirds sculpted out of marzipan and dotted with crystallized blueberries and violets scoffed:

you couldn't make me anyway. i'm too complicated, and you couldn't even afford my ingredients.

i realized, as i sat there in the center of this MSL fortress that these bitchy ladies had to go. this magazine and the life it represented was not my life nor the life i wanted, really. the idea of it was lovely, but the reality was impossible. to get all psychobabbly on you, i was 1. trying to hold on to my mom (a kinder, gentler version of Martha who died when i was 12) and 2. avoiding taking steps towards my own goals and dreams...goals and dreams that had nothing to do with flower arranging, whipping egg whites to glossy peaks, and collecting antique jade bakeware. there was (and is) no glossy magazine that will tell me how to live my life. no recipe for success. no exacting measurements that will ensure a Rumi-esque "well-baked loaf."


so, i sadly cancelled my subscription. sniff.

i miss her, i do. i'm not sure that i'll ever get over her completely. whenever i'm at a bookstore, i always pick up her latest magazine, and my heart still does flip flops when i turn to the table of contents and catch a glimpse of all the crafts that could be mine - mwahahahaha! who knows. someday, maybe, i'll have the time to really indulge my inner martha. someday, maybe, when i have tykes of my own, and someday, maybe, when there isn't a show to be written or a song to sing or a line to memorize or a martini to sip.

for now, though, i'm improv-ing. no recipes. no how-tos. no monthly calendars detailing when i should trim my shrubs or can my orchard peaches. i think i'm at my best that way...doing things 'off the cuff' the kitchen, in the art supply closet, in life. my mother always said, "an artist never makes a mistake." her point was not that you couldn't mess up, quite the contrary, but that a true artist, will make a "mistake" into art. with a little flourish of paint, a little sprinkle of glitter, a little dash of salt, a mistake could become a masterpiece. hm. kinda sorta how (i hope) i'm living my life.

and that, as martha would say, is a good thing.


send martha a bday greeting!


Lavonne said...

M...I am truly inspired, entertained and provoked by your writings and, well, just who you are. Of all the people I know in this world, I think you're the truest artist of them all. I'm so glad you are coming into your own these days. The age you are now is such a time of discovery, acceptance, truth, and boldness. The child is grown up and past neurotic behavior fades.

You keep plugging along and follow the paths the Lord has put before you.


karma said...

plus you can read my susbscription. i keep it around, dogear pages, never do them, curse at myself and then throw them away in fits of frustration. so mine are available for you anytime you need a fix.

margrocks said...

oh, thank you, L. does the neurotic behavior REALLY fade? oh heavens....what shall i write about? ( ;

you are GOOD, karma. ba-da-bum-ching! i will take you up on your offer. not a "booty call," exactly...more like a 'crafty-call"?