Saturday, December 06, 2003

Phish and I went to the Womanspirit fair in Long Beach this morning. It was, as far as I could tell, mainly tables of art and crafts by artisans in the local goddess worship community. I didn't quite catch a through line of belief system so I imagined it was a gathering of many under the heading of pagan. I could be wrong though. It may have been a very specific religious group and I just didn't pick up on it. That would probably be because they seemed so tolerant. I didn't feel uncomfortable being a Quaker in a pool of ubiquitous pagan. Also, they were very friendly(no pun intended), taking care to engage me in polite conversation, and dissolved instantly any misgivings about being in the small circle of the Vin Diagram depicting the one in every ten males in attendance.
The first table inside the door was gourd art. There was an amazing metal snake emerging from a gourd, two gourds hugging, a turtle gourd, a lamp gourd with crazy patterns, and so on. I haven't the time nor patience nor memory to go through all of the great tables in there. There was collage art, lots of jewelry, some painting, bumper stickers, blown glass, ceramics, sculpture, hats, all kinds of smelling things, fabric, belly dancing accessories, photography, a quilt booth (which featured a quilt of two crows flying that reminded both Phish and I of my rook poem) and much more. There was also live music and dancing, very little of which I paid attention to.
The highlight for me was finding the percussion booth. I went over because I heard finger cymbols and I've been itching to get myself a set. I was about to buy a set when the lady showed me something called Devil Chasers. They're like two pieces of bamboo (hollow like that but probably stronger wood) with an inch thick wedge cut out of either side down about 1/3 of the stick. The whole stick is about 2 and 1/2 feet long. The lady started slapping it on her knees and arms and this sound like a turtle jumping in space came out of it. I threw the finger cymbols over my shoulder and bought the Devil Chasers.
Phish bought a digeridoo.
I also bought a book. Toward the end of the fair I came up to a table with a stack of two different books on it and a basket with a bunch of rolled up pieces of paper in it. The ladies behind the table told me to take a piece of paper from the basket to see which "dark archetype" I was evoking at the moment. I stuck my hand in and came out with "Lucifer." That gave me pause. Then I had the choice of either buying their book explaining their hypothesis (or perhaps theories) on dark archetypes or a book of short stories. I bought the short stories but I plan on getting the other one as well in time because I must confess that they piqued my curiosity. They also said, after I showed them that my paper said "Lucifer", that I should seek out the woman who had "Lilith." I understood the reference but, being a child of my generation, instantly thought of Bebe Neuwirth. And I agreed that I should seek her out or somebody that looks like her. The other thing that went through my mind was that I probably shouldn't seek out Lilith because, being a biblical scholar, I know that will lead to her birthing mostrosities that will plague the earth forever.
Anyway, the book is "Lovecraft Slept Here" by Denise Dumars. I haven't read it yet. The other one is "The Dark Archetype" by Denise Dumars and Lori Nyx. They both appear to be out on New Page Books. They seemed nice enough and it's the zenith of cool to support non-corporate artists.
Phish and I left happy. I really enjoyed my journey into the Womanspirit fair. On the way back, Phish asked me if, as a Quaker, I had any misgivings or if I felt uncomfortable about anything. I thought about it and responded with something I'd heard a Trappist monk say (and no, it wasn't Thomas Merton. I don't remember what his name was.) He said that a Christian should be able to inform their prayer life by studying Buddhist meditation. One should be able to reflect upon the many aspects of God when one learns about the many gods of Hinduism. And so forth. I got a lot out of the day. And some cool stuff too.
The rest of the day I spent tagging along as my mother did Christmas shopping. This is some of the most taxing activity that humans can engage in. We went to the mall and the major toy store. Afterwards we felt a little like Frodo after the ring had gotten to him.
We ate at a corporate Italian style restaurant. Rather, we gorged ourselves at a corporate Italian style restaurant.
When we got home, it was beginning to rain and I was tired. Armed with the awareness that we're right into flu season, I decided not to go and wear myself out in the cold night. I'm not feeling sick at all, but I'm convinced that's got a lot to do with knowing when I shouldn't push it. So, I read for a while and worked a little more on getting through the long film that's next up for review. I might just shut off the alarm clock before bed.


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