The Madwoman's Journal
Copyright 1998 New Moon
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  Prev 5 September 98

Leading me along
My shadow goes back home
From looking at the moon.

I just got in-- walked back from Ma's. It's a gorgeous night. The moon is full, and so bright that it has turned the sky an impossible lucent blue that seems to permeate everything. I stopped under a tree and looked up, and I could see-- everything: the leaves against that impossible sky, the stars brilliant points of light. But I was under the tree, standing in blue shadow, and I could see every branch of the tree, and the trunk, too-- every detail because the light was everywhere. Looking around, all the houses glowed in that impossible blue light, and there were sharp shadows, but nothing in the shadows was hidden. It's an astonishing effect.

Earlier this evening I took myself down to Providence to see the WaterFire. I figured it was about time. According to Rhode Island Monthly Magazine, WaterFire Providence is the official name of this "award winning multi-media work of art." What it is is a bunch of wrought iron braziers have been set out in the river, some seemingly floating on the water, some on concrete pedestals, all through the City's Water Place Park, which wends it's way through downtown Providence, a brilliant and effective part of the downtown revitalization project. Wood fires are set in the braziers and lighted at sunset. Throughout the evening volunteers dressed in theatre blacks ply the river in black gondolas replenishing the fires-- they burn only "reclaimed wood," by the way. And there's also a soundtrack which is broadcast along the river-- I heard Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata at one point. The show is free, and, as you can imagine, there's a lot goes on. There are horse drawn carriage rides, vendors everywhere, and lots of restaurants and cafes. Sometimes performance artists are invited to give concerts, or dance, or do whatever. The only disappointment, for me, was that there weren't any buskers.

The artist responsible for this event is Barnaby Evans. The work was created for First Night 95, the City of Providence's New Year's Eve extravaganza, and it was so successful that they brought it back for the summer Convergence Festival. Now it's become a fixture, supported by a non-profit corporation, and the City of Providence sets fire to itself regularly every other Saturday night, weather permitting, from Spring to Columbus Day-- Halloween, this year. And I have to admit, it is interesting-- though you should be advised that my nieces (aged 7 and 10) informed me that when they went earlier this summer it was a dead bore.

I didn't stay long at WaterFire, beautiful night though it was. I wasn't bored, mind you, it's just that I went alone. You see, I'm no solitary drinker, so once I'd walked all the way around and seen all there was to see-- Providence is becoming an extremely attractive city-- there wasn't anything to do but head home. It was quite a hike back to the car: I had parked at the Marriott, better than a mile from the festivities. That's the main reason I went alone. The available pool of friends tonight were all of a sedentary persuasion, and I didn't want to be driving around forever trying to find a parking spot that was close enough-- or worse, not free! Paying for parking goes against the grain with me, and I won't do it even if I have a broken leg. I'm a hiker, and a ten mile walk is nothing unusual, so a four mile loop is just a good stretch of the legs to me. I did check out the parking around the Train Station and the Capitol which are closer, but it was packed, so I just went over to the Marriott.

If I'd had a hiking friend with me, we could have gone all over the City, down to India Point, up to Thayer Street, and had a helluva good time- probably have spent a bunch of money and endeared myself to Buddy Cianci , Providence's colorful Mayor. Still, it was a beautiful night for walking and I'm glad I went-- in fact, it was so beautiful that when I got back I decided to walk over to Ma's. It was only a bit after ten by then (Providence is only a half-hour away), and I stayed to listen to To Have and Have Not -- Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Walter Brennan, Claude Raines, Sidney Greenstreet, Hoagy Carmichael-- how many times have Ma and I seen this movie? Twenty? I sang along with all the songs-- while we did a New York Times crossword puzzle. Then I had a snack, and walked home. When I got in, I turned on the computer and put Tango Dance Classics-- generic tangos-- on the CD player...

It's been an interesting day... an iteresting week...

My hair has received many compliments-- though my cousin informs me that I begin to look like I'm suffering from verdigris. That's just because the green hair color is fading and the brass color is reasserting itself. It's an excellent effect, I think. I wish I could continue the experiment and find just the right shade of green for my hair, but, unfortunately, to continue might prove an embarassment to my employer, and that wouldn't be fair. One of these days when I'm completely at liberty, I'll try the green again. As my other cousin remarked, "You know, it almost looks like it ought to be a real hair color." I think so, too.



  As I was reading over this entry, I remembered something I hadn't thought of in a while. A few years ago, shortly after I had aquired that auburn wig, Bru and I attended a Science Fiction Convention in Stonybrook, New York, where Dean Stockwell was one of the media guests-- he was starring with Scott Bakula in Quantum Leap then. The official hotel for the conventioneers was horrible, so Bru and I checked out and were lucky enough to find a vacancy at a place up the road in Port Jefferson. As it happened, all the convention's media guests were billeted there, too. Gary Gygax, the Game developer, what's-her-name-- Nurse Chappel from Star Trek, Roddenberry's wife-- and a couple of others. Anyway, when we went into the bar that night, I found myself sitting next to Dean Stockwell. I looked terrific. I had on the auburn wig, and a sexy white jersey dress, and Dean was kind enough to flirt with me. He was very nice. I, unfortunately for all of us, was quite boring-- maybe even a bit of an ass. All I could think to say was that I liked Quantum Leap, and that I remembered him from the movie The Boy with Green Hair. I haven't thought of that in a long time, and I'm a bit surprised that the green hair didn't remind me of it until now...

Dean Stockwell was very good looking in person...

I must say, the kid in the movie had a lot worse time with his green hair than I've had with mine.

Found this while searching on 9/8/98:

"Cold hearted orb that rules the night;
removes the colors from our sight.
Red is gray and yellow, white;
but we decide which is right--
and which is an illusion."

It's from Nights in White Satin by Justin Hayward. Sung by the Moody Blues on the album Days of Furture Past. The excerpt was quoted in the story Enders Switch by Lynn Gregg. It's an X-Files story, extremely entertaining, and you can find it at The Basement Office

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