I Haven’t a Thing to Wear

Isabella Stewart Gardner (1888), by John Singe...
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Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes. ~ Henry David Thoreau

David’s video “Invisible Men Invade Earth” will be screened at the Boomtown Film and Music Festival in Beaumont.

Asked whether he’s excited about the event, David said, “Well, I will be.” He doesn’t like to expend emotion in advance of need. At just over three minutes, it’s the shortest of the Short Narrative Fiction, so it will be the first in that category to be shown.

I, on the other hand, feel rather giddy. I will be going as the Producer’s Wife. Mrs. Producer Davis, to be exact. At times like this it’s okay for a liberated woman to drop Ms. MaidenName and assume her husband’s surname.

(It’s also okay to do that without a film festival, but this Ms. MaidenName is afraid she’ll slip up and then various governmental agencies will get things all out of whack. And then she’ll never get her passport renewed ever again. She wants to return to the family castle [several times removed] on the Isle of Mull and to eat haggis in Oban. She can’t do that if TSA agents bar her from boarding the plane.)

Anyway. Wanting to dress appropriately, I googled “film festival dress” and pulled up several million hits, most of them concerning what to wear to Sundance. First on the list was a Sundance catalog, the highlight of which (to my mind) was a pair of denim crops (pedal pushers for those who remember their first incarnation) that have been “destructed by hand” to look like something my mother would not have let me wear in public if I had ever managed to destruct any denim to that degree. Price: $176.00.

Moving right along, I searched for images of past Boomtown festivals.There was  no Boomtown catalog, nor was there any photo that suggested I should grab my checkbook and run out to the mall. The festival is in Beaumont, not Dallas. Thank goodness. My Austin wardrobe will suffice. That’s just as well, because David and I will match. His Austin wardrobe goes everywhere.

“Invisible Men Invade Earth” stars William and Ernest. They’re born thespians. Rotten at taking direction, but good when called upon to ad lib. And they work cheap.

For a look at their artistic side, click here.

Day 3

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. ~ Henry David Thoreau, Walden

I start this post at 9:10 a.m. I shall finish and publish within the hour.

Note I do not say which hour. Starting early means only that I have longer to dither.

I’m good at dithering. In the three hours I’ve been awake, I’ve managed to read two e-mails and several hundred quotations from Word of the Day. After reading about hyperbolic, I clicked the little button that says Quote of the Day. Then I clicked the little button that says Random Quote. Then I clicked the Random Quote button several hundred times more. It wasn’t procrastination so much as hypnosis.

No, I give myself too little credit. I was looking for the secret to life. I’ve always believed that finding just the right book would solve all my problems. I would read it and thenceforward live serenely and productively and know where my car keys were at all times.

Recently, to streamline things a bit, I’ve downsized the search from a book to a quotation.

But I’ll have to look beyond Random Quotes. It produced a lot of Emerson, Thoreau, Pope, Philip Larkin, T. S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, and H. L. Mencken, but only two Emily Dickinsons and one Eleanor Roosevelt. In fact, the one woman who kept cropping up was Anne Sexton. A person looking for the secret to life should steer clear of Anne Sexton. Especially before breakfast.

And as far as Henry David Thoreau is concerned, I haven’t been able to feel complete confidence in him since I learned that while he was out in the woods simplifying and being self-reliant, an aunt back in Concord was washing and ironing his shirts.

I respect Thoreau. He sheltered runaway slaves. He spent the night in jail rather than pay taxes to a government that endorsed slavery. He would have stayed in jail longer had not relatives gone behind his back and paid the fine. His Civil Disobedience has influenced the course of history. I respect him for that major contribution. Walden, however, might read a bit differently if the author had been required to spend time down at the pond pounding berry stains out of his shirts with a rock.

And maybe he did. I’ll admit I’ve never seen the factoid about the shirts in print. But the English professor who tossed out that detail was a formidable scholar, and all his other pronouncements have proved correct, so I have no reason to doubt him on this.

Really, though, I sometimes wish he had left it unsaid. Because when I read or hear about Thoreau’s grand experiment, I automatically think, But some woman washed his shirts.

Which is cynical of me, and not at all nice. Oh well. I am working on that. And I have been reading Anne Sexton.

The ATM at the bank right in the middle of Concord, Massachusetts, is named The Simplifier. Just thought I’d throw that in.

Now see what’s happened? I started out to write a quick post about writing quickly, and I ended up ranting about Henry David Thoreau’s laundry. And it’s already thirteen minutes past my deadline.

I’ll try again tomorrow.

12:10. An interruption. Some revision. Three hours over the deadline.

I’ll quit while I’m ahead.