unwilling unsuspension of belief


I have been thinking a lot about my personality and my family recently. I think as a young person thrust into the midst of an upbringing in a Church of God parsonage (that’s what we called them), that somehow I withdrew myself into my own world made up of music, poetry and books.

This was facilitated by having big (to me) empty buildings available to me to sit and play a piano in an empty room. Come to think of it, “Empty rooms” is the name of the song I wrote to deal with my relationships to the men in my family. I haven’t been writing these “bad Paul Simon songs” as I call them, for a while. I have come to the conclusion they were therapeutic for me and that was why I persisted in writing them. Maybe my adolescence is truly over. Probably not.


Anyway so many things in my life are therapeutic these days: cooking, music, being with fam.


The building I remember the most is the one in Flint on West Court Street. I spent hours in the chapel plunking away at the piano. Also I organized an ensemble that met in the balcony of the chapel which I christened “Christian Youth Ensemble.”  I talked some young musicians into playing through music that seemed to have been laying around. I remember wondering what an “Agnus Dei” by Bizet could possibly mean.


These memories were stirred yesterday when my brother and I emailed links to the current West Court Street Church of God Nativity Scene web site stuff. Both of us participated in this public ritual as young people.

Also I have been thinking a great deal about recently deceased father. I have difficulty understanding his personality and connecting it to my own.  This is probably because we have been on separate wave lengths for a long time. And of course now I am working on my internalized father and find him not seeming incredibly important to me at this point in my life.  But I’m still working on it.

In the meantime, last night Eileen and I watched Julie and Julia.

A dear and respected friend had suggested that it was possible to begin to see the real Julia Child instead of Meryl Streep after a while. You know the basic willing suspension of disbelief.

Unfortunately this did not happen for me. Instead the differences between Streep’s performance and my memory stood out annoyingly to me. Streep had Child’s voice down. But I could see Streepisms creeping through in her performance.

Plus the Julia Child in my head was always shrewd and possessed a steel trap of a mind which is not the way the movie interprets her and possibly is not even the way she actually was.

After the movie I pulled up several Youtube videos of Julia Child and confirmed the mannerisms I missed in Streep’s performance. Streep ended up doing a physical mimic of her which looked a bit like a caricature to me.

I have resisted visual approaches to history before. I find movie plots based on so called true stuff annoying. I find historical personages reinterpreted even more annoying.

Maybe I am basically a person of the book and the word. Figures.

In the last blog, I mentioned Firesign Theatre. I have strong visual images of their record, “I think we’re all bozos on this bus.” After several google image searches, I realized that the pictures I was searching for (the bozo bus, the future park) were firmly lodged in my brain but probably no where else.

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