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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Nocturne #2

"I am the keeper of fragile things and I have kept of you what is indisolvable." ~ Anaïs Nin


I feel like a watercolor this week.

By the end of the day, all of my edges are blurred. My eyes seem to get more tired than usual, and the rims of my eyes are red by 5pm, like clockwork. My makeup disappears, where to-- I have no idea. It's like I never put it on at all. I have to go to the bathroom and dab on a bit of rouge, a little lipstick, just to show up and not be a shadow of myself.

I feel like I'm one of those marbleizing trays of water, when the drops of dye are added and they swirl together, little eddies of color. Each time a different pattern. Each night I come home looking like a different person than when I left the house in the morning. I almost don't recognize myself.

It's been a long week and there's still one day left to go. I grant that much. And it was wonderful to share some laughter with you yesterday, with that post about my dad. You guys gave back the joy of laughter to me tenfold by telling me you laughed too. That was the real gift.


Tonight I had dinner with my little friend Chipmonkey. In my watercolor state, I look at her and all I keep seeing are her beautiful eyelashes. I don't know if I have come right out and told her she has pretty eyelashes, but she does. And if she's reading this, then she'll know.

After dinner, we walked through the Mission back through the Castro and in my watercolor state, the streets just shimmered with lights and people walking to restaurants, riding bikes and generally just being outside, together.

It drizzled a little. Little rain droplets, intermittent. More watercolor.


On the train home, the fluorescent lights are harsh on the eyes. A young Asian man is sketching in a clothbound journal with a pencil. I watch him and he's drawing people sitting nearby. He's doing it so quickly and secretively that they don't even notice. But I do.

I smile at him and I can tell I just made him feel shy. So I smile at him again and then I can see that I've reassured him it's okay that I saw him drawing, and he starts to draw me. Then I feel I must turn my face away and pretend I don't notice. Please, I think, draw me pretty. I am so smudged right now. I have no hard lines and everything's running together.

The only thing I really want to do is listen to a nocturne. That is what they are for, inspired by night, to be listened to when it's dark outside. If there was music written for a watercolor, then I would listen to that. But right now it is Chopin. There is a reason why ladies still leave flowers at his grave at Père Lachaise. I would too if I were in Paris.

I'm sorry if this post makes little to no sense at all. I'm probably confusing you right now.

Perhaps if you listen to this nocturne with me then you'll understand what I mean. Have a good night.

“Music melts all the separate parts of our bodies together” ~ Anaïs Nin

Chopin: Nocturne #2 In E Flat, Op. 9/2, CT 109. Photo taken at the Palace of Fine Arts.


robinbird December 18, 2008 at 11:20 PM  

you are beautiful as a watercolor my sweet. and not confusing no, simply open and poetically truthful. that was a beautiful piece of music to read your post by. i hope you are using your Blurb to keep a book record of your favorite blog posts. you are getting better all the time. or is it just me.. i missed out on all the early posts that i don't realize you have been gifted with the heart of poet all along. sleep well my friend. have sweet dreams of color washing across your bed and mingling together like a nocturne painting of the sea.
XO in sleep you would make a beautiful Vermeer painting.

Red Shoes December 18, 2008 at 11:51 PM  

I've had those days.

Thank you for this. Dreamy. Like you.

A Cuban In London December 19, 2008 at 1:19 AM  

'I feel like a watercolor this week.'

Hey, you have a way with words. And those two quotes by Nin are superb.


Greetings from London.

Sue December 19, 2008 at 1:24 AM  

I'm a bit behind on my blog reading, I just haven't had time. I only work half days and have no internet access at home, so it means trying to find gaps in the day to browse around. I hope you're feeling a little less like a watercolour today (that's a fabulous discription, by the way!). Hope you had a good dinner out with your friend - did you go Greek??


Sue December 19, 2008 at 1:25 AM  

PS... Just noticed that when you click my name, it links you only to our dinner club blog. My personal link is http://susanmoelans.blogspot.com. Need to try figure that one out. Thanks for stopping by yesterday in any case...

Sozol December 19, 2008 at 2:50 AM  

I don't have speakers on this computer, yet I got the feeling from your post. I pictured you feeling maybe outside of everything lookin in. Evertything moving fast, and you moving so slow that everything around you becomes a blur...

Anywho, you write beatufully.

~K December 19, 2008 at 3:04 AM  

This is why I see my astigmatism as a blessing and not a curse at night everything is like a painting. However on a rainy night I am more of a Claire de Lune person. Beautiful writing though you have a very nice voice. I am enthralled by your use of adjectives. Thank you for introducing me to Anais Nin...wow...just wow!

Char December 19, 2008 at 4:31 AM  

not confused at all - more like sympathetic and understanding because I feel like that at times too.

Amanda December 19, 2008 at 5:07 AM  

How perfectly you have described be lately too. As a watercolor. I love it.

Adam December 19, 2008 at 6:33 AM  

Don't we all have those days? You have described what I cannot put into words, which is how I feel right now. I am happy, but yet, something is missing.

I probably would have said I am paint thinner on an acrylic, but you have a more softer approach, watercolor.

Hope today is better than yesterday, but not as awesome as tomorrow will be.

Pare December 19, 2008 at 7:14 AM  

Nope, no confusion here. I definitely get it, and I'm hoping you feel less watercolor, perhaps more acrylic soon.

Hang in.

rochambeau December 19, 2008 at 7:15 AM  

Hey Tango B.
Your post is like a poem and I also relate so to your words and music.
I will be back later. Must leave now.


Yoli December 19, 2008 at 8:21 AM  

I have days when I am raw like that, vulnerable and instrospective. When I melt into the scenery. Beautiful post, stunning writing.

smith kaich jones December 19, 2008 at 8:26 AM  

Oh my goodness. This is so, so beautiful. I have thought of you the last few days because we have fog here - fog that will not go away, that lingers in the dark, and I thought, well Tango deals with this all the time, does she not? Isn't San Francisco foggy, I asked myself? Having never been there, I have only this foggy fantasy, old b/w movies to support my theory. I can see you there in watery colors, edges slipping away into the city. You are perhaps becoming closer to this place you love.

Ahhh, I'm rambling & thinking aloud. Never mind.


dutchbaby December 19, 2008 at 9:13 AM  

Your watercolor post reminds me of "Memoirs of a Geisha"; the main character had eyes like water. Your post is fluid and luminous, with music to match.

J9 December 19, 2008 at 9:31 AM  

I have had those days too, but I seem to feel like a sketch more than a watercolor. Not quite there, and not distinct. I also found that photographing my life was allowing me to observe it rather than live it. I've had to make the conscious decision to leave my camera at home so that I can fill out, and not feel sketchy.

chaos in one body December 19, 2008 at 9:44 AM  

I have not read your blogs and was really missing them. Reading this blog just reminds me why i am so addicted to your writing.

I love the two qoutes you used from Anaïs Nin.

The description of watercolor was not confusion at all. I was able to picture exactly how you are feeling.

Geert Groote and his urbane double egg. December 19, 2008 at 9:56 AM  

I've always loved Chopin, and his Nocturnes are wonderful. If you could paint music I think Chopin's Nocturnes would be watercolors (this makes no sense..but it makes sense in my head. haha).

I hope your weekend is better than your week was!

P December 19, 2008 at 10:49 AM  

Ah...I know that feeling. A taxing week to be sure. But you are still vibrant and full of sparkles - how do you do it?

Rachete December 19, 2008 at 11:32 AM  

I love the photos you put on your blog. Very creative!


Genna December 19, 2008 at 11:47 AM  

I would leave flowers at Chopin's grave also.

Blue Sky Dreaming December 19, 2008 at 11:54 AM  

You had my heart at the mention of feeling like a watercolor and then finishing with Nocturne #2....This post could easily open the hardest heart!
Mary Ann

Christian Cagigal December 19, 2008 at 2:00 PM  

I stop reading for just a few months and you get better and better... ;)

I'll make sure to listen to this at home tonight.

After X-Mas we should try to hang out again...or rather..."I" should try harder to hang out again. Sorry for my lame-i-tude.

This is wonderful stuff you are scribing.

Hope to see you guys soon,

Mari December 19, 2008 at 3:04 PM  

I hope you have a lovely weekend, take some wonderful pictures, drink your favorite whatever and eat 3 desserts!

Paris Atelier December 19, 2008 at 3:44 PM  

Ah! Then let us go to Paris, leave flowers for Chopin, and be watercolors in the beautiful City of Light! Or at least have sweet dreams of it!!!! Bonne Nuit!

tangobaby December 19, 2008 at 5:21 PM  

Hello all,

I'm so grateful to have a moment to respond to each and every one of your thoughtful comments...

@robin bird: Sometimes the words have a way of their own. I know you understand that because your writing is always something that I can immediately feel and recognize in myself.

I had not thought about using blurb to make a book of my posts, but perhaps someday I will. Leave it to you to come up with such a good idea for me.

I wish there was a Vermeer in San Francisco. I would go to visit it all the time...

@Red Shoes: Thank you sweetie. You are my other favorite eyelash lady.

@Cuban: I know you appreciate those Nin quotes. I added an Anais Nin website in my sidebar, you should take a peek at it.

@Sue: Thank you for the updated link, and no, we did not end up having Greek food. We went to a South Indian restaurant, where I had a Masala Dosa. I liken it to the Indian version of a potato knish. It was delicious.

@Sozol: Outside looking in...I think you know exactly what I mean. Yes, you do.

I hope you can hear the song at some point. It's very lovely. And thank you for the compliment. You remind me to come and visit you again.

@~K: I would think a full moon would be a Claire de Lune night? ;-) Just kidding. Anytime is a good time for Debussy. I also love Afternoon of a Faun very much.

I'm glad you've become introduced to Anais Nin. She was a remarkable thinker and writer. She says things in ways I only wish I could...so I just stand back and admire her fine and brave mind because I'm not even close.

@Char: I know you understand. I thought of you too when I was writing this.

@Amanda: thank you. It must be the season for Watercolor People? ;-)

@Adam: I agree, that things feel a little off kilter. And we have so much on our collective plates right now that it's overwhelming. I hope you find your center of gravity too.

@Pare: You are another lady whom I know understands this perfectly. And thank you.

@rochambeau: Just seeing your name here makes me smile. Thank you, love.

@Yoli: I guess I would rather have days like this than not ever. I am sure you would agree with me on that. And thank you kindly, lady Sag. ;-)

@Debi: I adore this comment. I love the fog here (you know that) and the idea that somehow me and the fog are entertwined is lovely. I hope you were able to enjoy the fog, too. Thank you so much for your comment.

@dutchbaby: My booklady friend, boy did I love that book. Thank you for the compliment and the reminder.

@chaos: I want to call you Little Chaos. I hope you don't mind. You intrigue me. I'm glad you enjoyed the quotes. I find when I am not sure of what to say, I can find that Anais Nin has said it for me already, and with such simplicity and perfection that I feel like I know her. Or that she knew me.

@Geert: I think you are a pianist, if I remember correctly? I agree with you. These nocturnes are very watercolory. Do you play Chopin?

I don't think I ever did. I could play Satie, and some Beethoven. But looking back I wish I had my piano again to play Chopin, if I could do him justice. Thank you for the well wishes.

@P: Oh, the sparkles are scant this week. Sometimes I look to you for my sparkles! (That's a burden, I'm sorry).

@Rachete: Thank you for visiting. I loved reading about your thoughts on Van Gogh.

@Genna: I have still never been to Pere Lachaise. Of course I would have to go to Jim Morrison too. But first Chopin.

@Blue Sky Dreaming: Ah, to the gifted artist like you, I must have really done well this time! ;-) Thank you!

@Christian: Any time. I would love to see you whenever you have time to catch up. That would be wonderful. And I LOVE the header of your blog. WHEREEVER did you get that stunning photo? I still get so much pleasure out of your portraits. I truly love how they turned out.

@Mari: I will do everything you say, except for the three desserts. My Spanx will not allow such things anymore! But thank you. I know what you mean. Dessert can be very healing medicine.

@Paris Atelier: Ma chere, you and I need to talk Paris. Seriously. More on that later. A bientot!

Teri December 19, 2008 at 11:11 PM  

I've often wondered what to call that feeling, that sense of runniness. Watercolor makes it sound not so depressing as I let myself feel during times like that. I also felt good, damp and citified reading your post tonight. My mom's SO has a place on Park in SF that has lovely restaurants and a sense of Paris and I have felt that watercolor feeling there too, even when I am not tired or red eyed.

karey m. December 20, 2008 at 6:14 AM  

jesus. this post makes total sense. if, by total sense you mean utterly beautifully written.

i was swept away in your watercolor, i must tell you...

xoxo. i've been away too long, yes? yes.

Wendy December 20, 2008 at 1:57 PM  

This is so beautifully put together. I really enjoyed reading it!

Relyn December 21, 2008 at 8:29 AM  

How do you write such poetry when you are all smudged around the edges. Purely beautiful.

Christina December 22, 2008 at 9:21 AM  

Your watercolor is beautiful.

This makes perfect sense, sweetie.

David Engel December 24, 2008 at 6:12 PM  

I just added a blog a couple days ago to my site where I finished things off curled up listening to Chopin.

Check out my new blog:


Let me know what you think. I just started and there is so much I do not know.



Mike Tracy December 25, 2008 at 7:00 AM  

Beautiful, thank you.