I was at my gym exercising tonight and a grey-haired woman, in lieu of saying excuse me, gave me the slightest brush of hand on my extended leg, to let me know she was passing—so sorry—and as I looked up, there was this warm sort of split-second Susan Boyle twinkle in her eye that informed not only of a rare kind of generous humanity, but an equally capacitous depth of loneliness. Of course there is no appropriate response besides the half-smile I gave her, but it lifted me out of my egocentric gym fog into a
mode of empathy and compassion.
I think part of this whole obsession with Susan Boyle, besides the Cinderella thing, has to do with the shifting gear thing…when suddenly the commonplace and ordinary becomes worthy of reverence. And of compassion… via a sort of Eleanor Rigby gifted with an incredible and moving talent… the voice of great beauty which turns the froggy woman into a sort of queen. An unlikely stone on the shore is revealed as a diamond. And all of us, now, have learned the lesson of not taking everything for granted, of not judging all books by their cover. All of us were magic-wanded, at least for a day, into a kinder and more forgiving temper.
Because like a kind of miracle, we get this glimpse of joy…the place where her voice begins… the truth of it… the utter lack of attitude toward these people who placed themselves as her superiors, and who were humbled into some kind of genuine happiness at pure ungroomed talent as we do not generally see it on American Idol. It is not the face of Jesus in a croissant, it is something living and magical at once and it moves us from our cult of cynicism and fraud into a kind of belief, even if it came from Youtube.
Now they are pleading that she should not have plastic surgery or get her teeth fixed…is it ‘charming’ and part of the fairy tale that she remain a frog? Does she not deserve the pampering the judges receive? Would that not make her eligible for another makeover reality show and dilute the phenomenon?
I’m not certain what will happen to Susan Boyle…whether she’ll wish she had remained a frog with a heavenly voice… but I’ve noticed this week that poverty gets in your veins and arteries and it is hard to get it out. Like damp. It ruins you. And in the end, it stunts your spirit. It suffocates and taints like mold. I feel as though I’m never going to be a home for success….I’m too wrecked. I’ve become the downgraded mask I’ve worn for years as a disguise in which to become an artist. I am no longer viable. It’s terrifying in a way that I could find comfortable.
It could be a 21st century sociological phenomenon… obviously 99 percent of today’s successful ‘artists’ are merely products, and are fueled with rich parents or other forms of lucre. And I also realize that no matter how many millions these people and/or their rich investment-banker families have hoarded…they feel like losers… they are not real celebrities or great men… they are not heroes…they are not as rich as they long to be… except maybe Jay-Z… but they are like these filthy landlords here. And I am one of the pathetic hideous poor tenants…with the mold of it seeping in, the stained bathroom… terminally incapable of success in some way. But once you are old and arthritic and close to death.. .does it really make a difference if your chauffeur helps you out of a Lexus or you scuff around in filthy mules in C-Town looking for prunes and white bread with your foodstamps?
Comic relief: re: the wrong number/tech hell maze, some cellist tonight emailed me by mistake… I don’t even know her… but she was obviously emailing someone else.. .this whole confession about spending the night with this guy… it was kind of lewd and gross …she’s got kids… I’ve exchanged emails with her maybe once and somehow my name was crossed in there. I hope she never figures it out. Now I DO NOT want her to play on my cd. Isn’t that judgmental of me? It’s not a morality issue, but it was just such a pathetically pedestrian confession!