07 March 2005

Haunted . . .

Thing which is haunting me #1: robin's eggs. I was at the grocery store yesterday, eyeing the candy in the bulk food section, when I spotted robin's eggs. I couldn't remember what sort of candy they actually are, but they were such gorgeous colours that I couldn't resist buying a few to put with whatever I decide to do for the kids (that is, my sister's kids) for Easter. Of course, when I got home, I had to try one. I had some vague notion that they were maybe candy-covered chocolate. Actually, they are candy-covered-chocolate-covered malt balls (you know, like Whoppers). I bit one in half and looked at the crispy inside. Hmmm, I thought. I can't eat this. (Malt = barley, plus the crunchy bit is probably mostly wheat flour = poison to Celiac sufferers like me.) So what did I do? Did I spit it out? Hell, no. I ate it. And then I ate the half that was still in my hand. Very, very bad. But if I only eat one, ever, I'll be fine. And it was sooo good! Now I am haunted by the malty deliciousness of something I'm not allowed to eat. (Maybe, I thought, if I only ate one a week, it'd be okay. And probably it would, but that's a very, very bad habit to pick up.) Sigh.

Thing which is haunting me #2 (still): marionettes. I was working on my cloth doll marionette yesterday after supper. There I sat, cross-legged on the bed (where I often work, despite the bedroom being the darkest room in my house), stuffing the little black cotton arms and legs that I'd sewed up the day before, and the weirdest thing happened. I was working on the legs--they were done up to the knees and I was putting stuffing in the thighs--when I looked down at what I'd done so far. Imagine two little shapely legs, bent neatly at the knee where they lay across my lower leg (remember, I am cross-legged, so the working surface of my lap is made up of bits of my own bent legs). Two little legs bent at the knee, feet turned slightly inward at the ankle, exactly as if there was a little artificial person sitting in my lap (except, of course, the legs weren't attached to anything yet). Every time I looked at the legs as a whole (rather than just the immediate part I was working on) they looked exactly like they might start to move on their own. It was very peculiar. I've made cloth dolls before, but they never seemed about to move on their own. (I'm not saying I thought they actually would, only that they looked as if they could.) Maybe it's just that I was taken to see Coppelia at a very young age, and that first impression of toys coming to life has stayed with me ever since. Or maybe it's that in every puppet book I read, it's emphasized that marionettes are not dolls. They are actors. I can kind of see where that comes from now. I only hope this little fabric person retains that much character when it's finished. Oh, and it (possibly she, but more likely androgynous) has a name now. Iris. After the Greek goddess of the rainbow. It will make sense, I hope, when it's done.

I was surfing around eBay (bad idea, really, but fun), and decided to look at marionettes. There are some really gorgeous ones, like knights in real metal armour (Italian, I think), and the ones by Czech Marionettes. I really could imagine these as actors rather than dolls or toys. And then there were the ones that looked like cheap toys, and probably wouldn't come to life no matter how carefully you twitched their strings. Or maybe I'm just imagining things. A skilled puppeteer could probably make just about anything seem alive.

And speaking of which, my bedtime reading last night was a short (40-page) biography of Jim Henson written for kids. One of the things that struck me was how the human co-stars of the Muppet Show quickly began to see their Muppet coworkers as individuals, and how they found it disappointing that they couldn't go out for coffee with them after the show. Even the puppeteers who played the Muppets tended to think of them as real characters. Perhaps it's much the same as how writers think of their characters. They're not "real" in the sense that they're a part of the "real world," but they are somehow their own people who have pasts and opinions.

Anyway, time to get back to stuffing and sewing.


Sue said...

I remember robin's eggs! I had a love hate relationship with them. They tasted SO good that I always ate too many and then my mouth hurt.

Niko said...

It's really hard to stop eating them, even when you know it's very, very bad for you. I used to buy Whoppers all the time, too. Yummm.