Last night I had a dream that I made a skull out of glass. The glass was tinted lime green. The glass hold no holes, it was a solid skull. I had filled it with water, but there were pockets of air caught inside. The skull was imperfect, warped. The jaw was small and lopsided. One side of the forehead was bigger than the other. The air bubble would get caught behind the eye socket and look like a monocle. An inside-monocle. I kept showing people the skull that I made. "Look at the skull that I made!" I said. I would hold it up with my arms straight in front of me, my fingers gripping the strange smooth grooves of the superciliary crest. I slept with it clutched to my chest.
The other day, I had lunch with my friend Kendal. He recited a poem for me. How many times have you had a poem recited for you?
Privilege of Being
Many are making love. Up above, the angels in the unshaken ether and crystal of human longing are braiding one another's hair, which is strawberry blond and the texture of cold rivers. They glance down from time to time at the awkward ecstasy-- it must look to them like featherless birds splashing in the spring puddle of a bed-- and then one woman, she is about to come, peels back the man's shut eyelids and says, look at me, and he does. Or is it the man tugging the curtain rope in that dark theater? Anyway, they do, they look at each other; two beings with evolved eyes, rapacious, startled, connected at the belly in an unbelievably sweet lubricious glue, stare at each other, and the angels are desolate. They hate it. They shudder pathetically like lithographs of Victorian beggars with perfect features and alabaster skin hawking rags in the lewd alleys of the novel. All of creation is offended by this distress. It is like the keening sound the moon makes sometimes, rising. The lovers especially cannot bear it, it fills them with unspeakable sadness, so that they close their eyes again and hold each other, each feeling the mortal singularity of the body they have enchanted out of death for an hour so, and one day, running at sunset, the woman says to the man, I woke up feeling so sad this morning because I realized that you could not, as much as I love you, dear heart, cure my loneliness, wherewith she touched his cheek to reassure him that she did not mean to hurt him with this truth. And the man is not hurt exactly, he understands that life has limits, that people die young, fail at love, fail of their ambitions. He runs beside her, he thinks of the sadness they have gasped and crooned their way out of coming, clutching each other with old invented forms of grace and clumsy gratitude, ready to be alone again, or dissatisfied, or merely companionable like the couples on the summer beach reading magazine articles about intimacy between the sexes to themselves, and to each other, and to the immense, illiterate, consoling angels.
Walking outside, the air is full of cotton. People...sounds are quiet. Then everyone starts to come out of their homes. They go to cafe, they go to theater, they go to disco. Talking, everyone talks. And at two in the morning, it is safe to walk home.
-My grandmother on Paris and seven o'clock at night
There are a lot of things going, going.
My studies seem to reflect my life quite a bit. Right now, I am working on an essay with the tentative title, Taking Back the Mirror: Women Authors and Writing the Body. I want to explore the work of Virginia Woolf, HeleneCixous, Shelley Jackson, Susan Bordo, and Donna Haraway and the authors' use of embodied language to create the woman body. The thread seems to come in analogating the writing process to procreation, and beyond that, using pregnancy as a metaphor for the gestation and ultimate "birth" of ideas as a surrogate (pun?) for child bearing in "real life".
I never thought I would be tackling gender in literature studies (by "tackling gender" I refer exclusively to the feminine, because that is how I have been taught to categorize). I thought that too obvious, being a woman student, to study women authors based on their gender and not their work.
It is easy to make the leap from thinking about woman authors to thinking about women's roles in society to thinking about my role in society. I think when I reference "society", I want to reduce it to my own web of communication, my little corner of the world, my relationships. What do I offer people as a woman (shying away from woman as sexual commodity)? What do I offer them as a person? Is this one and the same? Am I naive in thinking that it could be?
This is all reflective of this last year. I feel, coming into my fourth year of undergraduate studies, I have started to own who I am as a person and, consequently, my work. They are one and the same. My work, myself. This has spurred an increase in confidence that I find pleasantly addictive, a sting in my nervous system that begs for a higher output of ideas. But is all of this work, all of this exploration and creation, the work of a womanperson or the work of a personstudent?
I'll leave you with the paintings of Kris Chau. The work she does is amazing, beautiful, ephemeral, more adjectives. Roots for veins, branches for wings, manifesting the Mother Earth into a group of heralding ghost angels.