i read The Shawl by Cynthia Ozick...
my heart in pieces at the very beginning today but, like i said before, sadness is no reason to run and hide.
not from Art...
and The Holocaust must be remembered...
this little short story and the following novella is one of the most beautiful and painful things i've ever read, ever held in my hands. ever. like a baby almost. like a secret. it smothers and then it softens. the words fly out and stick in you. i tucked a little letter pressed print of a mother holding her infant child into the flap of the front cover. a mother whose face is turned away. her features hidden... and just like in this story, her features aren't the point. they aren't important. her motherhood is what is important. her desire to protect her child, to have her child kept safe... a child that is gone... to watch her daughter learn to dance and maybe paint, maybe write, commit poems to memory, to wear a blue dress with shining black buttons, to butterfly through youth and smile. smile.
it is a tall order when confronted with the past. this past. camps and electrified fences and boiling water and all the horrors devised to save on bullets. and rape.
but we have to listen. we have to remember. we have to at least try to understand. try to see what went on there. try to give rise to a new language that can actually hold these stories... find a new line that is finally strong enough to draw out the map of these grim and gross and horrible things. mussel manner. that's what's left if we don't find the right words. if we ignore the ache to find them. mussel manner. the dead walking around on the sticks of human legs. mussel manner. and all that's required of us, the ones who weren't there and who don't know, is to listen. just listen. not with pity. pity doesn't cut it.
and neither does sympathy.
it has to be deeper than that. sympathy, in the face of this, is laughable. it's a shame. there's no way to do it. you must let your heart break, wide open, be filled with black birds, and prove that you're human. give them honor. sacrifice your happy life, even just for the few hours it takes to read this work, to listen. just listen. listening is where hope grows. it's what we can do to become better than what we are.
make your life deeper.
buy this book.
these texts are an archive of my life in the San Francisco Bay Area from march 2007 - march 2015. it stands as a record of close to a decade of my life, charting the struggles i faced as an artist, daughter, and lover. messy and chaotic at times, eloquent and poetic at others, these texts are an index i am proud of. it was here in this electric box that i learned how to be honest about my experiences and the person i needed to become. it was here that i first learned the truism that words make the world and how to trust such a beautiful, rife, hard fact.
thank you for meeting me here in such tall grass.
my artist website is here.
my artist website is here.