with half my life packed into bags and boxes, and the other (more important) half packed into notebooks, i wake to a busy day of study and apartment hunting. there is an open-house later this afternoon i must attend before heading off to work, and previous to that i MUST spend an hour or two in the language lab at school in preparation for a huge test tomorrow morning. but the biggest necessity of the day has already been obeyed and satisfied. i woke early, made english breakfast tea, and got back in bed with my notebook and stayed there scribbling for almost two hours.
i am no where near as prolific or eloquent as anais nin was with her diary but i think it is honorable and humble to aspire to her level of commitment to the form. i am so inspired by her dedication, her craft, her marriage of nuance to passionate explosion, her absolute artistry of The Diary. i think of her more and more while i'm writing... all her questions, so similar to my own but so much better expressed, endlessly more beautiful, so beautifully articulated (my notebook is overflowing with slang and crass expressions of speech)... what is it to be a woman speaking? what is it to be a woman and an artist? what is a "diary" after all?
reading hers, a diary is nothing short of a life's work. her collection is astounding and i've only yet made my way through a tiny portion. already i am in love and enamoured of her. already i feel such a close kinship, such a tight affection for her and her work. a dead woman. i love a dead woman. but that is not at all uncommon for me these days:
i cannot tell you what my life is guided by at the moment if not by my love for dead women.
the body i once lived in while i was growing in her belly is gone. the body we once shared is gone. dead and burned up. incinerated. her body: ash in a locket.
i do not wear the tiny silver heart for fear of it falling from its chain. she is packed away with her blue copy of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, pictures of us when i was a baby, of my two siblings when they were babies, pieces of stitchery, a jar of pearly buttons, a marriage certificate, scraps of lace...
this is the diary she made. this is the diary i keep and cherish. stored in a antique cardboard suitcase.
a few days ago, a cd of her singing arrived in the mail. a gift from my uncle, her youngest brother, made from a tape of her singing when she was 18 or 19 years old. my mother's voice before she was my mother. i have not listened to it yet and i probably won't for a very long time. her voice is so strong within me already. too strong to be coupled with song. it would undo me in ways i cannot afford at present but i am thankful to have the songs nevertheless. the day will come when it will be a guide in my life (thank you, uncle mark). for now, it is added to the suitcase: the diary she built and i keep.
this blog is part of the diary i keep. my diary lives in so many places and takes so many forms. this place, my beloved Blackland, is altogether different from the paper diary i keep. and both of those are entirely different from the visual diary that is my practice... all these portraits strung together, all these images and phrases, all these words words words... letters sent and letters received, postcards and valentines and Notes to Self... and this is my 1000th blog post. it's so weird to me and so amazing too. i thought i might give the blog up when i reached this point but the idea of that, now, feels wrong. it's only right to push forward, to keep the record of this search, to make the portrait again and again and again...
to establish and re-establish a mirror.
i must learn how to be this new thing that i am. i must learn its textures and depths. now: no mother, no father, just me. who is that?
do you know that words make the world?
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.