January 12, 2002


Cixous Break

Reader-friends, I have a favor to ask. If you happen to be online on Saturday before Midnight, take a trip over to GarageBand.com and check out the Funk/Soul/R&B track of the day from LeadBelly. My husband produces (and lends his nimble bassist fingers) to the band.

The song is in the 100s within its genre now, so I'm thinking some extra attention might keep it climbing up the charts. I'm not sure how the number of downloads/listens figures into their popularity contest over there, but I suspect that it does--and it sure can't hurt. (After midnight, you can still listen, but the tune's run as track of the day will be over.)

Much appreciated. Meme on.


January 11, 2002

the school of roots

Cixous writes: "Exile is an uncomfortable situation, though it is also a magical situation. I am not making light of the experience of exile. But we can endure it differently. Some exiles die of rage, some transform their exile into a country."


I see the place named My Exile. I should embrace that place, but I don't want to go, don't want to be apart. Exile is terrifying until you are apart so long you forget the pain of the rebuff.

More and more with the offline world I am wandering into exile. There seems less reason to reach out, to travel outward physically. And there is, for me, less and less reward in it. It's the online, inward journey I'm interested in right now. Traversing the web of discussions and connections that make the old world seem one-dimensional and flat. How ironic that this flat screen leads into a world thick with dimension and energy, while my own front door leads to a bland, disconnected place--a place of far less joy.

What of this? When the touch of the keyboard feels more familiar than the touch of a hand. When to leave, to exile yourself, becomes more compelling than staying.

When the light out there
is much too bright
and the day too hard
to bear.

January 09, 2002

the school of dreams

Cixous wonders what men dream about. If not creation, she reasons, which is at the core of every woman's dream self--conception, birth, loss, separation, our babies who are sometimes as small as beans and other times disguised as puppies or plants--then what? What colors the dreams of men, especially men who write? What do you birth in your dreams, through your dreams?

In my dreams, I am the child, the mother, the one who loses and the one who is lost.

Cixous finds more comfort in her dreams than I do, or at least draws more creatively from them. For me, lately, my dreams simply mirror my angst. If I could open the door to my blog and climb inside, I think I would. For a while at least. Escape inside the comforting shapes of text and space, of colors and the absence of color, of people who know me well enough to make me laugh, but not so well that they can hurt me.

Here. Here is where nothing happens until I write it, nothing comes undone without my permission. Lately I need to write more than to dream. Lately writing is that dream.

January 07, 2002


the school of dreams

Cixous writes: "A woman who writes is a woman who dreams about children. Our dream children are innumerable. The writing time, which is like reading time--there is latency, there is pre-writing--is accompanied by a child state, what Tsvetaeva calls the "state of creation." The unconscious tells us a book is a scene of childbirth, delivery, abortion, breastfeeding. The whole chronicle of childbearing is in play within the unconscious during the writing period."


I weep all the way home, and once there, I'm plagued by dreams. My baby is born, no she is still unborn. I hold her and then lose her, or she is not mine at all. I swim through them, dark nights of pain, and wonder too long about what could have been--should have been? Most days I am not sure what's real.

And then my baby comes back to me. To be with me. With us. For me to take care of, for real. I can't pick her up because I'll rip in two. So I return to the bed, for a time. I settle with her there, to stare and wonder: what do I do now? My memory of her is gone, my scent isn't on her. Who's is she?

And then it starts. I feel her again, I feel that place inside so wounded by surgeons, where she once lived, that place of the memory of my child. It happens a little at a time for good reason; to happen all at once would kill me all over again.

And I am finally mother.

I am mother, I am writer, I am dreamer.

And she is with me, she is in me, she is me.

I'm home.

the school of dreams

Cixous writes: "In order to go to the School of Dreams, something must be displaced, starting with the bed. One has to get going. That is what writing is, starting off. It has to do with activity and passivity. This does not mean one will get there. Writing is not arriving; most of the time it's not arriving. One must go on foot, with the body, One has to go away, leave the self. How far must one not arrive in order to write, how far must one wander and wear out and have pleasure? One must walk as far as the night. One's own night. Walking through the self toward the dark."


As bad as nearly bleeding to death is, the secondary infection is what almost kills me. Ten days on the edge begin to tear apart mother and child bonds, my bond with my baby, my mother's with me. And just there, I have arrived at a truth I hadn't known until I set out, wandering, as Cixous says. The depth of killing in the parent-child separation.

But in the end, I do get up from the bed, and I cry as I leave it. I cry because to die is easier, to be immortalized a heroine, "died in childbirth," the headstones that stop you as you wind through cemeteries. Easier because the damage done to the family from my near-death can't be undone.

But instead I rise from the bed, at the moment of staying or going, I both stay and go at once. I rise from the bed to write. I stay to dream.