Number of times I have said, “I’m sorry.” Number of times I have felt sorry. Number of times I have made people feel angry and uncomfortable at dinner parties for directly expressing my views about women. Number of times I have been called “strident” and “aggressive.” Number of times a male person using my tone and language would be termed “strident” and “aggressive” to his face. Number of times I have thought my life was defined by anger. Number of times I have thought I should become softer, kinder, more open to contrasting views. Number of times I really thought this. Number of times friends have recommended Buddhism and meditation to me. Number of times I have thought no one can live an easy life with so much dissent and refusal in them. Number of times I have wondered if I would wind up entirely alone. Number of times I wondered if my outlook would destroy my writing. Number of times I have thought it was funny being stuck in my temperament and also in a world fighting hard against my desire for change. Number of times I have marveled at Rebecca Solnit for her ferocity and seeming nicer-than-me-ness. Number of times I have wondered if some people have more love in them. Number of times I have rewritten conversations in my head all night. Number of times I have felt it does not matter if your views are popular as long as they are yours. Number of times I have wanted to be loved with all my shit. Number of times I have had dreams about this.
After watching a doc about Bob Dylan some years ago.
How to be butch, for small, slender girls and boys. Develop a dead thing in your eyes that people will exhaust themselves trying to light up. Do not smile or articulate your joints. Develop a habit, whatever works for you, don’t give it away easily. Become a place no one wants to go if they are hungry. Feel born to the wrong parents. Love your own irritability. Stare blankly at questions about who you are and what you mean. Smoke. In response to the remark, “No fear, no envy, no meanness,” respond, “No childhood, no memories, no stitches.”
Speaking of extraordinary stylists, one of the books Pup & I read on our day without electricity was by an acquaintance of many NYC years: Laurie Stone’s “My Life As an Animal.” it’s a book filled with magic tricks & sleights of the writing hand. Slants in from every direction, yet manages to tell not all, definitely not all (that’s one aspect of the brilliance of it) but definitely all you need to understand where it comes from while also understanding that you will never really know: That the narrator, who is possibly Laurie Stone, sort of Laurie Stone but not Laurie Stone and possibly trustworthy but never reliably trustworthy is the best kind of womanfriend: there but not there. A bit of a chimera, to call up an animal. Sage but not controlling. So nimble she tricks you into getting it: how life works, how her mind works. If this sounds way too Triquarterly clever, don’t worry. It is Triquarterly clever, but that’s not how it reads unless that’s what you want. If you want the story of a mother and daughter, if you want the story of a fresh relationship that starts up well after reason suggests it should & is held in Hepburn-Tracy-like suspense, if you want to know how to bargain, if you want to know about a lost friendship, that’s what you’ll get. And I don’t know about you but that’s what I always want.