Today I woke up and typed out a well-worded piece of spite about psychic vampires. It wasn’t only catty, but entertaining and admittedly rather eloquent in parts. I even spellchecked it.
It will have to wait.
I wanted to start with something safe. Funny stories of hapless bioboys and their hapless texts to mad brilliant women who laugh hysterically, and run into the light.
I’ve taken the title from textepithets written to me and a mate, who were comparing notes on the consequences of biocock. Bad poetry. We try to laugh at men, because it’s easier than screaming at them.
Right now, I can’t laugh. Though the thought of my gentle femme friend, a soft feline creature playing out the role of rabid puma bitch in some str8 boy’s porn script is… almost as silly as me being coaxed into some slippered shnookums wifelet role - and does still bring a curl to the corner of my lips…
But the rest of this entry isn’t light, can’t be light, is horribly horribly dark and sad and I didn’t know what else to write and maybe it’s a fitting follow on for Derrida who said that he wrote half asleep in a trance, he wrote half aware while fully awake, so fully awake that he was as yet half asleep – and when he was half asleep, he found himself horrified at his bravado, writing, attacking, saying what hadn’t been said, what shouldn’t be said.
Writing is treason
I read it on La Pelouse’s toilet wall and tears sprung to my eyes.
I copied out the quote in my diary:
Writing is treason to your nation, your family,
your gender, your class, your majority.
Above all, writing is treason to writing itself.
The credit cited Gilles Deleuze and Clare Parnet and I spent a week scouring Dialogues in English and french and then transcripts and fragments of ABCDE trying to find it in a citable form…. But ain’t had no luck yet.
So is this treason? Who am I betraying when I write ? what right do I have to tell stories of others, however much they are linked to and form me, and move me and become me?
How do I write this?
Where do I start?
OK, I’ll start with Saturday. It has a crazy narrative with cracks of madness showing through.
On Saturday a close friend who I hadn’t really seen for a while, hugged me too hard. She meant well, and I didn’t tell her to stop, and didn’t know if I wanted her to stop or not. But afterwards, as we chatted and ate, I felt words dry up in my mouth, and my mind vanish elsewhere. The food was inedible, but I ate it, and my friend eventually left – and I can’t remember saying goodbye, but I remember closing the door.
I walked out of the house with tears streaming under my sunnies. Randomly sobbing and not sure why. Shaking, cold. It was cold. I felt very odd. Glad to breathe, glad to walk. I walked to Enmore, and caught a bus. I was dressed as an abject sleazy middle aged monstrous man, so people smiled at me. My sobs held back by my teeth, my streaming eyes hidden under black sunnies, my rictus mask looked like a smile of sorts.
If you put on a mask you are safe. You can be whoever you want in a mask, you can say whatever you want. Masks are magic. The Brontes believed it as children. Too scared, small and shy to speak until their father gave them a mask to speak from. It must be true. All writers are cowards at heart. Our hearts are broken at birth.
Changing at Petersham, I bussed it to Balmain – ostensibly for a friend’s booklaunch. I needed words, needed some salve – something. Her magnum opus is exploring a ficto critical mythology for the smashing of language and the self at birth… ohhh it’s too long to describe here. I hoped the latest book wouldn’t be too intense.
Buses irritate me at times – as did this one. I got off on the edge of Leichhardt and went wandering north, up the hill towards Lilyfield – meandering through streets… past a street of funny little close set split level semi detached houses, up to Perry and Balmain streets…. Looking at the street sign I saw where I was, where I had walked past, the house I’d lived – been born into, brought home too… was that living?
And is this my story to tell?
It was a time before language, a time which language has wrapped itself around like a wound – and the stories aren’t mine, but stories about and between grown ups. Stories grown ups told each other, and taunted me with, and part of me was there, but it was very small, barely a witness to something much larger and nastier, that I was a part of and so maybe it’s my story after all, but I have no words for it yet.
Just sadness and horror, and occasionally blind rage.
Back to the mask, and the books and nice things, which I move towards, which enter me and feed me and let me move in the world.
Later, walking home, I felt as if my body was flying apart. I couldn’t feel my legs, was scared I’d fall over. My head swam, my left nipple started aching, my stomach … my sense… was cold, and strange, and scared.
I kept walking, went inside, turned on the heater, put on all my clothes, hid in bed, reading soothing sapphisms, breathing. Eventually able to text the Rabid Panther Bitch who also specialises in mercy missions to desperate dying and disaster prone friends. Thank dog.
So I self cared, calmed down, found care, safety, support, security with loving flatties friends and neighbours. Was reminded why I’ve fought to stay in my home and learnt a little more about my own points of frailty. And trucked on as usual for the rest of the weekend.
And today, I got a phone call from an ex of an old dear beloved friend and I knew why she called – coz she has never called before and…..
My friend Lang died last night. In her sleep I hope it was her heart or the drugs or some accident and not some suicide but she had been suicidal before and ok it was peaceful and we must tell each other nice stories because the nasty ones hurt too much and if we start telling them we’ll never stop our screams.
I wish I knew a way to tell this story, to talk about this stuff in a way that wouldn’t make me or other readers flinch.
I flinch when I hear stories like my own. I flinch when I hear them in public. I go cold and I turn away, I wish I didn’t have to hear it, I wish I didn’t have to tell it.
Writing ANYTHING is easier than this, and yet writing ANYTHING is often so damn hard.
You know this story. You’ve heard it before. Some of you might have lived it. Lots of you might have lived it. I’m sorry if you have. It’s a horrible way to have to live.
Men who fuck their daughters or try to and men who tell lies to their daughters break apart our bodies and our language. I can’t speak for other genders or gendered becomings or possibilities. This scenario feels like a specifically sex based binarised gendering.
The men who do this, split themselves apart in order to do it. Different selves do the hurting, others do the judging, the speaking…. And there is no continuity between the words, between the different scripts, the different faces to the world, the actions, the stories. Hypocrisy isn’t an epistemological flaw, it’s a fucking poison that makes any attempt at connection completely impossible and drives apart the bodies and minds of those who come into contact with it.
Am I a hypocrite? After all, we all have contradictions. Nobody is perfect. And I am my father’s daughter after all.
I remember the shape of his lips, his teeth, his hands, how they felt on mine. His knuckles were calloused smooth and I remember the timbre of his voice, his knees like mine, the birthmark on his thigh. Bits of his body are in me, bits of his mind too.
I don’t think my brother could stand it. He died five years to the day after Dad. Slow dragon chasing on the edge of an iceberg. He wasn’t the first of my father’s sons to suicide. I can’t speak for them. Maybe none of the above is true.
This pain feels implacably gendered. It’s in my breasts, and my vulva, which I’ve tried to masculinise but can’t. Packed and bound, they insist on their own femaleness, and demand that I accept mine. My becoming woman began with a very specific act of destruction, by a man, against my sex, my sexuality, my being, my becoming.
So to my friend, my dear dead friend Lang, who I'm now crying for because it beats the fuck out of crying for myself. who I knew when she was whole, when I was falling apart - when we were both falling, but clutching, dreaming talking, finding reason and brilliance and bravery, and love.
So I’m going to tell another story, for myself, for my friend, my lover, my sister. For whoever else reads this, and knows what I’m talking about.
“sisterhood” sounds like such a hokey ‘70’s feminist word
So if I say my sisters are sacred I’ll come across as an abjectly lavendered wench and my pomo gender studies queericon kudos will be ruined.
Spawning from my patermonster, my biofamily is a bit of a source of shame, horror and tragedy, on the whole… but there’s another story too.
Today I rang my mum, and today she was my mum and she listened and spoke and we laughed and cried and talked for ages. And she said how she wished that women would write honest graffiitti about the men that abuse them instead of stupid abuse about other women. I’m taking my texta to uni tomorrow.
I remembered that my family is composed of women who have known unspeakable pain, but dared to speak it and we share it, and continue to live with it, and hold our anger, limping, laughing, struggling along, stuttering, speaking and living.
The only people I really trust are people who know pain, who know this pain, and yet can live with it – and I don’t just mean a bare life of mad subsistence but a great gulping force of nature. These people are my flesh and blood. These people share my flesh and blood. They are my religion, my family, my reason for living, and my sustenance.
I have one sister living in new york. She loved my brother, and they could have married but they didn’t and he’s been dead for longer than he knew her anyway. She’s my sister because she lives, because life is in each cell of her body. She cries, she laughs, she sings and life is a breathe that flows continuously through her – no gaps, no hidden secrets, no lies. She’s beautiful.
And Lang was my other sister, and her beauty and her tenderness and love is one of the most sacred and wonderful things I’ve ever come across. She was whole. Can I scream it from the rooftops? She was whole! Entire – the same person, integrated, honest, generous, so generous, in so many ways, with so many people, even with her horror biofamily. And they are horrors. Nasty smug xtian hypocrites. They disapproved of her lapsed xtianism, and ignored her suffering for years, as if it was just punishment for not being a good child of god. Her pain is so horrible that it dug inside her, sclerosified her joints, broke apart her mind numerous occasions. She moved, found new words, ideas, people. She surrounded herself with books, with friends, with new families, with new ways of feeling and showing and sharing love. Still tried desperately to reconcile with her family, to give them some way of sharing love with her, someone who shouldn’t exist, someone who embodied their shame, the refuse of a hypocritic life.
And it worked. She said her patermonster came close to apologising the last time he saw her. She said he stammered out something along the lines of.. “I’m sorry, that your childhood was so painful”. Note the separation – the distancing of the self from action, from agency… how do we acknowledge when we cause someone actual harm? How do we reconcile it within ourselves? OK the above is not really a happy ending – and hardly fits with my idea of redemption.
So I’m going to remind myself of the brilliance and beauty of fighting for feeling, for sensation, for connection against a body and a self that has been broken apart. My dear sister Lang – you did this to the very end. You were beautifully alive and connected and whole and you remind me still of the brilliance and possibility of living fully with the immanence of death, of pain, of annihilation. I wish like hell you could have finished uni, or a novel, or so many dreams you had. I wish you could have written the story you shared with your friends. I wish I could find words for your pain, I wish I knew the incantation to take it away from you, and to make things better and whole and easier for us all.
I don’t of course. And moving towards language is a daily movement away from this impossible space before language. Spaces of pain, horror and terror within me. I touch the edges, feel my own panic in the dark. Try to pause, and breathe. It is possible to sense this, to carry it with me, to hold my impossible self, the destroyed sad little hell, to breathe with it and move slowly towards living and writing with integrity and courage. I’m not trying to tell anyone else’s story here. I don’t have the right. Only to sense that in sharing stories, sharing pain, I am reminded of my own imperative to keep on living well, to find a voice that can breathe life into my being and the world around me.