Fin in a Waste of Waters

"These moments of escape are not to be despised. They come too seldom....Leaning over this parapet I see far out a waste of water. A fin turns....I note under 'F.,' therefore, 'Fin in a waste of waters.' I, who am perpetually making notes in the margin of my mind for some final statement, make this mark, waiting for some winter's evening." (from Woolf's THE WAVES)

26 May 2007

This magic...

Just a little bit of writing to loosen the screws tightened by other work:

Last week exactly was the 3-year anniversary of my surgery. I debated whether or not to mark this day, the words of Ryan (whom I always thought of as "John") reverberating eternally in my memory, words spoken two years ago, only one summer after the surgery: "Wasn't this a year ago? Shouldn't you be over this by now?" I don't know if this is something I will ever "be over," or if it something I "should" be over. At this point in time, "this" itself still differs daily, demanding constant adaptation, let alone "getting over." Perhaps with more time will come equilibrium. Perhaps - I think so.

But, though not for the reason above, I decided not to "mark" this day. I told/reminded no one here, not until after the fact. I reminded Rasheed on the phone that day. After all, what will the surgery have accomplished if I insisted on marking this day? I underwent the surgery so that I could have a (mostly) "normal" life again after. So this is what I decided to celebrate that day: the ordinariness of my life. I did exactly what I would do any other day, reading for my dissertation, writing, going to work that night (catering a Lion's Club banquet at the Holiday Inn where innumerable old men sang the opening lines of "Chicago" to me after learning where I come from), and, after, sharing a bottle of wine with some friends down on the beach.

But ways I did celebrate the day: I did all with a heightened sense of pleasure in each moment, entirely content in the quiet, squirreling away each moment for some winter, remembering how easily any of us may have not been afforded these moments. Also, I filled my last book on that eve, remembering what I wrote exactly three years ago, the eve of the surgery, writing only from obligation, feeling that what was supposedly such a momentous event in my life deserved a written record. I began a fresh book & moved my list of 100 Life Goals to it a few days after this anniversary.

Also did I involve those around me in these "celebrations" - that night on the beach, before we could even open the wine, I had a seizure. During it, I was told after, did I ask: "What sense does life have without this magic?" And it is; magic, that is. Standing at the edge of the sea, standing, I felt, in more than a physical sense, on the periphery of water, rocks, and stars, and then dropping to my knees there under the weight of the seizure - on this Day - coming out of the confusion of my mind with this moment of clarity: what sense would life have without this magic? Without the seizures? They are, sometimes I feel & have felt even before I knew that they were indeed seizures, my moments when I see through life, when I stand outside of it, and see it whole. For so long, I was afraid that I had wavered too long on the borders of "real" life, that I would never slip back inside of it. But outside is its own "real" -

And isn't this what I go riding after, too, in dance, so desperately, deliberately, in the first year, and now, with ease, with peace? That moment when I am released, when I feel that physical lift when I am set free of my body & life; when I am only spirit? The very next evening: one of those perfect evenings of dance - so completely "on"; connected with everyone I came into contact with. And, though she couldn't possibly have known it, Kirsty gave me a way to mark this anniversary. At the end of the night, when the lights have come back on in the restaurant & the staff clears away the remains of dinners & drinks, when we all change back into our street shoes, and put on coats & jumpers, looking like strangers in the strange light...I had one shoe on, one off already when I hear the beginning of a song I'd sent K. weeks ago. Then, her voice: "This one's for you, Tessa!" Without even thinking, I immediately shouted: "Let me get my other shoe back on!" Then I stood, and there she was, a rose-gold light gleaming it seemed in her eyes and cheeks and hair, and we had one last dance, just the two of us, together, in the middle of the floor, under the lights, laughing all through it, and I feeling as if something in me would fly away. ...She is one of those rare dancing souls whom I have written about here, and in my journals, and whom I have sought out in every city I've danced in. She is the only one I've found here for sure (I thought maybe Murat...but we'll see if he stays "quit"; a dancer who quits is no d.s. - but I bet he won't be able to stay away). She & I have always sparked in a good way on the floor, but never yet like that night - and after, I felt so completely understood, as if for the 3-minute space of this song, I had found peace with this person. Magic.

And finally, now, it continues (and so it will still, I think...). Now, writing this after Chinese left-overs from last night, green tea, and a fortune cookie. My fortune, so appropriately timed as I reflect on this Day? Good health will be yours for a long time. Magic. What sense would this life have without it?

18 May 2007

From the diaries of Virginia Woolf...

From my reading of the diaries of Virginia Woolf (vol. II):

"And if we didn't live venturously, plucking the wild goat by the beard, & trembling over precipices, we should never be depressed, I've no doubt; but already should be faded, fatalistic & aged."

I came here to prove that she was not indeed "mad" but saner than the "sane" who diagnosed her as such: here it is in one line.

Reading more & more of her life, I am increasingly in love with this woman & the way she lived her life.

16 May 2007

House dreams

For anyone who still checks here after my long hiatus:

Yes, another few house dreams. I've neglected writing it down for quite some time...but I'm having trouble picking through some other writing tonight, and I've shamefully neglected this blog, so here it is, if not in full detail...(because I owe myself some sort of writing tonight):

It was a house in the country-side of Greece in this dream; a low, single-storied & single-roomed stone house, warm with sun on its smooth weather-worn outside, cool and clean on the inside. Hard-packed dirt floors, and windows - all but one - with no glass: windows that were cut into the inches-thick stone and on whose stone-dry sills the sun was hot. In this house, my friend Neil (from tango) & I ran a printing press (I have been reading the diaries of Virginia Woolf, and so the Hogarth Press is much on my mind, among other things; with these latest house dreams have come dreams of wars in which I am killed & wake before my body falls). We worked in silence there: a compatible, content silence as we set the type by hand with tired but happy fingers.

Until, as always, the "seizure" came - this time, the classic mob with torches & pitchforks. Oddly, people I haven't seen, haven't thought about in ages. Years. But before they came, their words came. Words they had spoken about me back then, and in the meantime, and words that they drove ahead of them now. Hateful scrawls materialized on the walls of my home, even etched themselves into the glass of our one glass window, heralding my attackers' ambush.

In the beginning, they came one by one, appearing in this corner of the room, at that window, along this path outside, until there was no avoiding any of them. And finally, along the main road, I saw the mass of the people moving, a sinuous black snake winding down the red-brown sun-glazed road, cutting through the yellow-green fields. Panicked, I ran to Neil, who stood outside the house, who did not know these people nor at first understand their ominous significance. In our silence, which we still kept, I could not explain - only threw myself against his chest, his white shirt blinding in the sun. And the crowd surrounded us - he wrapped one arm around my back, and beat them back with the other until there was nothing left but to run, to abandon our stone house & printing press. We ran to the field behind the house - he ran behind me, and with one hand, pushed on my back, pushing me faster and faster until he himself couldn't keep up, and fell behind. But in our silence, I knew this was what he intended.

Strangely (as it happens in dreams), I understood the University of IL to be only a few hours' run through this field, and I understood that if I could get to campus, or even more specifically, if I could get to the Lieberman North Star sculpture on the engineering quad (the sculpture I went to so often when my own was finally defunct), I would be safe. But it would take hours, even running; it would be dark by then. I had to call...someone - and I had a mobile (which, incidentally, in real life, I had only just got that weekend).

So I made my "911" call, still running even as I dialed his number. I first asked how he was. Fine. I asked if he was still with his father (in the dream, it was Father's Day). No, not anymore. I asked if he could come pick me up and bring me to the sculpture (not asking if he would sit with me at its base, which I needed to feel even safer...). A long silence, during which I slowed, stopped, out of breath. "I don't think that would be a good idea." Without a goodbye, I hung up and simply began running again. At which point I woke up.

And another dream, which I had before that, but only remember a fragment of (but really, the most important bit I think):

I was in what I instinctively knew to be my new kitchen in Irvine. I stood barefoot in the unlit room alone with one box, and was unpacking one by one plates of all different colors - hefty, solid, "real" - plates, and then stacking them one by one in the cupboard above me. Doing this gave me a sense of not only filling my home, but somehow, of filling myself. Not my body, but my self. Stacking these plates, slowly, evenly, one by one - I was happy. This - this - was peace, I knew.