Well, I took the ice storm of 2007 much better than I thought I would. I didn't trip out while driving, I wasn't cold in the house and I didn't have any trouble with the plants, pipes or kid. I am glad I paid the extra bucks to get the back brakes fixed up though. You could feel the difference on the road. And, just as they were lowering my vehicle from the lift, the cold front was blowing in Saturday morning.
The city didn't fare as well. Everything closed down. Highways, stores, schools, work, etc. It was crazy. Tigrette spent some time at my mom's, which let me write. I got 13 pages of poems down and, amazingly, they came as a group. I actually see them as the beginnings of a book. So, of course, I've got to fight myself constantly to ensure I keep writing before I lose that feeling and I'm on to another subject. It was hard enough not getting up for every little noise or to make a cup of coffee or check how full of ice the bird feeder was.
This series idea started with an article about a bullfighting school in Southern Califas, where they practice "tientas", a bloodless match which tests the skill of the bullfighter and the bull. A flash went off and I ended up equating the idea with my relationship with Ya Vez. I had debated writing more about our relationship as a way to continue healing past it. Still, I didn't want to give it all the attention an entire book might give. So, I thought to use Anne Carson's new book Decreation, as inspiration. Her other books have offered as much illumination. She's fabulous. I would love to study with her.
Once I sat down with the idea, I wrote very little about the whole break up. It really did leave a bad taste in my mouth, while at the same time, I was thankful to have gone through it and be past it all. Rather than focus on this old air, I was able to write these pieces which focused on my perspective now, how it's changed and how I could bridge that person I was before this last 5 years with the person I have become.
Strangely, last week's final bye with Cliffy, and this new writing spurt were prompted by this one man who was attending the conference a sister office at work was having. He was strangely matter-of-fact when he came up to me while I was at the registration table the first evening during a reception. He asked where the next day's sessions would be, and some other question before telling me I was pretty. Then he asked me another question regarding the conference. He was a gorgeous man. I wasn't unaffected, you know? But I realized, with all the thoughts growing in me, that I had changed with the last 5 years and I didn't like the parts of me that had grown cautious, reserved, secretive or scared. I missed those pieces within me that made me distinct. I ended up going across the street after the reception cleanup was done, to Ruta Maya, and wrote while a drum circle took place for awareness about Darfur.
The next day he and I actually spoke and I was a lot looser than the day before. I felt the freedom that was due me. I can't be so angry with Ya Vez or Cliffy for their expectations but I can be more clear in what it is that I need. I also can't fight hard enough to remove those commonplace ideas of what's considered "normal" or "acceptable" behavior to define me to the point of suffocation.
I know that, as a woman I could easily ask myself why some small compliment was needed to turn me around. I should be able to lift myself up. But, I keep thinking about that night I left Osento, the evening before I returned home from San Francisco a couple of summers ago. I had spent 5 or 6 hours in Osento's getting a massage, loving the dry sauna, reading, meditating, etc. I had spent almost two weeks recommitting myself to my writing, its importance. When I walked out to catch the last bus back to USF, this homeless woman looked up at me and, just as she was about to ask for money, she told me I was beautiful. I thought this was bad ass - yes, you know the transformation you are working on but it's wonderful when someone else catches a glimpse of it too. This man reminded me of the changes I had accomplished but also reminded me that I had pushed some things aside which shouldn't have been pushed aside.