The process of writing this book has been clamorous, boisterous, euphoric, suicidal, and almost the exact length of the gestational period of an elephant. It has grown a little more quiet. the wheels turn with less grease now, with less head pounding against my pitifully pet-dirty window pane that looks down on poison-man and smoking-man who only ever see me in my down-trodden pyjamas and ragged sweaters. They see me make strange gesticulations to the air and make peculiar mad poses as I forget I’m not alone in the world or in my window and pretend to go into my forms positions. I am as exotic as a plucked pheasant.
Still, I am making something better than myself. This must be worth something. I keep thinking of hands. I see hands everywhere I go. The same as I see noses and teeth. The same as I look at the quality of eyes in the light and see what tries to hide from the blind intrusion to the pupil, shrinking, revealing, begging to be let down easy. I keep seeing hands saying more than mouths, more than eyes, more than voices. A silent opera of hands unfolds all around me, bleeding baritone velvet and gold frogging.
Hands whose natural tension has been relieved at the wrist with razor precision. Hands that touch truth and shiver in the cold with loneliness.
In the thick of chapter 12, 3rd draft revision, I am carefully forcing Cricket to unfold her prejudice and arrogance. I am trying to find that sublime balance between enough evolution and maintaining that reservation we all have to learn at our own pace. The book takes place over about a month and half period of time, a life can change irrevocably in that time but it may not right itself as easily as summer melted butter.
Tonight I am full of time. A flooding of memory both sweet and uncomfortable. What I remember most fondly, that I can share, is this funny little antique shop from which I extracted such treasures as unworn nylon stockings from the 1940’s and 50’s, old screen magazines from the 50’s and 60’s, and a wonderful peach and white gingham waitress dress from the 60’s or 70’s with a silly Peter pan collar, small pockets, cut with an A-line skirt. I loved that thing. Loved it’s Laverne charm better than I could ever love a hair locket, something else I found in this shop but didn’t buy. I wanted light. Like I always do. I was hungry for trust, for something solid, for promises in cotton, for the mutual recognition of art, of design, of brotherhood. I wanted a fireside story of romance to end with old ladies and old men, shriveled with time, but happy. I didn’t want Romeo and Juliet. I didn’t want Ophelia or Sylvia Plath. I wanted something real, but something full of light. That dress… that dress was full of fucking light and made me laugh every time I put it on.
I’ve never wanted anything different. I’m feeling the years and the hours and the decades and the seconds in a complete happy jumble of affectionate expressions of time. Everything I write reflects my desire. My view. My search for the same light. The same dress. The same corner full of thread and lace, hammers and nails, tea and bourbon.
Arteries still pump themselves down the same limbs and all these years later the razor isn’t much farther than it was before from perfection, from resolution, from expression. The spread of joy is unequivocal. It infects where it bleeds.
I was always so separate feeling, outside looking in. I know now that this was merely how I perceived myself and it lacks corroboration from those around me in the past. I was touching cold hands to warm light and standing fast to my side of the window because I didn’t know how to come in. Not even with twenty hands all unlatching the windows to pull me through; I held to my side because I didn’t know how to shut the window behind me.
The past climbs through now. It speaks in the bright patois of youth, it kisses the dark away and covers pin cratored fingers with the finest beeswax, sops the blood from tight stitches and says to hell with it all! The pale ghost of fear doesn’t stand a chance against this light of memory.
It colors my work. It colors the chapters so that each closes with almost the same broken cry I used to let out in my sleep in the dark house full of olive sized spiders and weeping naked Juliettes. Everything then is useful to me now, tonight. The feel of yards of cartridge pleated velveteen to the limit of my soul, the candlelight that hid lovers I disapproved of, disastrous assignations, while I took candle to the stars and watched everyone else more happy than myself fall apart in agony.
Cricket will find her way.