Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Public Face

In the foreward to From the Book to the Book, Edmond Jabes wrote:

To take the wrong door means indeed to go against the order that presided over the plan of the house, over the layout of the rooms, over the beauty and rationality of the whole. But what discoveries are made possible for the visitor! The new path permits him to see what no other than himself could have perceived from that angle. All the more so because I am not sure that one can enter a written work without having forced one's own way in first.

Yesterday I attended a discussion that was hosted by the Nonsite Collective and facilitated by Bhanu Kapil on architecture and a poetics of disablement. When I arrived, the door was locked. I was late and I was going to have to buzz my way in. I almost walked away. Then, by some sweet watchfulness, someone saw my shadow pass the milky window and came to let me in. Thru all manner of hesitation, I forced my way in the door that I have been banging up against in my mind for years; I showed up as a writer.

Soon, I began talking about my grandmother. I was remembering her house. I was telling tales of the legendary Phaedra. I went public by going private.

I have the journal my grandmother started the day she found my father's dead body on a mattress in the house she owned. She had wanted to be a writer. And so I think it only appropriate that I begin this blog today.

I think my grandmother must have been waiting for me to get to have that experience yesterday. And, despite so many layers of misunderstanding between us, I believe she must have felt us talking about her. I think that her body had been lying there in a nursing home while the rest of her went about calibrating the variables, trying to choose the "right" time to die. She died today at 2:30 in the afternoon in Dallas while I lay in my bed in Oakland reading a draft proposal for the Nonsite Collective. It happened while I was feeling sure (even for a moment) that I am where I am meant to be.

And so I send your soul, Ms. Fay Puckett, into what must be met with the assurance that I have loved you, and that through that love I have learned to love myself and that through that love I will love the world. Today is the last day of summer - no further autumn for you. I hope that you feel free, whatever that can look like. I hope you feel bold, and loved, and shiny. I cannot imagine what every new day will be like without your body in it. But I will never be without you. I am wearing your onyx on my index finger, as you always did, as you instructed me to. I will use it to point. And, like you, I am after the beautiful.