today’s journal entry~~~
It was half-past noon. I got in the car with Charlie with nowhere to go. No destination in mind. Just drove. Down Fillmore, wove towards Haight. Once I got to Buena Vista Park, I stopped, parked. I walked up those steps I haven’t since college and something came back to me walking from the sun into those trees. The ‘Dog Run’ with its dug holes and paw prints. The sandy dirt covering my naked feet in my strappy sandals. Charlie exploring freely. A warm breeze. That dark cypress green, unlike any green I’ve ever seen under any other sky of any other city. People sitting. Small groups. Twos and threes. Some walk alone. I eye the colors of the Victorian houses beyond the trees. Spot my dream apartment building. Black trim. Lofty ceilings. Monumentous of sorts. 555 Buena Vista West. My whole body, happy. I’m here, I’m here, I’m here. Like I never left. But I did. And I’m back, not the same, what’s different? Nothing in the name. It’s the essence, no, that’s also the same. The things around it and in it. The side of the spiral it’s on. Something like that. Something like a woman now, as I loop this same shady labyrinth. But turning up and down paths I never had back in college. Too stoned, scared, I’d stick to the same lower route. I’d sprint straight through, but now I meander more slowly. This time I discovered the lawn at the top. Sunbathers. Another chihuahua. A man eating a burrito. // Back to my car, I drove to Twin Peaks. It had also been a while. Since college, for sure. Oncoming traffic: Fifteen skaters or so bombed past. I breaked and gave them space. At the top, three friends—two girls and a dude—pass around a Swisher, enjoying the view. This Sunday afternoon everything felt as it should, as if everything in the universe still maintains it perfect/chaotic order, as if this isn’t the middle of a pandemic. As if San Francisco never changed at all. And neither had I. But we have, we have. It is. But the bones, the essence, the roots, it’s still the same. // On that drive to nowhere which became the drive to Buena Vista, Twin Peaks, and back, Miranda July was being interviewed on City Arts and Lectures—88.5, KQED— about her new book, a reflection on her past work. The archive of her life. It was only the beginning I caught. Recorded on 4/20/20. Recorded remotely, not ‘IRL’ as it was meant to be. They mentioned the irony, how it was rather appropriate to conduct the interview over video chat, drawing on the recurring theme of July’s work: the way we use technology to connect. ‘The struggle,’ she replied. It is a struggle. We crave each other, but we also crave the space and the noise and the information and the screens, but what do we crave most? It must be the We. But anyway, she was saying, about the pandemic, this reality we’re in, how will it end? In death, in transformation? Words will fail us, but she’ll try to use them because that’s her job. But to try to describe this reality while we’re in it, she said, is like trying to describe falling mid-air. A foolish endeavor. She’d try anyway. Amazed by ability to adapt. At first, she was overwhelmed by the fact that her daughter would be out of school for two weeks, and now, she’s experiencing some sort of Stockholm Syndrome. The interviewer, too. She, in Oakland, but I’m forgetting her name, also feels a strange resistance reaching the other end. “A friend asked me to go for a socially distant walk, and I just froze, like, I’m not ready for that. To spend time with anyone but my boyfriend…?” Me neither. I’m not ready to see anyone. I’m not ready to write about what any of this is like. A week without that small screen. I’m not ready to say much of anything. This morning in qigong practice over Zoom Sally Chang said this year is all about ‘small strength.’ A little bit of the lot of energy. Like a bud about to break. It’s the Year of the Rat. The smallest animal, the first of a new cycle. So now’s a good time to shed, to plant seeds for the coming twelve. // Back to Miranda. Her voice. So distinctly hers. And calming over the radio. What’s a voice but a memory?
A story about my maternal line ~~~ This is my great grandmother Martha Gayer. My mother’s mother’s mother. She died in 2008 at the age of 99, but I didn’t know she was alive at the time or when she died. I was never introduced to her. She lived alone in a psych ward in Iowa, estranged from most of the family. My grandmother hasn’t said much about her or anything to me. All I was told is that she was mad. /// Martha’s mother, Alvina Tanck, migrated alone from Dägeling to Iowa in 1907 in her 20s. Alvina was born from the rape of her mother—the rapist: her mother’s brother-in-law, one of my grandfathers— and deemed ‘illegitimate’ from birth. The farm in Iowa was her fresh start. She had nine children, including Martha. /// I wish I met her. But I can kinda see her smirk on my face.
How could a self be anything but self-referential? Aren’t all regurgitated references still filtered and selected through self-perspective/history/bias?
You don’t understand music: you hear it. So hear me with your whole body. When you come to read me you will ask why I don’t keep to painting and my exhibitions, since I write so rough and disorderly. It’s because now I feel the need for words—and what I’m writing is new to me because until now my true word has never been touched. The word is my fourth dimension… My unbalanced words are the wealth of my silence. I write in acrobatics and pirouettes in the air—I write because I so deeply want to speak. Though writing only gives me the full measure of silence. And if I say ‘I’ it’s because I dare not say ‘you,’ or ‘we’ or ‘one.’ I’m forced to the humility of personalizing myself belittling myself but I am the are-you… I am before, I am almost, I am never. And all of this I won when I stopped loving you… And every thing that occurs to me I note to pin it down. For I want to feel in my hands the quivering and lively nerve of the now and may that nerve resist me like a restless vein. And may it rebel, that nerve of life, and may it contort and throb. And may sapphires, amethysts and emeralds spill into the dark eroticism of abundant life: because in my darkness quakes at last the great topaz, word that has its own light…
Am I one of the weak? a weak woman possessed by incessant and mad rhythm? if I were solid and strong would I even have heard the rhythm? I find no answer: I am.”
How can we talk about equality in healthcare without equality in society?
Notebook entry on October 2, 2018
9:10 am, waiting room. People rushing, apologizing for minutes. The parking lot was full. “I’d like to make an appointment.” “How about next month?” Holding time to cram us in. This mole is new and dark in the middle of my chest. From a pale pore to an odd shape. An island, collecting the sun of my life. Forming near my heart. Doctor, please see me.