Friday, August 20, 2010

you are invisible

This is what Gchat blinked at me today - but I found this unexpectedly poignant in light of current major crises.

Oh, fuck, what I don't want this to turn into is a blog about not being able to read or write a thing.

It's not any sort of block I have, it's the crucial issue of space + time, I am beginning an insane semester, and the only words I will read will be required texts and student papers/essays/stories and manuscripts to proof and etc. Feeling very Sylvia at Smith about this, except I am not Sylvia and I am not at Smith, so there's that as well. And realizing I am supposed to work on my rewrite this semester - when?! - and I am supposed to finish Under the Shadow of My Roof, and my ideas for essays. And all of a sudden I panic I think I have no time I will die tomorrow there is so much dying in my life right now and I will never write another word again.

So, basically, yeah, thinking lots of positive thoughts today. And yesterday bedbound, bleeding terribly. The blank page depresses me. I have turned myself to the wall.

All the books I will be returning to the library - my thoughts at digging into Kierkegaard - I didn't even open a page - there is no time. Although I got in the post Bhanu's The Vertical Interrogation of Strangers, and I open it, and it soothes me, so I will read that. The list of questions she asks, #5, "What is the shape of your body?" This is everything I have been thinking of lately, since I got back from the session with the therapist/yogi at the yoga/spine clinic in New York last weekend.
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What is the shape of your body?

Apparently my thoracic and lumbar are completely fused, only my cervical spine unfused, how did I not know how long my fusion was, that is what she tells me as she watches me stand. You need to work on standing she tells me. You need to work on sitting. She crouches and squints at me.

What is the shape of your body?
Apparently it is hunched over, apparently there is a knob at the base of a cerivcal spine, apparently I am tilted over, with a hump on my right rib. Did you not see how you have an hourglass on one side and it's more fat on the other? No I did not.  For how long I've lived in ignorance of my body.

What is the shape of your body?
I have been told I was curvy all my life but this is not what is meant by it. My major curves right thoracic convexity in back right rib cage left lumbar convexity in back left waist. Where I compensate, left thoracic cervical, right sacral.  She slides her hand round my back, tracing the numbness. The curves she draws for me parallel the pain that has resided in my body for years, never relaxing.

It is like someone translated for me the awkwardness, the pain of my body, and now I'm hyperconscious of it. Laying on a bed, can't be straight. Standing, can't get straight. Sitting in a chair. Always uncomfortable, always twisted.

I take my clothes off in front of a mirror. John watches, I ask him to slide his hand along my shoulderblades.  How did we not notice? How one shoulder blade sticks out while the other one is even. How one hip is higher than the other. You are beautiful, beautiful, he tells me. I feel like some sort of monster.

And such a compelling narrative she weaves for me. That people with bodies like mine have trouble with proprioception, our nervous systems are altered. A skewed spatial logic. Explains why I cannot read a map, cannot map my body - which one is concave? which one is convex? I ask John now about twenty times a day - cannot find my way home, cannot walk in a straight line. I am paralyzed by  the new campuses I will be teaching at, Akron, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, I have Google Mapped and consulted and traced my lines and I'm still panicky.

Also a suggestion that trauma caused my scoliosis to advance to 70 degrees within the space of a year, the year when I was 13 and had my first major breakdown. My ribs closing in on my major organs. Compelling. Provocative. I don't know what to think.

Now this higher consciousness and it leaves me feeling paralyzed. I live through my day like it was 20 years ago, I live through the day like it is 20 years from now, I cannot seem to live through the day like it is now.

Today I unpack my suitcase and I find a dented copy of a Black Sparrow collection of Jane Bowles  that John bought me at the used bookstore in Brooklyn from the reading last weekend...Jane with tuberculosis of the knee, who called herself the Kike Crip...I am Katie the Kike Crip...I love the pictures, her bad-ass positioning on the stairs, one elbow leaning back, one leg jutted out....and I wonder if she's overcompensating but of course we're all overcompensating....

My essay c(h)ord, I'm convinced I will not have any time to work on this whole semester, but now I've named it, and it can reside within me, it can shape the way I think, I read, it is like having a fictional friend, I have given this pain and confusion and curiosity and trauma some sort of formal residence...I house it within me. Perhaps this blog is like a fictional friend. I feel I speak too much. I always have felt like I speak too much. I have just finished an interview for The Millions, wonderful questions by Anne Y., and of course I answer overlong and hyperventilate on the page, twice too long, I will have to cut down. But I muse to her that perhaps within me resides a lyric essayist, this is what I've always longed for, to write the most perfect elliptical essay where I don't say too much, I say nothing at all, and all the pages and pages and thousands and thousands of words upon words I write all rough material to be whittled down to the most potent page of writing, my essay, and that will be the work that lives on.