I AM: crosslegged in car while John drives on the highway. We have just entered the great state of Georgia. A return. When I considered writing a blog post right now "summing" up my tour, summing, something, we were in Anniston, Alabama, so said the newspaper, pissing at a Chevron. Me dressed inappropriately in a tank top and leggings, like a mime or a set person on a college play. Or a goth yogi. Or an underdressed robber. Despite my left shoulder perennially freezing up, so I am in near-constant pain, and being quite exhausted, outside in the parking lot of the Chevron I was hit with a sense of absurd ecstasy and decided, perhaps spurred on by my costume, to execute a series of extremely clumsy pseudo-balletic manuevers. John immediately pronounced me "bananas," a word we keep on saying this whole trip. That and Gina's, which is both preferred ethos and aesthetics: "psychotic."
Everything is crazy. At first in the trip I felt swallowed up by my own insignificance, something has turned a corner and I feel joyous and highly amused by it.
(Pause for 15 minutes when my shoulder freezes in excruciating pain, perhaps from the movement of reaching in the backseat for dried mango slices purchased at the Birmingham Whole Foods, it is still freezing and pinching as I type this. I made John turn off the French pop, because being in terrible pain while happy music is playing is sadistic, or "Tarantinoesque" as he observed).
(Okay much longer pause. I hate when things begin so joyfully and always become so moansome. I am growing weary of myself).
Okay. I'm back. I know there should be an etiquette to such blogging breaks - like I could have just hit "save draft", but sometimes I'm interested in the live document, to write things as they actually, what makes us pause, what's on our landscape, how the body figures into the experience of attempting to write, i.e. communicate something internal to something external.
Of course one cannot document everything. I was obsessed with this idea for a while - that is what Mad Wive was, the fictional notebook, before it became Heroines, the critical memoir - the experience of keeping a diary, the intense desire to reach some sort of bodily and spiritual truth in this process, but the inability to actually document everything - but then in that process what do we self-censor, scratch out - and then when we write everything done, are we in fact not living, or living only to be able to document it? And: What is the BODY like while writing? How does it invade, infect, or in my case literally with typing, stall the ability to document?
The shoulder pain is so bizarre. The orthopedic nurse at the clinic, having Xrayed me to make sure none of my nuts and bolts and wires have somehow strayed towards the left, tells me it's bursitis and strained muscle of the rotary cuff (or rotating? rotating cuff. Makes more sense. Baseball pitch. A sports injury. A writing injury? Not a sex injury). The Swiss doctor who is head of the integrative clinic says that it's a pinched C5 nerve, which my acupuncturist concurs with, recommending John administer daily traction, which we forget, on the road and all, chiropractery being impossible as my backbone is so composed of metal. Maybe I would go to a healer and she would tell me I have trauma on my shoulders. It's possible. Maybe it's all the same thing, just a different narrative. Discourse? A different discourse? Did I forget to close a parenthetical here? Fuck it. I have 18% worth of juice left on my laptop - it's all urgency.
I am very serious for the Atlanta highway, or to be eating pretzels + hummus in the McDonald's parking lot. John has started driving again, while balancing bags of banana chips and peanut butter pretzels in his crotch.
What I wanted to tell you about was yesterday. Something magical happened. A sort of breaking. Or the past few days. I think even though I very much enjoyed meeting people - reading with the incredibly brilliant CAConrad and Maggie Zurawski twice - communing with writers, like grad students in Baton Rouge - I think the purpose of this road trip was to bond with Gina A., who is so inspiring to me, and makes me want to write more brave, more transgressive things, and makes me want to help be an activist in a future where we can create safe spaces for ourselves and others to write psychotic texts (retreats? Sister Spit-like tours? a press?) Yesterday we wandered into a neighborhood (Uptown?) in New Orleans that was something like a ghost town on a Sunday, to a sleepy bar that hosted a reading series, we were told, we thought. Us and about 7 wonderful people there to see us sat through 8 members of the local haiku society who sat together in a row in the backpatio area and proceeded to take the mike and read a haiku, then many repeated it twice, as was the ritual, with haikus. They each did 10? Or more? They read for probably an hour. One line I remember: It's Miller Time. We all sat there in back, kind of dying inside. I mean, it was difficult even channeling the selective inattention when witnessing a purposefully long avant-garde performance, which in many ways it was. Turns out too we were slated as the first performers in the open mike. We took our time. For in turn I got up, and proceeded to read a particularly obscene Maggie section and a particularly cruel Mommy section from O Fallen Angel. I felt like I was channeling something, in my witchy long black dress. It felt wonderful, actually. Then Gina read, her lush grotesque poems somehow perfect for the gorgeous overgrownness of the outside setting, and she concluded with one of my favorite poems in Darling Beastlettes, the romance between Catherine the Great and her horse. John said: I think they were trying to figure out if you were witches. I responded: I don't think the question is whether we are witches, it's whether we're good witches or bad ones. The answer is of course: the bad ones.
(done enough at 13%)