Kind Readers, thank you for bearing with us while we took the time to adjust some personal bearings and get a whiff of Spring, which seems to be right around the corner. We have been doing quite a bit of writing over the past year and are sometimes both speechless and gratified at the comments and encouragement.
Most recently, we were approached by Sally Brown Deskins, who is the force behind the performance art/literary celebration, known as Lit Undressed. It is a performance combining nude performance with fiction reading with an emphasis on literature beyond the naked.
Here is a quote from the ‘info’ page Lit Undressed has on Facebook, “But, of course, beyond all that, there’s the simple fact of the nudity (live!), which, in our neo-puritan culture, we tend to relegate to the dark halls of the peep show. To be naked in a public space is to collide with our sense of the private space, and it’s that marriage of the public and the private that so often gets folks’ panties in a bunch. To unclothe, to allow your body to be read—scars and all—may be the most primitive and powerful expression of all.”
The first performance, to a sold-out house, was held in September. My work will be featured in the March 31, 2011, performance at the RNG Gallery in Omaha, NE. Proceeds will be donated to VIDA: Women In The Literary Arts. As a longtime feminist, I am very proud to be a part of the performance and am very flattered that Ms. Deskins requested a piece of my work.
It is an excerpt from a section of the novel your Humble Narrator is writing, called Egypt Cemetery. We also thank LU for allowing us to use the piece on the blog before it is performed. This is my contribution:
I dream of two mothers, lingering in memory, both the same woman.
First, in conscious mind, sick mother who once held family together with the imperfect paste of love, crying, “Help! Help! Help!” for hours every night.
White, shivering and naked on her deathbed when I walked into the room, we should not have to see things like this. White, naked, skinny arms and legs splay from torso fattened by denial of caretakers who equated eating to recovery.
Like a baby bird, fat in the middle, spindly wings, scared hoot owl eyes wide, looking astonished at the world they have forgotten.
Big Moose Lake, black and white photos from the 1940s – toned, tanned, inebriated and athletic – firm breasts under white t-shirt tucked into khakis, sleeves rolled up taut brown elegant arms, grasping and oar with long, strong fingers. Natural beauty and victim of the Great Depression, she sits in the passenger seat of the Chrysler Newport, chili dog, beer, cigarettes and lighter in lap, telling me, age eleven, how to steer, brake, take the corners as porcupine, bobcat, coy-dog, badger, timber-wolf and chipmunk watching stars, pinecones, 1969 gravel shoot meteorite showers from rear wheels.
“Be a ringmaster at a circus, “ she told me, “you would look good in that tall hat,” and always suggesting other odd career choices – television weatherman or rock and roll drummer – never the traditional picks, like doctor, lawyer or moneyman.
Those were my two mothers.