Long time no write, I know. Neglectful as ever of correspondence, too, I know. Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa *mimes self-flagellation*.
What's been shakin'?
All manner of things. Among them the acquisition by yours truly of a pitcher plant, which promptly grew fat – for my house is truly bounteous in ants – and has now grown additional stomachs/limbs/had babies/whatever you call it when it develops more pitchers. It transpires my utterly non-talkative blokey bike riding metalhead mechanic boyfriend is quite plant-mad. It took me a year of seeing him to discover his collection of bonsais. Never judge a book by its camo pants, I guess… *chuckle* So yes, it was at his instigation that the pitcher plant entered my household.
My tiny apartment is still full of moonlight by night, sunlight by day, ants all year round and water when it rains. I don't want to leave here any time soon.
I have no more ghosts. It's something I'm still not quite used to, to walk through the city and not half-expect, and more-than-half-hope to sift a familiar walk from the gait of strangers around every corner. It's good not to carry an incoherent bundle of guilt and nostalgia and loss around. I can't do justice to this newfound lightness. To not catch the gestures of my hands, expressions, phrases tumbling out of my mouth that I borrowed long ago and find them hanging empty, a once-loved old jacket in place of its owner. The former ghost is a distant voice on the other end of a phone line once every blue moon, for a little while we wandered together dusk til dawn talking the legs off iron pots and the ears off dead donkeys, but paths diverge, it seems. Still, we keep in touch. And the city is just the city. The pavement, only a pavement.
The year's tumbling by so fast. It's cold, or as cold as it ever gets here. Sometimes, in the night, a fog descends on my quiet little street and in the silence and the diffused, hazy lamplight it seems like the world is submerged under water. I go out onto the stairs then, to smoke and drink tea and watch small clouds float away from my mouth, shifting and regrouping as the breeze caries them off like flocks of miniscule starlings. This semester tore past, and as always, I'm barely on the ball and my table is heaped with books. As always, I've read too much and exceeded the bounds of all decency and word limits.
I find myself in the midst of a minor vocational crisis – as I draw near the end of my lengthy and meandering undergraduate career, I'm wondering if I could hack honours or not. If I do honours, I'm in it for good – it'll suck me in, and I'll have to stay on. Y'know, neglect and alienate everyone I love, doom myself to specialising, ignore art some more, and spend all my cortical resources on the searingly beautiful but profoundly painful and distressing, fragmentary and contested records of the lives of long-dead mystics, whose insomnias, inedias, apophatic, allegorical and anagogic idioglossias and tendency to see God all over the place are, I am beginning to suspect, potentially contagious, and if not contagious, just harrowing (minus the God bit. As anything more than a figure of speech, at any rate.). Medieval studies, if I stick to it, will eat my soul. Then again, whatever I do, something will. I guess I'd like to at least be happy while the devouring happens. I just don't know if I want to think about this for a living. I don't know how Carolyn Walker Bynum does it. (I also don't know if I could stop)
Pff, we'll see. That's what the break is for. (the break is also for reading Bernard of Clairvaux)
As for now, I've been blessed with an essay question on gender differences in medieval mystical thought and ascetic practice, but the person marking it is an acquaintance I admire deeply and am more than a little cowed by, who specialises (read: lives and breathes it, far as I can ascertain) in roughly the same area that I've been scratching the surface of these past few years(mysticism/asceticism.). Every time I'm working on a paper, I'm beset by an intense fear of being unmasked as a fraud – someone who for all their professions of enthusiasm doesn't know enough, understand enough, devote enough time to the topic. I can never commit enough to memory. I forget dates and authors. I haven't read enough primary material. My secondary material has a hopeless skew. Etc etc etc, if not ad infinitum, then certainly ad nauseam*shudder* How the fuck do other people manage to avoid sinking into self-abnegation…?
I love it I hate it It'll ruin my life it makes everything a beautiful footnote to everything else.
All I've done this past week is study and work and study and freak out and study, and read and write and scrap and rewrite and read, and delete and rewrite and read . I'm beginning to suspect there is a chronic lack of self-belief on my part that will continue to sabotage all of my pursuits until I find some way of excising it. I love what I do, at its best - it illuminates my life, but hell it makes me miserable sometimes.
I haven't made any finished artwork in forever. I don't mind. I'm happy to keep sketching and learning for now – there's no rush.
I'm happy with my work situation, mostly. I've been especially blessed to be working for a drawing class taught by an old friend every Friday – there are some people whom I love watching when they teach.
I'm sorry if I owe anyone correspondence. Anna and Robert, I'm looking at you. I'll be back in the world of the living in about a week's time.
Oh, and the fund raiser I mentioned in my last entry went well. I raised well over 2 grand, and discovered that I look ridiculous bald, and someone got badly-needed funding. Everyone wins… I suspect everyone at work mostly chipped in for the sheer schadenfreude of watching me get my head shaved.
That's all for now folks. Oh, well, it's not, but it's all I'll be writing…