les rites de passage

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

a name on a screen, stared at with a confused elation. a name once spoken more frequently than my own, now locked away. like a word whose meaning i've forgotten. a word once used more than any other. my favorite word. like one discovered in a brilliant piece of writing and lovingly incorporated into my vocabulary, interjected at any possible opening. a word whose meaning i thought i knew, and so used confidently. and then it was as if i was corrected, shown that the word was not what i had so fervently believed it to be. and suddenly this word lost its weight, appeared strange and hollow and other. the word's true meaning revealed in some criticism, one that left me humiliated by my own ignorance. a word i vowed to never use again. and for years i continued speaking, never using this word to emphasize what i had believed it to mean or what i had discovered it had actually meant. and there were other words in its place, but never any that described so accurately, that felt so right rolling over my tongue and sliding across my lips. and slowly the memory of the word, with its duality-- specific to my heart and mind, and its confusion faded from my pallet. and now appearing before me, a blank ardor fills me.

conversation with my father.

Leonard Woolf: If I didn't know you better I'd call this ingratitude.
Virginia Woolf: I am ungrateful? You call ME ungrateful? My life has been stolen from me. I'm living in a town I have no wish to live in... I'm living a life I have no wish to live... How did this happen?

I'm dying in this town.
Leonard Woolf: If you were thinking clearly, Virginia, you would recall it was London that brought you low.
Virginia Woolf: If I were thinking clearly? If I were thinking clearly?
Leonard Woolf: We brought you to Richmond to give you peace.
Virginia Woolf: If I were thinking clearly, Leonard, I would tell you that I wrestle alone in the dark, in the deep dark, and that only I can know. Only I can understand my condition. You live with the threat, you tell me you live with the threat of my extinction. Leonard, I live with it too.

This is my right; it is the right of every human being. I choose not the suffocating anesthetic of the suburbs, but the violent jolt of the Capital, that is my choice. The meanest patient, yes, even the very lowest is allowed some say in the matter of her own prescription. Thereby she defines her humanity. I wish, for your sake, Leonard, I could be happy in this quietness.

But if it is a choice between Richmond and death, I choose death.

(michael cunningham)

Sunday, February 22, 2009


pulled in seventeen directions.