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Amber Paulen

Blood and Guts

As written in The Body’s Long Madness, Part 4, Pages 220 to 222:

Valerie turns the pages of Simone de Beauvoir. She is lying on her stomach in that strange and empty room which is separated by an incomplete white wall. As she turns the pages, she listens to what this wise woman has to say. There is the thrilling experience of this woman sitting right here, besides her; as if it is Simone dictating through the funnel that is Valerie’s mind. Simone is telling her secrets that lay behind graven words; for the word on the paper, in the sentence, the paragraph, the greater narrative, is such a teeny-tiny bit of the meaning that words do take. That words are only the symbol set down to paper: like the great painter sweeping a well-deliberated stroke, layer upon layer, emotion upon emotion, thought stacked atop thought. Each word is a misbehaving lyre that we, who have been blessed by the boon of comprehension, trickle down ancient knowledge through. Laudable, laughable knowledge able to bring one to the knees in tears or joyful praise: Life! Life! Life!

The craft of writing, of setting words to paper, swells the novices’ breast. A mystery swells, a maelstrom, of great knowledge brought back to the original state, liquescence and luminescence; strong shoots and sparks fire cold dynamite through the open space of the illusioned mind. The allowance of words let be: the fountain, the rivulet, the river, the ocean, the sea. Simone is speaking to the earnest wide-eared novice within Valerie; the one that knows what she must do and knows she must wait to do it.

Simone passes down her trials, the brazen wielding of the pen. It is the meeting of kindred spirits on sacred ground.

There is a ‘normal’ sentiment that Simone de Beauvoir still stands against. Her hard writing and critical analyzations, that crystal-clear eye, which refracts her perceptions, hence the world. The unfeminine, the feminine, should I take it to feminist, whatever these coined-terms have meant, have come to mean and will take on? No. What Simone is is a woman who has stepped away from the swell and flood of female emotion so that she may easier grab it by the neck. Strangle it. Let the blood drip. She has seen her stark composition. But she does not stare at it. Simone examines those emotions, experiments with them, picks and prods at them, plays with them, fumbles and jumbles and mumbles through them.

Simone is a woman writer who has overcome the traditional tendency for dalliance, as has Doris Lessing. As Henry Miller once wrote, it is a joy to come across a writer who is a poet, who also thinks. As I now write: it is a joy to come across a woman writer that thinks as well as feels, critically feels, abundantly feels, but not in abandonment. A woman that is capable of wielding the pen like the sword, if the circumstances are called for, without fear; stepping up to the literary ranks of men, but round over their tough edges, as is natural for a female.

When it comes down to it, I demand that writers write, gender aside. The problem with women writers is that they don’t press themselves hard enough, begging protection from that hard and sharpened crystal that can be the mind. There is the draw of the mirror (males included,) where they watch their face of pleasure, where they observe their face of pain. It is the mere lingering on surface-places, shallow emotions and feelings, that when let go into the atmosphere of time and space, dissipate to become the vapor that emotions have always inviolably been. Women love their adornments, emotions are only one of them.

What Valerie doesn’t get, as she puts the book down for a moment, slipping into that open and empty space where Simone’s own thoughts mingle with her own, is why young girls are not educated with such an autobiography. They get make-up and other adolescent rights of passage, but unless one is persistent, this whole world of women thinkers and abundant life-livers is sifted down among the rubble and buried by the rabble. Unless one is persistent, one may only find women writers who only feel, shameful, for that young-woman also demands she make a mark, to live life explosively, like a man, but rounded over as is natural to a female.

The inconsistencies are held within ourselves. Fear of our own potentials: that the mind will knock-out the feminine or that the feminine will strike-down the mind. The fullest actualization is the full propagation of both. The goal: a woman confident in her sex that kicks literary ass. The way: moderation in everything.

It is Simone de Beauvoir and she is speaking! She rounds the corners of Montparnasse heading to Le Dôme, La Rotonde, or La Coupole for a coffee with her odd existentialist partner, Jean Paul Sartre, whistling or humming her own existentialist tune. These streets are as fecund as streets should be! These footsteps and these minds just bulging with creations! Look, there passes Henry Miller arm-in-arm with Anaïs Nin, watch, there walks Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, there sits Andre Breton. What gold! What riches! What minds! What creations! If only I could sit one night in one sidewalk cafe of Paris in the 1930’s, one night to trade for all those past American nights spent in dull concrete among white-washed walls. One night, where fecund minds run havoc and ideas spew like spit and bile upon sidewalks and talk lifts its heraldic call to the open and empty air. One night! Paris!

To be a writer? To create, this was an adventure scarcely to be embarked upon without a conviction of absolute self-mastery, absolute control over ends and means. So Simone wisely says, leaning over the coffee-ringed table that Valerie and her have come to share. Absolute self-mastery! I’ve got it! Valerie resounds within her cavernous mind. Absolute control over ends and means! Now Simone is taking Valerie’s words straight out of her mouth, like regurgitated silken Chinese scarves at a circus. I’ve never demanded less! Valerie observes from the peaks that are the landscape of her life-so-far: everything that I have ever done is leading to this. I have a twitch in my mind and a twitch in my hand. All of it is leading to this! All I need is just one chance, one chance to spread my churning guts atop the sidewalk, one chance so that I may fail, one chance so that I may scoop up all those blood and guts and try helplessly again. One chance.

She was born a writer. She tastes it, like spit and bile, like blood and guts, like pain and hardships, like suffering. She tastes it, the most glorious flight into the most illustrious wide-open empty space. She tastes it, her own life-illusion and it’s the best thing she’s got.

Bracciano Italy
March 2008

Help! Help! Help! my voice is getting hoarse!

and Thanks to Six Sentences for posting my little piece.


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