December 17, 2010

Breaking narratives open, extracting cadence

In 2006 and much of 2007, I edited and ushered Bhanu Kapil's book Humanimal (Kelsey Street Press) book into the world. The book uses the true materials or documents regarding wolf-girls who were "corrected"--both physically and mentally by colonial missionaries in India. Technically, BK's book has nothing to do with disability. For me, it opened my body to my own disability in such a way as to align it with what I most want to discover in my own writing. Her ideas about the human, the animal, the body, the monster, healing and brokenness continue to draw more energy into my my work as a disabled poet--as if she were doing bodywork on me from afar.. Bhanu's images and sentences partially lead me to start Write To Connect.


Here is Bhanu in a recent post on her blog:



Performance notes:  Cadence allows the writer to tolerate the narrative she has written.  December is for healing.  January is for burning up.

I have one reader, right now, in the Cote D'Ivoire, four readers in Belgium, and sixty-two in the U.S.  Dear readers, are you drinking coffee on the balcony, your laptop balanced on your knees?  Are you sorting yourself out before the day begins?  It is very early here, and I woke up with this sentence already intact: "Cadence allows the writer to discharge a narrative from her nerves."  Not narrative.  What narrative contains.  The connections between the parts of the narrative, which is where the memory is held. Not memory.  What the body released when it had one.  A hormone.  A protein.  A rush.  So that the endocrine system and the nervous system are not contained or processed by the body separately.

Notes on Revision: A fixed or rigid gesture, or capacity for gesture, changes only when you change at the site, deep in the tendon, where the golgi bodies are.  You can never elongate a gesture manually, casually.  "Like this."  It will always revert.  First, you have to wind the arm into the socket of the shoulder and thus the chest.  All the way down to the opposing hip.  There you press it even deeper in, and vibrate your body so that it vibrates too.  Is this cadence?  (This "arm.")  "Please resist me now."  And, in one contemporary method, you press down, against the other person's arm, counting aloud in a soft voice, for eight.  Virginia Woolf's "eight."  The eight titles, future names for essays and books, that she wrote on the wall above her desk, in pencil, though in photographs, her desk faces an open French Door.  A field and then a river.  She stood up and walked into that river with stones in her pockets.  Did she write on the air?

The MFA workshop offers a proprioceptive feedback, ideally.  As above.  It does not tear the body open and re-arrange its tissue with its hands.  Perhaps it does.  Text as monster, on the slab.  Lab work.  Autopsy.  Sometimes not waiting until the text is dead.  Or for gloves.  I want workshops to be less painful for my students, which doesn't sound right.  To clarify, I don't want to experiment on THEM.