Archive | Feminist Matters

Dreams of a Metaphysical Detective

As I write this my head hurts, my stomach hurts, my heart hurts. This is because my period is due to arrive this morning like the fusillade of bricks that is menstruation when you are 48 years old.

Rest assured that as rough as PMS can be when you’re 18–and I remember it as a wicked pissah–it’s a billion times worse 30 years later, as if your menstruating self refuses to go out without a bang. This is something women don’t really talk about because there’s so much shame around menopause and getting older in general.

Anyway, the pain is so bad that I can’t work on my book today. But rarely does PMS fabricate anything wholecloth and so the truth is I’ve been feeling stuck for such a long time that part of me thinks I should scrap the entire book endeavor and find a line of work that, you know, actually pays. The problem: What exactly would that be for a woman rounding the corner to 50 who’s only word-played for a living? Not to mention that, even in dark stretches like this one, I remain convinced there’s a reason besides solipsism to share my story.

Also the universe keeps trying to redirect my hazy, lazy self.

Continue Reading →

I’m Not Easy, I’m Green

Magic hour in green.

I cannot pretend returning to NYC after my upstate tenure has been easy. It’s not because of the weather, which, for the most part, has been ridiculously lovely–the sort of halcyon temperatures we New Yorkers associate with mid-September. With September 11, not to put too fine a point on it.

Certainly the existential dread connected to the events of that day is not helping. Like so many long-time New Yorkers, my personal relationship to September 11 only deepens the horror of how it irrevocably changed this city and country forever. Every year, just as the weather gets gloriously crisp and clear, sadness creeps in before I remember why.

But I think this dread is about something more.
It took a good four days of being in the country for me to lose the bad bruja vibes that had been short-circuiting my car and relationships all summer. (Both Daisy and Grace registered the bad vibes, the former landing in the vet hospital.) Only on the fifth day did Columbia County’s big, big green smooth me out.

Green, not coincidentally, being the color of my grandmother’s heart.

I’ve been thinking about Alice May a lot lately. My mother’s mother, her birthday was last month. She crowns my book–the whole last section is about her, about how the regret she expressed in her last days catapulted me into my true life.

Green was Alice’s absolute favorite color. She said that it was the color of life and love. Only when I began taking my work as an intuitive seriously did I learn that green was considered the color of the fourth chakra–the heart chakra.

As was so often the case, my grandmother’s leonine instincts were spot-on. It was she who, in the 1950s, determined that her sons were not dumb but dyslexic, a disorder that was far less recognized than it is today. It was she who understood that I had to get the hell out of dodge if I were to live the life I was meant to live. The life she’d once wanted for herself.

So I left home upon high school graduation, and with the exception of a few months after my first year of college, never spent another night under my parent’s roof. Never felt like I was anyone’s child again.

But then again, I’ve never felt safe. Never have, possibly never will. Continue Reading →

She Made Our Mind: Toni Morrison, 1931-2019

I heard the news that our forever Nobel Laureate died today and stopped what I was doing and just cried. Not because I knew Toni Morrison or even loved her the way I have loved some authors in my life–as if they were my godparents, as if they were my hand-holding guides. But because she was our literary leader. Our temporal foremother.

Through her voice coursed reason and righteousness and great great rage and always a syncopated stylish rhythm. Also joy and the bluest birds. She was the most American writer the 20th century ever birthed: Starting with the ancients (all of them, not just the blue-eyed devils), she wrangled with every bard and bastard in her deep sea of a gaze (her dap see). Then she scanned our whole desperate diaspora and showed us how we could tell, who we could tell. Who we could tell on. This she did with the grave and greatly earned presumption that US history was hers for the raking.

Today as I weep the tears someone else may have wept when Kennedy was shot, I think of Jazz. Maybe some view it as her lesser work, if she had one. But it’s the one that most terribly and terrifically invades my innards. In it she wrote:

Pain. I seem to have an affection, a kind of sweet tooth for it. Bolts of lightning, little rivulets of thunder. And I the eye of the storm. What’s the world for you if you can’t make it up the way you want it?…. Don’t ever think I fell for you, or fell over you. I didn’t fall in love, I rose in it. I saw you and made up my mind. My mind.

Her mind is the one we still need in this desperate moment in America. But she has earned her rest so let her mind become all of ours. The timing of a great public figure’s death is never a coincidence—usually, it’s when we most need their light to shine through all of us. Throughout her career, Chloe Ardelia Wofford compelled us with lightning-and-thundering to reckon with the truest legacy of America—its rusty rusty bloodshed, its tarnished tarnished hope. More than that, she reminded us we always have a choice even if we don’t dig slim pickings. So let’s not just mourn her. Let’s make Her Mind.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy