Wednesday, March 21, 2007

anthropology of an american girl

andrew once asked me, 'why don't you write a book?' at the time i told him it was because i enjoy writing poetry and songs more, and that i wasn't really interested. but i've been thinking about the idea, toying with it, imagining what my story line would be. and today i realized something.

the reason i don't want to write a book is not that i don't think i can or that i prefer writing in other ways. the reason is that the book i would write has already been written.

when elise first gave me anthopology of an american girl, i was intrigued, but not enough to read it right away. i didn't get around to it until about 6 months later, and when i finally opened it i kicked myself for waiting so long.

this book, this story, this painting of language- this book tells the story of my life; the way i've lived it, what is to come, what will never happen. the language alone was enough to make me fall in love with it, but the fact that i related to her, cling to her so closely makes it my absolute favorite book. i've never been able to say i had one before.

so i wanted to share with you some pieces- things that have stood out to me when reading the book after a big upheaval or simply a beautiful, memory-provoking sentence. the part of me that struggles for words is here, in this book, printed on paper and written better than i ever could.



sometimes a year is lavish and profuse, riotous as a gale. sometimes it goes breath by breath by breath, in tiny tiny sighs. minutes can be critical, decades without meaning or contour...

nothing is an easy thing to feel but a difficult thing to express.

boys will be boys, that's what people say. no one ever mentions how girls have to be something other than themselves altogether.

it's strange to realize you have sustained yourself on a memory of a person that has become untrue.

she believed in me as a woman separate from herself. she took pride in our friendship, which mad me feel worthy. i loved her with gratitude, though she did not ever expect or request thankfulness.

it's hard at any age to come to terms with the difference between the label you give yourself and the one others give you.

sometimes it's easier to give people the answer they expect than to explain what you really think or feel.

there was a lesson in that, in remembering to seek meaning where you least expect it.

then i nodded for no reason, the way people do, when they pull their lips slightly into their mouths and set aside the magnitude of their own very exceptional feelings.

it's hard to say what happened in those moments except to say that we stepped out equally, we confessed equally, we were rendered equally weak, and as weakened equals we met, victoriously, at some median of daring and possibility.

it was odd that we'd never spoken, but we understood each other. sometimes you work hard to understand someone, sometimes you don't work hard at all.

it was nice that he looked for me there, no one had ever looked for me there.

i didn't know how to resolve the difference between wanting something you cannot have and having something you cannon want, and i resented that it was my time to learn it.

love as a word is weedy and imprecise unless you feel it, and then it is the only possible word.

i didn't answer. i just pressed my palms into my eyes. maybe if i pressed hard i could erase myself.

i wondered was i still me when i did not feel like me? was i still the girl my mother bore, the girl jack loved?

i hoped it was still june. i believed that it was. in june, all of summer remains.

i knew i was seeing not what he chose to show, but what he chose not to conceal, which was different.

sometimes your constitution is strong despite yourself.

women talk as a way of addressing the baffling sea at their feet. they talk to name, and in naming, make real. they talk to reclaim the selfhood they've lost.

nothing is more sacred than youth or more hopeful than turning yourself over to one person and saying, i have this time, it is not a long time, but it is my best time and my best gift, and i give it to you. when i revisit my youth, i revisit you.

if my relationship with her were any less difficult- if she did not challenge me, did not test me, if she accepted me too easily, at face value, then she would not be a friend, but an acquaintance. if i could not be fully honest with her, i would be no more than a partial self, a concealed self, and my unrevealed remainder- my fears, my aspirations- would rise up in new ways to subvert me.

it was nice, him knowing i needed a little more.

1 comment:

bretterson said...

ya but id look really awkward carrying around anthology of an american gurl and not so awkward with your book. so write your book. because i dont do awkward. i mean, everyone already thinks im gay anyways.