Not any easier with a few days.
I keep thinking of more books, and when we watched Wings of Desire, my litmus test film for whether you will become friend or foe.
Only he’d already seen it. And humored me by seeing it again with me. And knew why I loved it without words.
Squeeze of hand.
I’ve neglected to say something important. Sometimes it takes another artist to wake up the first one. And vice versa. Farrell woke me up after motherhood wiped me out and made my self go dormant.
Mothers aren’t supposed to say that. I’ll rephrase.
I knew who I was and then my body played host to two wonderful beings and then my body fed those two wonderful beings and then my body forgot that it had a mind and a spirit and somethings it wanted to live for.
My husband and I became parents. Parents get up and go to work outside the home , inside the home, but they don’t do art because parenting is about sacrifice—or so we are told in our society. Have child. Will give up dreams. End of story.
And when parents surround themselves with other parents there’s this complicit khaki dockers acknowledgment. It’s okay that we suck the 9 to 5 teat even as someone is sucking ours. It’s not about living anymore , it’s about sucking. The end. Must have mediocre pay check.
That’s why the Farrells of the world are important. He didn’t settle. He didn’t play the game. Always himself, didn’t see the need for the game. The game often looked idiotic to him. I needed him to point that out.
He was the only one in a long time to ask, ‘so what are you working on?’ So what was I working on. It was the beginning of my new novel. It was my notes for the short story collection. It was me waking the fuck up and cutting off the sacrifice and beginning to remember how to breathe.
And I needed to learn that because my children don’t need a mother who sacrifices for them; they need a mother who shows them how to push forward and be their own people.
Thanks for waking me up.
It’s important to have people who remind you that you need to be in your world as well as that other world we all punch card.
I like too that he always invited me to bear dance even though I felt funny about going —both as someone who hates crowds and as a non-Maidu. It seemed intrusive, exploitative. I didn’t want to be a spectator, an outsider looking in, the white person stealing a photograph.
I was content to be the midnight conversation instead. The conversation and the art that was both indigenous and timeless and of no identity at all–and of very specific identity. I loved how in love with language he was. His language. I try , even now, without capability of imagining what it must be like to have a language in your head which so few can speak.
I remember feeling like a five year old in Japan because my Japanese was somewhere between 4 year old and 6. My vocabulary and options limited. A rare word here and there I knew from calligraphy or horror movie but not enough language to be me.
In Japanese I couldn’t be a writer. I could only be a child. My personality limited by my vocabulary. My personality thrown off by my insecurities at my sounds and my memory. English is my only real palette. It’s the only medium I have that is truly mine to speak.
I try to think of that in reverse with Farrell. Who was he in Maidu? He was a chief? He was a medicine man? He was a demi-god? Who was he in English? He was a scholar? He was an activist? He was frustrated and arm swinging and and and—
not always himself. And hadn’t he already taught me that we need ourselves?
Tonight. Marks three weeks since I’ve heard his voice, though his body has not been gone a week. It’s the voice that I am missing so. Both the one I understand readily. And the one that I cannot understand that sounds like music and sorrow and sweet life hereafter.