womanness as                      

womanness as    experiment in open research

v3 9:07am, 05-14-2021

diary as altar site

v5 8:18pm, 02-02-2022: (too much death lately. And what of the symbiosis between death and womanness? a revelation coursing madly through my body of late.) I want to be able to talk about the female body without the dead weight of gender. I want to be able to talk about the wild landscape of woman without the politicizing of feminism. I want--

01. Within: multiple, overlapping, infinite, harmonious universes.

One Writer’s Beginnings: “The events in our lives happen in a sequence in time, but in their significance to ourselves they find their own order, a timetable not necessarily—perhaps not possibly—chronological. The time as we know it subjectively is often the chronology that stories and novels follow: it is the continuous thread of revelation.”

women whose job was weeping, who were paid
to howl the whole night through, when all is silent.7

“woman/goddess/sea” (p.33)

“Then when the city exhausts me I will be, may be, reënchanted by here. That is all, (all?!) I want—reënchantment. It is something I must do myself.”6

CHAPTER 3: A fluid domain. Anti-narrative. Flow and overflow, overflow and retreat. “Wherever there is abundance, it seems, it will be accompanied by the forces of ecstatic devouring.” I wrote: the soul in love and in question, and it remains in my mind unceasingly, an incomplete yet unbroken intention. 2am, orange juice on my stoop after dancing all night, the faintest rain cooling the sweat from my skin, the bridge of his nose sunburned from the Colorado sun. Dressing, undressing, redressing, costuming. Falling asleep to Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast with his body still in mine, waking at 4am to dress and walk home alone through the quiet dark. I love nothing more than to be alone at dawn after being embraced, destroyed, reawakened through the night. “Incarnation followed by a period of reintegration with the cosmic waters--that is, individuation in the human body punctuated with release into the world of spirit.” Floorboards bare beneath my feet. Music shaking the walls. Spring cleaning like pulling cards or casting a spell, ritualized. The bigger the freedom/the deeper the roots. She says to me angrily, “you will always be too strong for him” and a dozen years later I laugh thinking, I will always be too strong for everyone. Discovering what it felt like to separate body from heart, a kind of self-surgery, self-mutilation, unnatural, monstrous yet thrilling. Because you see: there is sex to have and men to love and words to write and a self to know. The clack of his belt buckle, the snapping closed of his shirt. Desire in reverse. I slept until the middle of the afternoon and awoke remembering the unbearable sweetness of someone whispering darling through a kiss. “If we can’t understand it, we can describe it. In search of an explanation, we will create an atlas.”

womanness as disguise, veiling, myth, nature, poetics, cyclical like the moon

To speak<create from womanness increasingly feels like a gesture of speaking from the unconscious

weeks later she tells me:
sometimes animals die for us
as a gift
an offering

and I thought of how I held his small body as the vet put in the final injection
how I felt so clearly
his spirit
leave his body through my hands
and up
energy vividly released from form

how the vet gasped
she must have felt it too
and wept beside me weeping

“For Varo and for her female protagonists, the quest requires a rupture with the values that confine them within ordinary life situations.” (p.95)

Book I: Hemispheres. Balance & imbalance. Two halves. Union.

When she finally came into her powers, Mitchell would interrogate a question no less ambitious than what it meant to live freely as a human unbound by the demands of tradition and convention — whether as a woman seeking sexual and professional equanimity in a man’s world; an artist expressing her true self in a trend-crazed and increasingly corporate music industry; or a child of nature worried that modernity was taking us too far from the garden.1

“Carolee insisted on female heterosexual self-knowledge, in a world that continues to treat self-knowledgeable heterosexual women as a kind of oxymoron, as if there’s always something self-compromising or self-denigrating about female heterosexual desire.”5


Breaking the edges of
Beauty/not sensuality
Sexuality/not eroticism
Domesticity as prison/not domesticity as kingdom
March 8th: In one potent angry day all the men except the loose canon ignore me and instead animals flock to fill the space my energy provokes. My yellow birthday finches in a coupled tree outside the kitchen window. A coyote as I rough exit the 110 on the way to cut my bangs. All slouching leisure in the broad daylight. No regrets, coyote.

mysticism, Saint Teresa

“She of the origin, she of the primal crack, she of the boiling beginning, she of the riddle, she keeps me here, toiling and toiling” (p.63)

06. Beyond gender. The ness. Overflow & anarchy. Multiplicity. New paradigms.

Marie Darrieussecq: "I leave open the question of feminine writing, which is also the question of my life."

v2 12:48pm, 06-16-2020

Octavio: If we can’t understand it, we can describe it. In search of an explanation, we will create an atlas.

Sex zine / erotic space

on top of being a woman
i am scared

22. these diary books as time-based performance: spaces of being inconveniently arousing & the alchemy of self-seeing

And so a more profound journey beckoned, not the expulsion of a single man--Ernst is forgotten by the narrator--but her reincarnation as a multiple and quixotic being: “an androgyne, the Moon, the Holy Ghost, a gypsy, an acrobat, Leonora Carrington, and a woman,” she wrote.4

No matter, I have always made secret worlds, secret selves. I am always in performance.

12. spirit energy aura mind emotions & also physical body material pleasures flesh blood earth. Reclamation of the obscene. Desire as palette.

v1 1:24pm, 06-11-2020

heavenly mother

“A Venus who finally does not lose her self in expressing her sexuality; one with the capacity to conceive of a new island in which she will not be imprisoned; one with the potency to be her own muse.” (p.73)

CHAPTER 1: Long hair, blood drips, empty beds, dark skies, the written word, the spoken word, birdsong, my song, plants sprouting new roots, new growth, my body in prayer, in motion, in meditation, in devotion, in depravity, in desire, breath, blues, technology, dirt, his gasp of pleasure, the light through my camera. All of it, strange magic.

CHAPTER 3: In the notebook I am twenty-two, newly heartbroken, newly liberated, living into that duality with the abandon of a first sweep. What does it mean to speak the narrative of female experience? Paz’s articulation of eroticism is an apt definition in that it points to breadth and changeability: “Eroticism cannot be reduced to a principle. Its kingdom is one of unrepeatable singularities: it is always escaping reason, it is a fluid domain.”

Diane Wolkstein: I was drawn to the story of the woman who gave up, at seven successive gates, all she had accomplished in life until she was stripped naked, with nothing remaining but her will to be reborn.
Expression as living practice. Art returned to the living.

Anne Carson: “Discover all that is ‘feminine’, all that reaches forward in supplication within us——the way a diver digs his heels into the ocean floor in order to rise to the surface.

the love spell

11. And what of union?

I remember
naked and
only his
as we
on the
where I

and later how
when we
and neither of us
how to
a desire to
still have
always impossible

“Stories say that when she died in her twenties she disappeared into a burst of light” (p.77)


script as two-way mirror

0. The art of self-authorship

O’Keeffe and ghost ranch
Kahlo and casa azul
Coco Gordon and art box

Summer 1976, “The Laugh of the Medusa” 
Cixous: writing is precisely the very possibility of change, the space that can serve as a springboard for subversive thought, the percursory movement of a transformation of social and cultural structures.

Memories of slutty girls? School buses

CHAPTER 9: The thing about words is that sometimes I simply want nothing to do with them. Nothing of their meaning, nothing of their rules. Yes, words communicate but they also control and sometimes I want only their feeling state. Their texture and soft depths. Sometimes all I want is to paint rough abstraction incoherently, automatic-like. Trance-like.

“Because of the desire to the tell the rest of the story; because of the need to validate nonprocreative female creativity” (p.18)

v4 6:44pm, 10-08-2021

Boston: he said my name last night as he came, moaning it quietly and the sound struck me as something so lovely, so present and attuned. This morning after sex in the shower, in my bed, I curled up on my side like a cat and he stroked my back, my arms, until he thought I’d fallen sleep. I listened to him dress: the clack of his belt buckle, the snapping closed of his shirt. Desire in reverse. He pulled the white covers over me and kissed the dip between my neck and shoulders. Goodbye, darling. I slept until the middle of the afternoon and awoke remembering the unbearable sweetness of someone whispering darling through a kiss.

The Hearing Trumpet: I often feel l ike Joan of Arc so dreadfully misunderstood [...] I often feel I am being burned at the stake just beacause I am different from everybody else because I have always refused to give up that wonderful strange power I have inside me and it becomes manifested when I am in harmonious communication with some other inspired being like myself.

5/15-16: my first night in Paris, I am delirious with exhaustion before 8pm. New sheets new rooms, three horses there, three horses here. My first night in Paris (2:29am) it rains, thunder and lightening that hold me through the night, my naked body in unfamiliar sheets.

I came into this life made of earth and air. Grounded, spiritual, intellectual, quick but also slow, stubborn, easily stuck. A few years back, I met my fire for the first time. 12th house. Venus-Mars conjunct. Fire in my hidden rooms. Fire as secret seduction.

Collage novel of a woman turning into nature?

09. Remove all obstacles of overflow.

#2. so many ways to express taboo: sex identity, self expression, the theory of orientation. If it’s album-as-form then Los Angeles is moody sexy fucked up fragments unwriting the internet, these diary books as time-based performance. Where are our new creative economies, those spaces of being inconveniently arousing, listening through beauty and intuition that drives eroticism, deep thinking, the nighttime’s visual-erotic stimulation, the nighttime’s cameras that need to express the wild phases of life, my body, essayistic (I wish), the sound of the self out of context. Women provoking taboos: body memory, the transformation and alchemy of self-seeing.

“an androgyne, the Moon, the Holy Ghost, a gypsy, an acrobat, Leonora Carrington, and a woman,” she wrote.

Ali Smith: there’s always an untold story in a story

Writing this to future you, future me
“theater of ritual”

Anais, July 1935: Love sensations. Moisture on the leaves, the rustle of all things coming to life. Nothing in the world like melting and yielding… a strange efflorescence. I feel that someone is coming, someone is coming. I’m on tiptoes, and so alive to his coming.

CHAPTER 4: Coyote filling my ears. Coyote as the windmills fade. Coyote Lane as I turn one step closer to my destination. I drive past places I’ve been before, people I’ve been before. Beingness rushes through my rearview in a blur. There we all danced barefoot to the piano. There he wrapped his arms around me like new wilderness discovered. Always ghosts. Or rather: “The furrows of ash left by semen, blood, and lava.”1 To escape and return, to love and release. Two sides of the same coin. Snake tails in my mouth. “The bodies, facing each other like wild stars.”2 The loop of life and love itself. Sacred and secret liberation, my backseat full of cameras and watercolors and drunken dawn.

“a great woman may be a woman more interested in herself than in anything else.”2

04. We are creatures of cycles & seasons.

I wanted disorder.
I was seeking an emotional logic.

CHAPTER 13: How does one place a woman’s body within a frame? A visual frame, a lyrical frame. How does one place a woman’s experience within language? “This is not simply a reversal of image, or a re-interpretation of event with different emotions. Rather deformation is a struggle with the stuff that makes a text into a text: adequate grammar, understandability, a known vocabulary10, mandated sequences of events, speech itself as opposed to aphasia, stutter, or the void.”11 The void as the language of our experience. The loss of language our language’s clearest articulation. I tell my students to trust what they feel as they encounter words, to take special care with rhythm, with the winking symbology of repetition. Such as! Mary Magdalene. Mary, mother of. Mary, my mother (and the poet’s mother, too). My mother’s mother, a Scorpio, a woman strange to me, unmet, dead too young and narrow-faced in the one photo I’ve seen. An image in a frame, their five faces smiling, my mother small and soft and my own existence just the faintest flicker of potential hovering in the edges of her body. Edges of consciousness. Edges of restraint. Riding the edge. Reaching the edge and going suddenly another way. Mondrian’s edges as an entire utopian ethos. All that for an edge!12 "For her, tools of the painter and the writer are unified in breaking down our visual and intellectual customs."13 Rewriting the edge and therefore rewriting the frame and in so doing breaking the rules of: beauty/but not sensuality; sexuality/but not eroticism; domesticity as limitation/but not as an extension of unified14 vision.

10. We live in invisible temples. Expression makes visible our altars.

v6 7:51am, 04-13-2022: divine voice, wild winds, energetics of

It’s December, Los Angeles. He drinks his drink. I can’t stomach mine. I don’t remember what we say or how it starts. We’re in a pizza parlor off of Crenshaw. We’re on his sofa, our bodies pressed together and frantic. We’re on the phone as I’m walking towards the bookstore and he says, I need to tell you that I fucked her. We’re in my bed in the morning as he says the coffee is delicious. We’re naked, brushing our teeth. We’re watching the rough cut of his film. We’re talking to his sister, passing the phone back and forth between us. We’re meditating in separate but adjacent rooms. We’re making him tea. We’re in his new car, the one oozing status, a turn-off for me entirely. And we’re in this corner table, trying to disappear into the wall and I can’t remember what he says, only that something in me starts to crumble like a house consumed by flames. A voice in my gut, that never-wrong voice from the deepest deep, it starts to say: go, get up, leave. It’s polite at first. Direct, but restrained. But the flames lick higher and the smoke gets thicker and something is on the very edge of crumbling to pieces, me, me on the edge, on that same edge, and the voice is more urgent now, as if it might still save me, as if there’s still time, it’s screaming at me GO, GET UP NOW LEAVE LEAVE LEAVE AND DON’T LOOK BACK.

Pg. 92: “Schreiner imagined that if sex and reproduction could be separated, human sexuality, especially female sexuality, might become like the cultivated rose, which ‘having no more need to seed turns all its sexual organs into petals, and doubles, and doubles; it becomes entirely aesthetic.’ ... a member of the sexual avant garde.”

Obscene: from old Hebrew, Oh, meaning a wizard, sorceress