Thursday, March 29, 2012

"A thinking woman sleeps with monsters"

Work is insane. Theatre is ramping up to insanity. Friends are going through hard times. I bought the wrong lottery ticket and didn't even win on the wrong one. I cannot seem to make myself ingest a vegetable to save my life. The scale is jeering at me in my mind. Things are just A LOT right now. And then Adrienne Rich passed away.

The connections between and among women are the most feared, the most problematic, and the most potentially transforming force on the planet.

I was first introduced to her work in college, living in a house full of feminists. It was one of those quintessential college moments where a bunch of young women sat around talking about things that mattered. Sure, we did our fair share of watching 10 Things I Hate About You and planning elaborate theme parties, but the best times were late at night, sitting on the grimy floor of the kitchen talking about Ideas and Ideals and The Values of Feminism. And one of the women brought out her Adrienne Rich books. Being a sucker for poetry, I was hooked immediately.

Every journey into the past is complicated by delusions, false memories, false namings of real events.

I don't remember who exactly brought it out or what else happened. I imagine it was probably D, my roommate at the time, and poetry nerd extraordinaire. At that time I was either going to minor in Women's Studies or Poetry. The major in Theatre Arts was already set. Ah, but I was a lazy feminist and I had heard that Global Fem was a super hard class and, lord, I was way more interested in doing plays than taking tough classes. So the decision was made! Poetry! ...Except that the writing classes I could actually get into were short fiction classes and I had a tough time with the poetry professor. It didn't end up really mattering in the end. I crammed my brain full of poetry anyway.

and among those images
one woman's meaning to another woman

So the feminist activist theme house was actually called the Womyn's Concerns House. With a Y. I understand the genesis of this particular spelling but I despise it. I just cannot make myself look at that and think it looks correct. By the time I graduated, WoCo was no longer in a free-standing house at the edge of campus and I was no longer living there. I hold on to those nights, though, sitting in the kitchen either on the floor or at the tiny table or on top of the washing machine, talking to my friends about things we thought we were the first to discover.

It's exhilarating to be alive in a time of awakening consciousness; it can also be confusing, disorienting, and painful.

I miss talking about things that matter. And I know, to the people who actually knew and loved her in the flesh, Adrienne Rich will be missed dearly.

italicized text by Adrienne Rich. OBVS.


  1. My senior research paper in high school focused on Adrienne Rich. Her poems were magical to me. Wish I could have been there for those late night feminism talks.

  2. I miss you! And the grimy floor! and talking about all of those things!