Wednesday, April 28, 2010

New American Language

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of April. Very cold this morning. A foot of snow fell in the North Country overnight though none here. Drove to the conservation area this morning but the winds were so strong along with cold drops pelting my face that I felt assaulted and returned to the car. The same weather in January I might have regarded as mild, but I would have been more warmly dressed.

Thinking difficult thoughts this morning. Do you wonder why I sob? How is it that one can be happy with someone for 20 years, then not. I read a short short story by Lydia Davis this morning, entitled A Double Negative, quoted here, as in the NYRB, in full:
At a certain point in her life, she realizes it is not so much that she wants to have a child as that she does not want not to have a child, or not to have had a child.
Is that true of me? Under other circumstances I might have wanted a child, or at least felt that if things were secure enough that having one was reasonably in the realm of possibility. My instincts were correct. Things were not secure enough. I am sorry about that and it leads me to believe that I made a very grave, irretrievable mistake a long time ago without my knowing at the time or for years after.

The Davis story reminded me of another double negative, from last fall, in reference to myself: "I would like to see you again at some point, and perhaps more importantly, I wouldn't want not to see you again sometime." Yes I have been reading your blog the past couple of weeks, you recently responded to me. Why was it too much (was it too much?) to add a comment, for example, perhaps, that you enjoy my blog? If that's the reason you look at it. Maybe your motivation is more akin to the way you noted that a number of women from, at one time or another, your father's past showed up at his funeral. It's nice to know that one day there might be a group, that it has been forming. I studied your letter last fall: "The intense feelings I carried for many years are now remote," having been replaced with a “new framework,” its nature undisclosed except in exclusive terms of temporality, the old framework defined solely as the remote past, the new framework as the present.

I might have made a good mother. I would have started by not naming a daughter after myself. I would have comforted her at menarche, and taught her how to shave her legs.

I have to allow for the possibility that I have a strong masochistic streak, or at least that I don't not have one.

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