Raw, adjective: 7. brutally or grossly frank: a raw portrayal of human passions
It's Sunday morning and the City's quiet and I couldn't sleep. Woke up 6ish dreaming of strange reunions and death and polyester leisure suits and "Crown Him With Many Crowns." You try falling back asleep after that one. There were 3 or 4 Mexican guys below the next-door bay window last night circa 2 am. Apparently it's a hot spot to chill after last call, because several nights a month I drift off to the lulling music of indecipherable Spanish and wake up to find the sidewalk strewn with two empty cases of Corona. One of these nights I'm going to head down and join them for a few. Could be a good time.
In the meantime, it's still early and the radiator is cranking serious heat (it's chilly in the City, no doubt, but it is also June...) and the air's so dry that my white hydrangeas here in the living room are getting crusty. Hydrangeas, by the way = smart choice. They last a long time, much longer than stock or alstromeria or tulips. Just in case you wanted to know.
I've been shaking a lot of martinis lately and the flipside of that is that during my off-time all I want to do is be quiet and sit still and write. The good (great!) news is that I've hit 275 pages in my manuscript and the final product should hover somewhere around 300, so with a week's worth of editing or so, the end is in sight. My goal to get this little baby to agents by July is very much going to happen. This is thrilling. And really, really scary.
I'm working on a few sections right now that are heavy on theory to contrast a lot of the narrative in the other chapters, lots of Buddhist theory on hungry ghost realms and desire and sorrow and cultural criticism stuff. In the process, I've been revisiting a work by one of my favorite early writers, Audre Lorde, called "Uses of the Erotic." It's one of those classic essays that's often assigned in college syllabi, but for good reason. Lorde was a black lesbian feminist writer and poet who died in 1992. Her stuff is mindful and angry, passionate and poetic. I actually just ran across another of her pieces from 1980 called "The Cancer Journals" chronicling her battle with breast cancer that is going to the top of my must-read list right away. She does a lot of rich writing on the erotic and its relation to the spiritual and the political. Here's a tidbit from "Uses" - give it a look if you are interested, as it's a quick read:
"...[Once] we begin to feel deeply all the aspects of our lives, we begin to demand from ourselves and from our life-pursuits that they feel in accordance with that joy which we know ourselves to be capable of. Our erotic knowledge empowers us, becomes a lens through which we scrutinize all aspects of our existence, forcing us to evaluate those aspects honestly in terms of their relative meaning within our lives. And this is a grave responsibility, projected from within each of us, not to settle for the convenient, the shoddy, the conventionally expected, nor the merely safe.
During World War II, we bought sealed plastic packets of white, uncolored margarine, with a tiny, intense pellet of yellow coloring perched like a topaz just inside the clear skin of the bag. We would leave the margarine out for a while to soften, and then we would pinch the little pellet to break it inside the bag, releasing the rich yellowness into the soft pale mass of margarine. Then taking it carefully between our fingers, we would knead it gently back and forth, over and over, until the color had spread throughout the whole pound bag of margarine, thoroughly coloring it.
I find the erotic such a kernel within myself. When released from its intense and constrained pellet, it flows through and colors my life with a kind of energy that heightens and sensitizes and strengthens all my experience."