Last night I felt crappy and blue. Every other weekend for me is spent solo, sans kids. I retire the pancake griddle for a few days and basically do whatever the hell I want. When you’re a divorcee for almost a decade, and not in a relationship or partnership or intrigue or dysfunctional fuckerdom, this is what happens. You get couch time, or bed time, hours to gambol around Lake Murray (Lake Uncle Murray, I like to call it) or the Apple store. To paraphrase dear Joni, it’s time to be a free woman in La Mesa, unfettered and alive. And certainly caffeinated.
I write and read and kvetch and text. If there’s a good show in town, or in LA, I’ll go. If there’s someone possibly sweet and potentially special, I will hang with that person and see what happens. I’ll get my brows waxed, buy a MAC Lip Glass. If Jyoti Bihanga, my fave cult-operated veg restaurant, is open, I will eat their Infinite Bleu entree with a side of lemon tahini. I have no problem eating alone, going anywhere alone, being alone.
Last night I cruised Barnes and Noble. Saw a book entitled Wetlands. Slim paperback, Grove/Atlantic, translated from the German. The author a little brunette slip of a girl. A tour de force about an “intimate shaving accident.” Eighteen-year-old protagonist had bad hemorrhoids. Seems to have lanced one with a Bic (in Deutsch, BIK?). A meditation on messy, smelly nether bits. Or in the case of this girl, chunks.
I’ve always been interested in wound healing, necrosis, eschar, debridement, the theory behind the medical instrument known as a wound vac. I can understand the novelist’s motivation. It’s a book I could have written, years ago. Except I had no hemorrhoids. Grove’s Morgan Entrekin liked my book, and I see how he liked Wetlands.
Thing is, with Wetlands: There’s a raw perineum and a lot of teenage sexual confessions of a particularly earthy sort. But it seemed, save for the pudendum-with-pus and all the attendant swollen tissue, well, kind of flat. A meditation on membranes, the memoir of an anal buccaneer. Light on dialogue, though.
I admire her shamelessness. Galway Kinnell told me, in 1991, to be shameless and to not regret it. The only regretful part is not saying what shames you. I’d written a poem with a line about douching with a washing-machine hose. He loved that line. I’d put my head in my heads at the conference table. It felt so awkward and humiliating. He told me to stop that shit. Not that he said “shit.” I took Galway to heart.
So,Wetlands girl, hats off. Panties off, I should say. So I will. Panties off. I’m a lot older than you, and I’ll say this, too: Shame leads to trouble. Judging from your first novel, you have the right idea. Be malodorous. Be open. Be shameless.