Is there a time in your life you could have used a Nola studiola? (alone, in New Orleans, semi off-the-grid, unemployed) When? What’s one thing you’d be sure to do if you were ensconced alone in a tiny apt in New Orleans this summer, with just yourself to entertain?
Yes. When my parents both died and my son was born I was in a very weird space psychically and emotionally. So weird I had to write an entire book to find my way through it. I was lost and yet also standing on the cusp of a new world. So it was like standing at the edge of space or something.
Terrifying and wonderous at the same time. As it happens, though I was not at a Nola studio, I did hide out in a house in the woods that the Mingo found for us. I count those years as a kind of respite, a healing, a birth – me coming back into a self and into a new world. One of my own making.
[captions: above; moon over the world after my friend RG died; below; I call this my S. Claw (Alison’s claw, not Yuknavitch’s. I just put it here while she talked.]
The one thing I’d be sure to do if I was ensconced alone in a tiny apartment in New Orleans in summer with just myself to entertain is write and paint and eat and drink and pleasure myself in ways that I and only I can. I make sure to reinvent myself and my writing. I’d also bury all my underwear in the freezer and wear them icily and deliciously. Summer in NO is hot and wet and iced underwear are KEY.
–end of Yuknavitch response—
AB: I have been rolling around in newness. And gasping at oldness. Sometimes I am funny, but I leave those workadays frequently to 3AM just-before-dawn list making. I have been loosening some Guilt Joints, these Trapper Keeper hinges that I always assumed were part of my Rubbermaid Heart Latches (and may be) but that really don’t need to be attached to me, seeing as how I am learning to roll in trust a bit more of myself.
So you crack it and bruise it and sure, bury it from time to time. Shellac it with a Real Life fixture, concoctions of others’ mad scientist kitchens.
My nakedness is not boobs or vagina. My nakedness is arms and ribcage. These images are in salute to/for Yuknavitch’s Dora: A Headcase, whose book launch involved a Facebook storm of self-portraited bodies and repudiations of body as battleground.
As Bobby Womack says in “If There Wasn’t Something There” (Bobby Womack–The Bravest Man in the Universe) Do I even have to mention I’m still here?