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HERSTORY

When I was in college, for one of my classes in world history, I was assigned a textbook called “Herstory – the underside of History”.   The premise is that human history has been written by the victors, reinforced by denying literacy to women, and that what we are taught in school – tales of geopolitical conquest, tales of religious wars, that these chapters are actually not that important.  Not to our evolution as a species.  Cultural and scientific breakthroughs, changes in the definition of family, the fall of matriarchies and the rise of patriarchies – these are the truly historical events.  Lines drawn on a map, borders and country names changing as soldiers and warriors bled to crest a hill for the right to rename it – what we celebrate – it is all decidedly one-sided, and perhaps progress towards this goal of complete subjugation of the natural world is actually taking the human race backwards.  The so-called Renaissance was the Dark Ages for woman’s rights – the Napoleonic Code and the blithe assumption that women are chattel was the opposite of a giant step forward for mankind.          

      Conflicted left and right brain working at full capacity in a society willing to accept only one per gender.  Logic reason, intellect, numbers, analytical thinking – not expected from one who pines to take brush to paper and paint EVERY branch of those stark trees silhouetted by the sunset.  Turning a phrase like a lump on the potter’s wheel.  Only I don’t know what shape it is going to take.  How many half-uttered thoughts died aborning because some pitiful pre-programmed inadequacy department determined that no-one wanted to hear them?         

     So I take much of what has been written with a grain of salt.  There was a female Pharaoh named Hatshepsut who ruled one of most peaceful and abundant periods in Egyptian history.  Her name was literally erased from history – the hieroglyphics were chiseled out of the stone monuments and tablets, her name was not included in the lists of rulers.  I always picture that chisel and the chunks of stone where once there was wisdom whenever I read an account of the period I’ve been researching for the book.  Important contributions, I assume, will have been left out if those contributions were made by women.

Listening to Amy

Aloha Blog Buddies! You can continue to find rants and musings on my Writer’s Website, CGTripp Enterprises. As part of my ongoing effort to own my material, I think it’s best they all be found there. Soon, this will be gone, so be sure to check out http://www.cgtrippenterprises.com for future blog entries.

Here is an excerpt from my poem that just got accepted to Drunken Monkeys (yes, I know, perefect venue for me lol). Will supply link in a few months when it’s posted – Woot!

…Brandishing belly she pours her frail brute strength down inside your head like Alambic Brandy, and you smack your lips, ah…

Mom

Mom

just a good listener

STRONG

I can drink of my mother’s contentment, sometimes

And cry for her and for her mother that Life rewarded their efforts with a deeper understanding of hardship

Love shouts from her eyes

Finally I’m beginning to see her as much like me

Fiercely protective of her kin

An admirable adversary

With a steel spine

But her love is golden

Refreshing, essential, everlasting

Batting off flies with wings made of words

The bottom line is Scary Smart Chicks (SSC) should not be expected to go through life sober.  I try doing a data dump in the hopes of allaying the inability to sleep.  Maybe if I write down all the random thoughts pinging around in my brain, I shall thus conquer insomnia.  So, here are the rantings of a mad woman. 

Nights like this I need Brain Caulk – vodka, Valium, wine, Xanax – at the end of your tether, you reach for the end of the alphabet.  Gaslighted and ridiculed for being right, I need chemical assistance to tamp down the inner homicidal maniac.  Goddess damned MS Word just capitalized Maniac for me – who the hell do they think they are?  How much did they pay for their poetic license and who was the corrupt issuing agency?  Is fear of normalcy treatable with an ineffectual writing career?  And who, if not me, can resist the call of vicissitude?

Just a couple of puffs of the swirling soothing smoke, a couple of sips of fine Alambic brandy and I won’t have to fight, I could let it win.  Then sleep, satiated for a time.

Damn eyelids keep popping open.  Thoughts rush ahead of pen – at least this old school approach – putting pen to paper – slows the words down.  Honestly, I can feel them, the words, crowding out the occasional cloud of calm as they collide in contradictory arguments.  I feel worn ruts in the grey matter of my brain where “you will never amount to anything” and other echoes from childhood go claptrapping along deeply incised wounds.  I try batting off flies with wings made of words.

         “I am loved”

         “I am strong” Flutter byes oft silently repeated, lessening the harmful old patterns, like sticker weeds they have no permanent solution.

What’s in a name?

Have you ever been asked:  “What’s your married name?  What’s your maiden name?  How can they be the same?”

This question seems so ludicrous.  It stems from a quaint custom, a rite-of-passage which is not, nor has it ever been, expected of men.  For women, however, a public pronouncement of love and commitment to a chosen mate is not enough.  A traditional band of precious metal worn on the left hand at all times is also not enough.  For, I have been told, it is expected that a woman must become an adjunct to her mate, to be put; like property, in his name.

            Let’s examine the common usage.  Take “Mrs. John Smith” for example.  Does anyone LIVE inside that name?  Could be a Rachel, could be an Angela, could be a nobody.  This appellation is Mr. John Smith’s portable label for his current spouse.  It is not truly a name.  Whose house is that?  John Smith’s.  Whose woman is that?  John Smith’s.

            I was born with my father’s name.  All of us children were.  My first name belonged to an Empress, and it is at the top of my resume, stating the necessary gender.  Prior to marriage, I lived twenty-seven years with this name, the one I have always used, the one I am using now.  It has been engraved on name plated, credit cards and business cards.  I can be found under this name in school yearbooks, personnel records, alumni listings and the phone book.  I have fleshed it out and made it ring with memories of a unique person.

            Consider, for a moment, the name:  “Mr. Jane Smith”.  Does it sound ludicrous?  Your first question may be:  “What’s his first name”?  But you won’t have to ask who he’s married to.

            But what last name will the children have?  Why not both?  If one last name must be chosen, why not the mother’s name?  And why is it assumed I will have children?  That leads to another essay altogether.

            I may decide to change my name someday – for convenience, or pure caprice.  But many women have fought long and hard for the right to choose where and when that change may take place.  In the not-too-distant past, it was illegal for a woman to keep her birth name.   Hopefully the change in legislation will lead to a change in attitude.  For the present, however, I will endeavor to gracefully field questions about the impossibility of having the same name after marriage as before.

The salt licks of remembered dreams

To see the author read this poem, here is the link to Poet’s Choice on YouTube:

Brilliant but crazy, creative but self-destructive.  You know her.  Her breath comes out like broken chess pieces, all their strategic importance gone, like the dust on an abandoned game board.  Sweat in crevices pooled in the matted hair behind her neck, soaked through, she is imagining the pillow stains – they are salt licks of remembered dreams.   Sleep is always hard to come by, searching for the owner’s manual.  There must be some instructions for nights like this.  Elusive Mr. Sandman, furtive, dispelled from the shadows by the light required to write.  This time for sure, when the light is extinguished, this time, he won’t be coy. 

Random thoughts swirl and spin in the eddies of your mind, Hard to catch, hard to ban They flit or hunker down, looping like audio tape.  Repeating like that scratch on your favorite record that jumps the needle, retracing the same lyric over and over.  Decades later you cannot sing that song without the skip.  Despair is like that scratched record.  You have to get up and lift the arm of the phonograph and place the needle past the crack.  You love that record, those songs of your youth.

Happiness was just there, skittering briefly through neural pathways like mercury without the poison.  You grasp it and work it into the defiant fur of her favorite cat, banking the glowing embers of a warm contentment.  Knowing that even in the land of endless summer, storms will come. 

In the morning you and she will dance to the tunes only you two hear.  She listens.  She lingers.  What a luxury to be heard!  Dancing in the rain, swinging on a lamp post, no longer relegated to the spry guy wearing sensible shoes.  Let go, love, she has put together a mix tape.  Locking in the light with a liberal sprinkling of libation, limbs akimbo they will morph into a mambo.  Enough of loss lessons, love wins by a landslide in this daintily possible tomorrow.