I don't like to admit that the subject of my writing, my thinking, is shaped by mental illness. But it's the most obvious self-identification I have, and certainly the most consistent. I spend a lot of my time working to pass, and it's usually unconsciously done. Passing means not drawing suspicion that I am quite morose, empty-feeling, sad and isolated. I am pretty brilliant at passing, actually. I'm just the only person who doesn't benefit from that.

There's something about my personality that is just as persistent as depression and it's the force to live. That may sound grandiose, but not to a depressive. Death is a constant subject on my mind, an attractive ending to a boring, self-obsessed story. I can rate my mood by the number of times a day I consider dying -- the during or after -- how I'd do it, would it work, would it last? Would it be more permanent than depression? Would it overrule me? I'm looking for something or someone that does. There is no logical reason why I have not killed myself. It is absolutely a better option than living miserably for decades to come. In fact, it's possible that I'm more angry I can't kill myself than I am angry at being depressed. One thing would appear in my control. But the catch is, it's not. I have a senseless will to stay alive and I resent that part of myself more than anything sometimes.



So I realized that I never introduced why I named this blog (and most any writing I do) "unquiet riot." Looking at these entries, I note how relatively docile my words are. This is not the case for the words that course through me every day. Unquiet riot speaks to the voices I hear, on various frequencies, throughout the day and well into the night. Unquiet riot is the ticcing and convulsing of my body in response to obscenities noone else can hear. It's based on the plea that Phillip Larkin posed and could never fulfill -- to quiet the riot of his mind. And it's something I avoid making public for fear of a second alienation (the first began and continues the minute strange sounds echoe in my brain but fail to materialize to others). The fear I have to name the words and voices at all. I willfully forget the minute I've heard some taunt, jab, or rhyme start repeating inside . . . they are not pretty epithets, not particularly poetic. They are rambling and foreign and only seem to point to psychosis. But they are there, will likely remain, and I thought I'd say it to someone, let someone know. They've been real fucking loud the past couple days.



Last weekend my brother got together with about 60 other catholic converts and was introduced by the cardinal to his new congregation. About 1400 people attended. I don't know if applause or crossing oneself or high-fives or what takes place after the introduction, but I felt jealous. Not about the catholic thing, church thing, but about the ritual. I want more rituals in the queer community. I want big masses to convene and witness individuals declaring something about themselves, something they're proud of, something queer (this is not, in my opinion, being achieve by pride parades. that shit has gotten so corporate and cliche). Maybe I'm being naive and not thinking about all those people who don't have a name, a word, an identity to proclaim (I'm also dealing with this). But you know, I wouldn't mind 1400 people giving me or my friends snaps for being fabulous. I'm thinking gospel song and cross-dressing and something tony kushner would be proud of. I'm thinking a massive celebration that isn't about marriage, that's instead about the individual. I'd love to have a ritual that didn't require a denial of something and an espousal of something else, something we all have to agree on.

so anyway, my brother invited me to come up to DC to attend his first Easter mass. I can't make it, and only partly don't want to, but now I'm thinking about sending a card. Do they have confirmation cards? Congratulations? I was thinking something like "Good luck!" or "Farewell!". I'm not known for my tact.



i love what i study:

[from Valerie Traub's "The Renaissance of Lesbianism in Early Modern England"]

"Tribade is a French term derived from the Greek tribas and tribein, to rub. [. . .] 'tribadism,' [is] the sexual penetration of women (and men) by other women, by means of either a dildo or a fantastically large clitoris. [. . .]

Helkiah Crooke in his anatomical treatise, Microcosmographia; or, A Description of the Body of Man (1615) [. . .] picked up on earlier French anatomists' assertions that an enlarged clitoris is associated with 'unnatural' desires in women: 'Sometimes [the clitoris] groweth to such a length that it hangeth without the cleft like a mans member, especially when it is fretted with the touch of the cloaths, and so strutteth and groweth to a rigiditie as doth the yarde [penis] of a man.'"

So there you have it -- before the wandering womb came the wandering clit, and while taking a stroll she might have galloped on man or woman! luv-ly.

[GLQ 7:2, pp.245-263. 2001:Duke University Press.]


clashes in the stacks

So I'm in NYC on a medieval manuscript conference (associated with the New York Public library's "Splendor of the Word" http://nypl.org/research/calendar/exhib/hssl/hsslexhibdesc.cfm?id=354 ). I'm meeting bigwigs in the manuscript world, understanding now more than ever that my boss is one of them, noting the oddities of professional researchers, scratching the veneer off the moneyed elite (collectors) and wishing I could be with Rick in Sarasota, drinking coffee and being slow.

The dynamics of working for a millionare in NYC, during these veritable feast days of viewing, talking, schmoozing, oo-ing, ah-ing, nodding, lying are exhausting. Money is so strange. And money wrapped up in work politics, paternal/maternal undercurrents, and disparities in knowledge/history/language is even more strange. exhausting. emotional. it makes me emotional.

what did rick and i talk about tonight? the ego. feeling the coarse brush-up of familiarity and distance, a strange passing that feels like gentle grating. slow enough to not wince, but accumulative nevertheless. shredded skin and memories on the floor. my self left far behind as i recall those tumultuous aclu days during which i exposed my soft spots in what i thought was bracing for safety. i'm aware this doesn't follow a neat narrative. think of this as words collected rather than sentences formed.

i'm tired, too impatient for something online, wishing i were sleepy enough for bed, responsible enough for dishes, or bold enough for pen to page.



(context) As these currents of doubt and memory course through me, I grow deaf and dumb in front of this beauty. Scared, anxious, sick with the smooth bile of insecurity, I am a fool to let this get so far with so little.

In chemical (imaginary) terms, I am chaotic, an unstable mixture of substances that have been too long boiling. And maybe I think these substances should not have intermingled so early and carelessly (trauma). And maybe I worry about their release (orgasm). Sex to me means no control. No "I" in the act. And what's present in my mind is that sex has two eyes (I's) who contribute and give and receive. I am scared to lose myself -- loose -- and I am scared what does or does not happen will absorb all that I am (was). So all I will be after is what let out, what got splayed then sprayed, and washed away. What remnants are strewn on my lover or I, patchwork juices that don't even crochet a blanket of personality. And what can I give -- ? Someone whom I find so beautiful, so amazing -- someone whom I want to glorify with pleasure?

I want to send this to -- (get it out). Out. It's like any minute I will boil over, pour out. And any minute is either a boiling over or a flood from an incision. This imagery never lets up. Where are the tides? Would it help to find, and mark my life by, tides? Mystery. Misery. Hope.


i am, i am

playing: whiskeytown, "matrimony" and joanna newsom, "peach, plum, pear"

drinking: hot americano with soy milk

thinking: i'm lonely. the season's changing.