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I am happy to announce the launching of my new website amber-stewart.com. As much as I’ve enjoyed this blog, the new one promises to be slightly better, and without the hassle of “wordpress” in the URL. So, please, if you’ve been visiting me here, visit me there too, as that’s where my posts will be from now on. Also, it is still a bit of a work in progress, so if the design changes suddenly, think nothing of it. But I think it’s set for now.

See you there!

I already knew that. It’s amazing how apathetic this city can make you.

     …You are Disgraced. Disfigured. So what will you do now?

     Madeleine announces an idea that has occured to her only a few seconds before, as she reflected on how pleasant it felt to be wearing her underclothes. She says with dignity: I plan on being a tumbler. Or a contortionist. Whichever I am better at.

     Marguerite claps her hands. Her severity gives way, in an instant, to laughter.

     My dear child! she cries, voice lifting into song.

     If drinking is bitter, Marguerite sings, become wine.

-From Madeleine is Sleeping (Sarah Shun-lien Bynum)

 

 Siege

 

This I do, being mad:

Gather baubles about me,

Sit in a circle of toys, and all the time

Death beating the door in.

 

White jade and an orange pitcher,

            Hindu idol, Chinese god,–

Maybe next year when I’m richer—

Carved beads and a lotus pod…

 

And all this time

Death beating the door in.

 

-Edna St. Vincent Millay

 

 

I have learned that, in the absence of sanity, intellect is bankrupt. The crazy genius only exists with the need of distraught masses for relate-ability. Hospitals, screaming babies, therapy calls twice a week, and I’ve simply finished reading a book of poetry. And possibly discovered how to write in the reading of the lyric. But intelligence in nominal, relative. Voice, essential. For if you find that, you’ve found your existence. Its termination no longer frightens, but its value exponentially increases. Search.

 

Jenny and John on the front porch. My “neighbors” probably hated us.

 

Lyndel and Davey and Sophie in the background.

I’m done reminiscing now. I guess I’m just ready for everyone to return home!

It’s about time, California.

 

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked

-Howl (Allen Ginsberg)

You know you’ve hit a low spot when your therapist threatens to hospitalize you. But a visit from my dad and five therapy sessions later, she stopped suggesting. It’s better now.

From my grandmother:

Amber, where was this place you were talking about going to tomorrow night?
I got to thinking and I don’t think it sounds like the type of place you should be going to.  Grant you, I don’t know exactly what it is, but remember, we sent you to NY we trusted you to make good choices and I’m not sure you are doing that.  I know your life is yours, but I don’t want to see you get in some real trouble and get hurt.   Walk carefully and think of what you could be getting into.  Remember you are in New York. 
Love You, Granny

      

As long as I kept walking I didn’t hear them, because of the footsteps. But as soon as I halted I heard them again, a little fainter each time, admittedly, but what does it matter, faint or loud, cry is cry, all that matters is that it should cease. Now I don’t think so any more. I could have done with other loves perhaps. But there it is, either you love or you don’t.

-“First Love” (Samuel Beckett)

     There is nothing more terrifying than uncertainty. There was a housing sublease that fell through for me, so it was Katie and I looking for a suitable two bedroom that is affordable. Some nights I felt as if I would claw my eyes out running in traffic in order to attain some kind of resolution. The thought of spending an entire summer in Nashville seemed like the worst thing that could possibly happen. But salvation came in a Hasidic neighborhood about five blocks down the street. Sometimes I feel like the devil as I walk down there. But I’ll call it home. We move in next weekend.

     George Bernard Shaw once said, “If you can’t hide the family skeleton, you can at least make it dance.” And that’s what a group of people do once a month at Unnameable books in the basement. Robert and Adrian curate a reading series there called Making Skeletons Dance, inviting writers that they know to come and share family myths. I read a piece about my mother and the gun culture I grew up in. When my grandmother read it, she said, “Don’t think that way. You shouldn’t think that way. The sky is blue and apples are red.” Only sometimes, they are green and yellow.

     It seems as though everyone here is screaming their fertility. The young, babies, are on everyone’s mind. This is a sentiment I do not understand. I do not desire children in any way, but I seem to be the only one. I suppose that it is only natural. Perhaps I just have genes that shouldn’t be passed on.

     We saw a play at the Ontological Theater at St. Marks the other night. The play was “built” by Robbie Snyderman, Peter Pan. The title was “Sleep Shit”, with a pause between Sleep and Shit. It was inspired by insomnia, and since I have been struggling with that very thing, the play touched a place in me where locked nightmares reside.

     “Good Morning,” the girl in the trashbags said. She laid down coat hangers and Lyndel was terrified. She explained to me later that sleep is what breaks up the days, and the though of changing for a new “day” when you haven’t slept seems a betrayal of yuur base humanity. I simply thought of hangers scraping over chalkboards or floors. And my nightmares were brought to life by a paint splashed mirror.

     On the way home from the play, another friend asked for a tampon, and I realized that we have all started to menstruate at the same time. Her empty womb, my empty womb. Thank God for mine! I celebrated the day the flow started.

     And I have not been able to sleep. I stayed up and painted with friends last night unti four in the morning and we talked, embracing our insomnia.

     I slept through my alarm this morning and so rushed to finish a presentation on Descartes and Beckett with Lyndel.

     “Man,” I said, “the recipe for insanity.”

     And she finished, “is the recipe for truth.”

     Brilliant. Sometimes I think the insane or altered states are just full of more understanding. Class was cancelled. Monday was Cancelled. We wrote this phrase over and over again on the wall, questioning words, language, time, and the division of it. The unique human ability to perceive time. Perception; wax.

     We spent the time in the park where we laid in the almost-warm weather. We got real Brooklyn pizza and headed back. Finally, some type or resolution.

Davey, Robert, Adrian and I not posing for a picture.

This is Davey, Robert, Adrian, Grace and I not posing for a picture.