The Proposal

June 27th, 2008

All that pent-up passion, where does it go? It travels in endless loops and spirals like a lost and wild thing that can’t find its natural environment. It cries out in unremembered dreams, and wakes in the morning to buttons and buzzers, fluorescent lights, and just enough sun to keep it thirsty and pulsing.

March on, soldier girl, march on. There are some mercies you will never know, and others you are probably better off not knowing. Carry your arsenal of words proudly, and spray paint the obstacles and alleyways in your path. Write your name boldly, and let your vivid colors splash against the graying admonishments and swells of whitewash.

Once, I wrote you a story by hand, in plum colored ink, in a beautiful leather notebook sent to me by some cigarette company. I did not hover over lines or pause between paragraphs, and I did not sleep for three days. It seemed urgent then, but somehow all those flowing words got lost. Stolen or lost – or maybe never found – does it really make a difference? There was no one there to protect anything, and it was easy, so easy, to pretend I didn’t care. I bought three piece suits from the secondhand store, read books that taught me how to aspire and conform, and forged my way into some musty tapestry held together by false needs and even falser promises.

I faltered then, I know. I was young, and bumbling, and out-and-outside of everything, scrambling desperately just to understand the essential facts, such as the chasm between how people acted, and how they really were in their own private and natural worlds, where no acting is required. I struggled to slow down the alternative other-scripts in my head, where I could create and arrange, rewrite and edit, until every new imprint and revelation made sense. It was not easy to evict myself from that sanctuary, but I did. I took a deep breath, and plowed my whole self into dangerous, unknown territory, as determined as any pioneer looking for a title and forty acres.

I did not have the means then to promise you what I am promising you now.

I want you to do whatever it is you really want to do, love, with any sort of abandon. Stay out and outside, if that is your wish, and I will protect whatever messages you leave in your path. I will let no one pour a whitewash over your words, and in this, I will not fail you. I will be the Theo to your Vincent – the unflagging patience to your spitfire impulsiveness, the protector of your interior art, and the keeper of your secrets. I will secure the essentials, keep the destroyers at bay, shore you up, and pick you up in ways that will be unintrusive and unnoticeable.

I will do it for your art, because it’s not always beautiful. Because it’s often curious, gritty, unrefined, full of question marks, and unmistakably yours.

I will do it for your hands. The ones that still plead when you talk, like a last vestige of childhood, a desire for your soul to be understood, even when your words are wrapped in the esoterica of language.

I will do it for your mind. The one that has been spent in fractions and unjustly divided in a world where half or less of a human being is thought to make a whole.

I have loved you from the day you recognized your separateness. When you gazed at your hands and feet and happily realized they belonged to you alone. When you lolled on the shag carpet of your pink bedroom, dreaming of horses, oceans, and Amazons. When you rebelled against the teachings of a monotonous life punctuated by fistfuls of anger.

I loved you when you were a hero, experimenting with the world, filled with unbridled energy and a desire to do and gather all that was good. I loved you when you were on your knees in the river, begging for your life, praying to whatever god watches over the set-apart and abandoned, and when you felt vindictive, angry, and bitter, knowing that no such god existed, and that you were truly on your own. When you numbered your scars, 1-17, and gave them names. Snake in the Grass. Saint Albert’s Fence. Five Minutes Late. Two Against One.

I know how love begins. It begins alone, in the sacred flesh of a new soul, as an intuitive desire or a biological imperative. It rises up to fill in the barren spaces, smooth the jagged edges of scar tissue, and nurture the mind, body, and spirit. It becomes intrinsic, outreaching, sacred – birthed over and over again in neophyte stages until it becomes agape and all-encompassing.

I do not know, and have never known, how love really ever ends.

All those years when passion was kept in tight coils and stored away for some future days of freedom, had this effect; my love is a renewing thing that knows no end. It is not fickle, or conditional, or wary. Once given, it is given forever, no matter how great the distance, how few the words, or how lost the original reason. For this love, and out of love for you, I will stand my ground, as close or as far away as desired, and guard the gates.

The world that made it impossible for us to be one, to be both artist and worker, dreamer and survivor, existing in the same physical being and outward expression, is no stronger than the shoulders that carry it as a necessary burden. I have grown strong enough to carry that burden for the both of us, and brave enough to face the consequences. So be, my love, that girl under the tree who paints poetry and writes abstracts. Be wild, and unrelenting, and undaunted. Burst your spindly roots out of the ragtag world, and leave the broken branches and dry leaves behind. Abandon the dogtag chains, the crumbling mortar, and the numbers that would subtract art from your every equation.

I will be here, holding steady the balance pole, guarding the gate, and gathering all the good that falls.

From me to you, for us, this is my promise.

16 Responses to “The Proposal”

  • Beautiful!

  • Wow!!! this is truly remarkable….amazing! You make me feel things that I didn’t even know were there…or maybe it’s just been buried for so long, I’ve forgotten! Thank you! I’m glad I found your blog!!!!

  • (Almost) speechless. This is remarkable. So much to say and not enough ways to say it. So many places where I gasped with recognition and others where I paused to give thought to what was being expressed.

    Where you right about how love begins and ends–exquisite. And as one who has read all the letters exchanged between Theo and Vincent, I *understand* what’s being proposed there, I understand the depth of that love and the flavor of it.

    I want you to write and entire poem or piece just on the scars, 1-17.

    Wonderful piece….

  • Oops–write not right, and not an. See, I’m so stunned I can’t even spell. ; )

  • I heard some news and wanted to share my opinion with you about it but not on your comment forum area so would you please visit my myspace? I am certain you know how to find me. If not leave an e-mail on my rarely checked yahoo account and I’ll get back ASAP.

  • Beautiful and moving.

  • see….now THAT’S what i’m talkin’ about, jane.

    you just slay me…..

    “The world that made it impossible for us to be one, to be both artist and worker, dreamer and survivor, existing in the same physical being and outward expression…”

    that’s the point where my head damn near exploded….forced me right out of my chair.
    then i had to read the whole thing again and several times over, ever so slowly.

    you know, this is rare for me as i have the attention span of a gnat….

    more, jane.

  • again, you touched my soul and I have no words to respond.

  • Life and the world will strangle the art from our veins in good ways and bad - your piece encompasses raw emotion with both fine and rigid strokes . If I were to say all I want to say this would be epic; alas - it doesn’t matter - you’ve already said everything here! You continue to inspire!

    Always Create!

    Pam :)

  • Love never ends, sisterfriend, although some times we forget it. We forget that we are worthy of it and then we forget to give it. It’s that sort of thing. You must give it to receive.

    This seems like a letter. A letter from your now-self to your then-self, from your higher self to your mundane self. It is a letter from your mother, had she cared enough, to a cherished you.

    It is a letter from the Goddess, as she resides in all of us, and each and every day speaks through us.

    I know it’s not your thing.

    I understand and respect that.

    But I can’t help but hear her in your words.

    That’s just my way.



  • I came to read this by way of V-Grrrl’s blog, and I must say I am ever so glad I did.
    This is an amazing piece of writing and insight! Your words reached deep within me and brought forth an understanding I have been searching for for some time.
    Absolutely incredible.

  • You have all made sharing the intimate side of my writing a positive experience. I told Kris once that I probably wouldn’t post any fiction again, because the last time I did, it sat there in darkness, and the emptiness made me feel weird and anxious… like having a painting in a gallery that no one stopped to look at… and wondering why no one related to what you painted.

    I feel fortunate knowing that I have readers now who have creative minds and artistic souls. It means so much to me to know that you not only read, but felt compelled to share your thoughts.

    Thank you. So much.

  • Speechless. You know that stunned pause before the thunderous applause?. That’s where I am right now.

  • Than I will say Bravo!

  • It’s your fault! I’ve gone ahead and posted my first public piece of fiction. All of it has been sheltered away for decades - but I took the box off the top.

    Thanks for the inspiration!


  • Just returned from two weeks in London, Brighton and Paris with both girls, Mark and Chloe’s hubby.
    Read this.
    Blown away.
    Yours is a gift, as you are.

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