Letter from My 48th Year (Feb 6)
I’m uncomfortable writing these poems about my father. I don’t want people to think my father was a bad man. And I definitely don’t want them to think I’m a revengeful woman. I’m also embarrassed in a way I can’t quite describe when I think about the woman I’m revealing in the poems. She’s too bitter. She’s too whiny. She wants too much. And it also feels like a bit of a sucker punch to be writing them now that my father’s not here to defend himself. (Though I also couldn’t have written them while he was still alive, but that’s another blog post….)
And yet, even with all of that angst, I’m probably writing some of the strongest poems of my career to date. Which would seem to attest to the fact that pushing through that discomfort is necessary, especially for (but not only for) an artist. It’s odd to think of myself being uncomfortable with making myself vulnerable given that I relish sharing TMI. But as a friend once told me I seem to share so much that people don’t realize that I’m actually an oddly very private person. And I’d add that I’m an oddly very private person in ways I don’t always understand myself. Why will I share this but not that? Why does this fill me with shame but not that?
I can’t get enough of interviews with Armie Hammer since seeing Call Me By Your Name. The movie centers on a sexual relationship between two men, both of whom are played by straight actors. Yet I’ve heard Armie say that the thing that made him uncomfortable about the role was not the sex but having to dance in public. As he explains, he’s 6’5″ and considers himself a menacing tangle of gangly limbs bound to accidentally knock someone in the face while getting his boogie on. I think that particular scene is one of the most moving of the film as Elio (Timothee Chalamet) is starting to realize how much he wants to be with Oliver (Armie) while Oliver blissfully dances away. There’s something comforting about knowing that a scene so beautiful and seemingly effortless cost Armie something. And while I don’t usually find my inspiration in gangly, privileged White boys, I’ll admit than when I find myself quaking a bit as I push through my own hang-ups for the poems, I take a breath and dance with Armie for awhile.