Thursday, August 18, 2005

"Words hypnotise"

So I thought that would be less work than my own posting...silly Spinster!

You all might want to get yourselves a snack and take a little bathroom break. This is a novel.

Flash #1: “How would that go?” And here I thought you were the one with the gift…but if you’d like, I can recommend some books or an instructional video. (Ha! you walked right into that answer)

Scully: “Why the Spinsterwitch moniker?” Back in 1996, I was on a listserv for women about spirituality and stuff, and most of them had internet names. I had worked, prior to that, at a title company and had once come across a mortgage that listed “Jane Doe, spinster” as the lendee. When I asked our lawyer about this, he kindly explained that, in the state of New Jersey (where the mortgage had originated), any unmarried woman over the age of 26 was legally designated as a spinster. This was 1992 and I was appalled. Flash forward a couple of years: I decided that I wanted to reclaim the term spinster (since I had reached the age where I would legally be one, anyway) and also acknowledge that I was pagan. So I combined the two…I’ve used the name as an internet persona ever since.

Lord Bargain: “Why have you ended up living where you live?” I was living in DC and knew that I wanted to move, but not return to my home state of Minnesota. I came out to visit a friend who was in seminary here. It was March and the flowers were already blooming, and the produce in the grocery was so good and fresh. And it was just beautiful. So I applied to UC-Berkeley for social work and was accepted.

“Who’d win a fight between a lion and a tiger?” The lion, more specifically, the lioness.

AJ: “Why is Celine Dion such a peckerhead?” I only have passing knowledge of Celine, but it may have something to do with the fact that the man who practically raised her married her. That’s got to warp something.

Flash #2: “If language and economy were not issues: where in the world would you choose to live?” This is so much more complicated than language and economy…there’s details like family, weather, friends. But if I could arrange things the way that I wanted, I would live (with all my family & friends there too) in Edinburgh…and maybe winter in Spain.

“Do you believe in extra terrestrial life?” Yes…I do not know if said life has intelligence or drive…and I think it is somewhat narcissistic of us to assume that any intelligent life would seek us out (and if they did want our earth, why wouldn’t they have come before now when there were still resources left). But I do love a good sci/fi novel or movie about aliens.

“How great am I (on a scale of 9 to 10)?” 9.7 – we need to leave you some room for improvement!

Urban Fox: “What’s your earliest memory?” I remember pretty clearly waking in my crib one day and waking Sister up (which my mom says I would do by singing to her). In my memory she came and got me out of my crib. More likely it was my mother. Since I was only in my crib until I was about 2, it was earlier than that. My mom is convinced it’s a somewhat accurate memory because I can describe exactly how the room was set up…and it was never in the same set-up afterwards, as I was the youngest and the crib was removed.

Charby: “What sense do you think you could handle losing the most?” This is a very hard one…I guess it would be my sense of smell (although you also lose some of your ability to taste when your scent goes). I just hope I don’t ever lose any of my senses!

Dan: Do I agree that “well-behaved women don’t make history. What about well-behaved men? Do they make history?” Very few well-behaved women have ever made history…most women who made history have had to go against societal conventions about women’s proper place in some way. I know that this has changed a lot, although there are still countries where this is not the case. There are more cases of well-behaved men who have made history (because it is a man’s place to make history…historically speaking), although some of my favorites were not well-behaved at all.

Swiss Toni: “favorite book, album, band and why for each” Favorite book: Imago by Octavia Butler…because Octavia is brilliant! But also because I felt a lot of affinity for the main character, Jodahs. Favorite album: This is hard because I feel like I’m going through a seachange in my musical tastes…but I’ll go for an oldie in my collection that still makes me happy…In This Land by Sweet Honey in the Rock. These women from DC use their voices as instruments in ways I had never heard before, and seeing them in concert was not to be believed. They are so powerful and talented. Favorite band: again back to an old fave…The Indigo Girls. Amy & Emily’s musical styles are so different and they blend so well – and their lyrics are sublime – and they rock! onstage.

“What’s your favorite period of history and why?” Just one?! Elizabethan England…there was culture, there was exploration (Sir Francis Drake!), there was a promise of something…the seeds of revolution, I think…and there was delightful bawdiness!

“What qualities do you look for in a man, and what do you lust after?” What I look for in a man is a sense of humor, kindness, someone who shares at least some of the same interests as I, and that elusive trust built on mutual respect and admiration…and what I lust after – someone who knows how to just take that little bit of control – that’s what I lust after (although I’ve been known to be turned on by the strangest things…a nice set of forearms or hands for instance…)

“How do you take your tea?” Decaffeinated, sometimes black and sometimes with a lot of cream. No sugar, honey or lemon, thank you very much.

“How would you execute Mick Hucknall?” Oh, dear! I don’t have strong feelings about Mick, so I have a hard time being creative about how he might be done away with. Sorry!

Mr Mystic: “If it were possible is there anything about yourself you would change?” I sometimes wish that I had more natural charm…

Fred: “How did you wind up in Oakland?” After living in Berkeley for several years and getting to know the Bay Area, I just really liked Oakland. It reminds me some of Minneapolis (maybe because it has a “lake”)…so when a friend’s roommate was moving out, I moved out…then later into my own apartment. I love the diversity and its closeness to SF, Berkeley, San Jose, Napa, Sebastopol…just about anywhere you’d want to go around here.

Sunshine: “Do you have siblings?” One - Sister…she’s going to be 40 this year, bless her. We’re so different that my mother used to joke that she was the postman’s offspring and I was milkman’s (yes, yes, my mother is an odd one).

“Do you have a talent? If so, what is it (i.e. juggling)?” If called upon to perform at a talent show, I would probably read some poetry…but no talents like juggling, I just end up dropping the oranges.

“Prefer to be hot or cold?” Both in moderation are good…but over long periods, I deal better with the cold. There are two reasons for this 1) heat stroke when I was 4, and 2) I was raised in Minnesota where it’s winter for about 6 months.

Moose: “When you close your eyes what do you see?” Darkness, sometimes some lingering light or color impressions. (That’s such a literal answer, but I’m just waking up…)

Bee: “If you could pick any historical figure and sit down and have a long conversation with them, who would you choose?” This changes almost daily…I think today it would be Alice Paul, early 20th century suffragist who was the main voice behind lobbying for a constitutional amendment rather than letting the individual states decide a woman’s right to vote. She was a pistol!

“What’s your favorite ever poem?”
On Earth
by Forugh Farrokhzad

I never wanted to be a star
in the sky’s mirage,
a select soul
or an unspeaking friend of angels.
I never left the earth
or took up with the stars.

I stand on the earth
and my body like a plant
absorbs wind, sun, and water
to stay alive.

I’m looking out the window.
I’m an echo,
not eternal,
and look for nothing but a song’s echo.
In the wailing chant is joy
and better than the plain silence of pain.
I look for no refuge
in the dew on the lily of my body.

People walk by have written memories
with a black line of love
on the walls of my life’s cottage.
Arrows are in my heart,
the candle is upside down.
What are left are quiet dots of faded colors
in puzzling words of madness.

Ever lip against my lips
conceived a star
and floated on the night river of my memories.
What good is a star?


Anonymous said...

Re: “Do you have a talent? If so, what is it (i.e. juggling)?”
Excuse me, how about painting, the ability to recall very interesting historical facts that turns what could be a boring old historical house tour into something actually fascinating, and you're incredible talent for WRITING beautiful poetry? And BeeDragon and I will only move to Edinburgh with you if we can also hang out in London and Amsterdam and summer in Venice sometimes :)

spinsterwitch said...

Well, yes, but those things aren't like juggling, are they? Still I do love the odd historical fact, don't I. And I sense a movement of my peeps in the right geographical direction...most excellent!

sunshine said...


Flash said...

That was all good Spins!

I'm with Hippy Chick in that I couldn't believe you didn't mention your paintings as a talent, you do yourself a dis-service missy!

And 9.7? I can live with that!

red one said...

Sorry I missed the chance to ask a question, but I reckon you've more than made up for a missed post with all those answers.

as for painting and history, you are right: those things are not like juggling. They're substantially more interesting than juggling. Put the oranges down and stop hiding your light under a bushell. Whatever a bushell is.


Ka said...

Argh, I missed the window to ask you a question.

Not to be silenced, however:

If you could have been anything, talent and opportunity notwithstanding, what would have wanted to be?

And what are YOUR favourite pair of shoes?

Hyde said...

Can you email me at I wanted to tell you something in private but don't have a way of getting in touch with you via email.



Fred said...

The lioness will win every time. Great post! We love novels!!

Charby said...

I hate the word Spinster, it reminds me of spiders and witches.
I always decided that I'd think of myself as a Bachlorette if it came to it.

spinsterwitch said...

Charbs - there's a great song by a band called Trip Shakespeare (out of Minneapolis in the early '90s) called Bachelorette. Sadly, that term became tainted for me with the reality TV show of the same name...although I admit to watching a season or two of it.

Lord Bargain said...

that's an early "earliest memory".

and I like juggling. It's a bloody good talent to have faced with young children, let me tell you.

the urban fox said...

You have cream in TEA?

*entire British Isles gasps*

Very interesting, Spinny. Hope you do this again.