Quotations [and Responses] by Sandy Gillespie


“Quotations [and Responses]” by Sandy Gillespie


                             Helene Cixous [and me]          May 11, 1988, Irvine, California

I only know what my direct experience
               [strong current of her voice]
my life
               [rushes into me]
my body has told me
               [carries me]
and it’s open to question.
I am going to take only one way
               [the skin at her right elbow wrinkles into circles]
my way
              [patterns of her fifty-one years]
I consider it only an example.

Intertextuality is the basis of every text I write
               [Oran          across the chalkboard]
not a theory, just a need
               [Oran je          add self, get fruit]
For me, all texts are composed and grow out of intertextuality
               [born from the city that is a fruit that is a word]
We are composed beings exactly like a text
               [her hair is semi-sweet, the rich dark of my mother’s long ago]
composed of many people
               [tight-coiled, close]
Who we are depends on who composes us
               [my breath in sync with hers]
I’m mostly peopled with women
I might have been composed of men
               [my father had no interest, my brother eight years older]
and I would write differently
               [I would not write]
I want to write at the very edge of the abyss
               [leaping into chaos]
stories that tell secrets of life and death, almost imperceptible
               [the sleepwalkers are coming awake]
Writing must out write itself
               [write out itself]
go as far as possible from our limits and the limits of writing
               [the book has somehow to be adapted to the body]
and yet it is just words.

The voice is the essence of the body
               [body the essence of voice]
The first person always comes back
               [nothing changes from generation to generation except the thing seen]
It is necessary
               [her voice and mine and ours]
It is possible
               [it is coming, it is gathering, it is about to burst our heads]




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Sandy Gillespie’s Artist Statement: 

I am 66.
• At 41, I moved alone from San Diego, California, to Fairbanks, Alaska, to get
my MFA in poetry.
• I learned to backpack. To listen hard for moose and bear. To dress for -­‐35 and
watch, at midnight, for the northern lights.
• I worked with Tuma Theater, a half Alaska native / half non-­‐native theater
group that used Alaska native movement and drumming to tell stories.
• I built a dry cabin. Hauled water in five-­‐gallon jugs. “Showered” in my hand-­‐
built sauna.
• I taught English, theater, writing.
• I ran the visual arts department of a month-­‐long summer fine arts camp.
• I was visual and literary arts program director for the Fairbanks Arts
Association, then for the Alaska State Council on the Arts.
• I came out as a lesbian.

Author: A Room of Her Own

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