“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]
[rushes into me]
my body has told me
and it’s open to question.
I am going to take only one way
[the skin at her right elbow wrinkles into circles]
[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
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-‐
• 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.