I am feeling the desire to celebrate a couple that I visited with the other day.
I. and W.
I. is a painter and sculptor. I first met her at an International Women's Day event at which I spoke. "You remind me of my sister in Hungary," she said.
I meant to visit her studio but somehow never got around to it.
I did manage to go to her art show opening night. She gave me a large smile when she saw me.
Her art is real, visceral. It makes sense to me. It is the type of work that I made when I made art.
Then, nearly a year later, I saw her and W. at a talk about Palestine. I did not realize that they shared my other passion. I finally realized who the W. was who wrote the monthly letters to the editor.
I spoke out that night. A man was not understanding our country's involvement in the Palestinian, oh I do not have words for it, genocide, mass encagement, do you have better words? I reminded him of our military aid to Israel. I didn't even think, I just rose.
I put I. on my e-mail list when I went to Lebanon. Without even asking her. I just did it and when I received her first response, I asked her if it was OK.
She was very happy to be on it. And so was W.
Last month, I. came by where I work. We gave each other a big hug and I gave her a short story that I had been meaning to mail her for over a year, "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Her paintings reminded me of this story.
I put I. on my "to call" list after that. But she got to me first and invited me over to see her paintings when the light was good.
She just finished a series of paintings of prostitutes. Bright blue and deep red. The workers no one wants to talk about.
I remember a class I took years ago where I suddenly realized that sex workers were maintaining the "morality" of other women. Satisfying the insatiable sexual desires of man. "Wouldn't it be so much easier if men could just learn to control their sexual urges?" I thought. But then we wouldn't be divided into good and bad, sexual and virginal, would we?
Years later, I still often ask myself the same question.
Divide and conquer is really what it is all about.
We had coffee amongst all the same Middle East history books I have piled up around my nest with the visceral relatable paintings hanging around us on the walls.
I can think of no other ending.