Sunday, May 25, 2014

"A Chronology of Water: A Memoir" by Lidia Yuknavitch

Rochelle loaned me Lidia Yuknavitch's A Chronology of Water... in the winter. It sat on my end table for months. Knowing she was graduating and I would be attending a residency focusing on my interest in water during the month of May, I plowed through this book in April (the second of surprising things accomplished before the semester ended). Many thanks, Rochelle, for knowing it was the perfect publication for me to read at this time.

Here are some highlights that directly relate to my series in progress (oh title, why aren't you forthcoming?):

"Events don't have cause and effect relationships the way you wish they did. It's all a series of fragments and repetitions and pattern formations. Language and water have this in common." (page 28)
"In water, like in books - you can leave your life." (page 152)

"It is possible to carry life and death in the same sentence. In the same body. It is possible to carry love and pain. In the water, this body I have come to slides through the wet with a history. What if there is hope in that. (page 247).

On 5th May 2014, two days after arriving at Surel's Place, I wrote the following about the previous paragraph: It's not just the body that has a history but the water and its relationship to that body. For Yuknavitch, her story was a chronology. For me (and perhaps this is because I am still immersed in another series with the same title), it is my autobiography in water. It's about what my family deemed important as a child (water as destination) and what they passed on to me. It is about giving meaning and specificity to the locations (that which I could not do with Nine Fake Cakes and Nine Bodies of Water to the degree I would have liked). It is about narrowing down who I am by seriously discussing where I am from and the places I once called home (though all are so far out of reach in the Midwest). It's about longing for and giving homage to the past (in some cases the past is yesterday and in others, the span of my life, my parents, my grandparents). At the same time, none of this will be advertised, unless asked, as these photographs have to be as universal as the cakes were in their appeal to others. This is not my story - this is everyone's.

We will see how effective I will be at the latter. Still sorting through images for more blog posts. It is not easy creating a lecture on what I have accomplished this month when I know so very little about it myself.

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