I Keep Thinking About Something Adrienne Rich . . .

. . . wrote about women and lying.


Well, because I’ve been thinking a lot these days about blogging and truth-telling. You know, the opposite of lying.

I discovered women’s blogs when I moved out of the city. How? Looking for recipes. Back in the Bay Area, I would have simply grabbed a copy of Saveur on the way into the supermarket. Oh look. We’ll have Thai inspired shrimp skewers with cilantro jasmine rice. Done.

In the boonies, it’s not so easy. See Jane search for recipes and come up with all these women’s blogs. Like Etsy, you can get lost reading about these women’s live. What struck me then, and what I think has been lost, is how honest they were, which is why I was thinking about the essay I’m going to share with you.

I mean back in the day even Pioneer Woman was writing things like this little poem:

“Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, their war crimes pierce my brain.
Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, I slowly go insane.”

Now, that she’s on Food Network it’s all sweetness and peonies 24/7.

Not that I blame her. Her children have the right to their privacy now that she’s a big star. But, I think the national conversation anonymous women were beginning to have with each other has been diverted. That’s too bad.

I set out from the beginning in this blog trying to tell the truth, well, as much as I could, without spilling the family secrets and all. Maybe I focused too much on the positives. Here are some things I might have left out:

Living in the middle of nowhere is not always easy.
I miss going to foreign films in San Francisco. What I don’t miss is the city’s nightmare traffic, so Yoo-hoo. Netflix. But, it’s not the same. It’s just not.
Rattlesnakes scare me, and they are part of life here. Only one this year so far.
Killing rattlesnakes scares me.
Dave killing rattlesnakes scares me.
I worry about my cat when I hear the coyotes.
I will never waste days freezing tomato sauce again. It’s the fresh tomatoes I want anyway.
The heat in July gets to me and makes me crabby.
I even get tired of the relentless sunshine.
And yes, I get tired of cooking ALL. THE. TIME.

And this list covers the externals. It doesn’t reveal what goes on inside, all the self-doubts, weak moments, fears, disappointments. I told Dave that this year I felt like a sponge just soaking up everyone’s sorrows. But, my friends and family have the right to their privacy. So, I can’t really talk about it.

What I can do is share something that guides me in my blogging, my fiction writing, my friendships and my life. This quote comes from a book by Adrienne Rich called ‘Women and Honor: Some Notes on Lying’, (1975).
Here goes—

The possibilties that exist between two people, or among a group of people, are a kind of alchemy. They are the most interesting things in life. The liar is someone who keeps losing sight of these possibilities.

When relationships are determined by manipulation, by the need for control, they may possess a dreary, bickering kind of drama, but they cease to be interesting. They are repititious; the shock of human possibilities has ceased to reverberate through them.

It isn’t that to have an honorable relationship with you, I have to understand everything, or tell you everything at once, or that I can know, beforehand, everything I need to tell you.

It means that most of the time I am eager, longing for the posssibility of telling you. That these possibilities may seem frightening, but not destructive, to me. That I feel strong enough to hear your tentative and groping words. That we both know we are trying, all the time, to extend the possibilities of truth between us.

The possibility of life between us.

Anyway, this explains why I haven’t even tried to go commercial— no photos of Land-of-Lakes butter or Kraft cheese.

I want to create a space for myself that’s safe for “groping tentative words” a place that extends the possibilities of truth and of life between us.

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