Diary of a Marked W•man

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Paris, May 2007

June 8, 2007

This is a brief summary of the month of May:

I reflected a lot on what I had written last month, about the things my mother did that revolted my sense of justice as if she was trying to offend me so profoundly that I would become anti-social and would spend my life harming people to get back at the world. I only mentioned my mother last month, but now I realized that my father acted also in outrageous ways, for instance when I was 16 or 17 he offered me a small job every afternoon at his store during a summer month and then he never paid me.:

I was so profoundly upset -not just for the money but also for the injustice- that I was still mute and somber at the Christmas season. At that time my parents went to Geneva in Switzerland one day -to bring cash to their bank account that my mother carried hidden in her girdle, I learnt years later- and when they came back they gave me a two-dollar cute notebook, the kind you ask your favorite singer to put his autograph in, and they made a lot of fuss about it and without saying it in words, they let me understand that it was to compensate for my upset feelings end of story. So they expected me to show appreciation for this new insult and pretend everything was allright!:

Mom in particular had this special talent for creating an atmosphere of goodwill, maybe by saying a kind word at just the right moment, or a small flattery that makes you feel special, and acting with the confidence that now that she and dad have made a symbolic gesture to replace the hard cash that was promised in the initial contract, all accounts are settled, which discourages any expression of disagreement. The type of attitude that is certain to foster resentment and hatred that are both intense and repressed, a recipe for future disaster.

Yes dad also did outrageous things with an aplomb that floored me. Coming back from Portugal in 1967 he did something that made me write in my diary that I despised him and I was so profoundly disappointed in him that ten years later I was still in agony at the pain he caused me.

My conclusion is that he did all he did -and mom too- not out of negligence and carelessness -which would be bad enough- but deliberately to harm me and turn me into a criminal. We all know that all criminals had a tragic childhood, so there I was, being scientifically injured emotionally in order to produce what they needed: a deviant willing to do anything wrong to take revenge, and then they would be able to exploit my willingness to act out and offer me outlets that would help them to reach their goal.

Why while we were in Portugal did dad announce that he had received a telegram from his friend Jean Nicolas saying that Agnes back in Annecy had published a marriage announcement? Neither he nor mom did explain the significance of that, nor the date the marriage was announced for, but they acted like it was a catastrophe and spoiled any fun, which probably was the only purpose, for once we were back in Annecy nothing was said of it. Agnes was in favor as if nothing had happened. I was so young that my emotions were completely dependent on my parent's moods, and if they acted like something was wrong, it was enough to make me feel bad. If they said something terrible happened, I felt terrible, even if the event they said was terrible didn't seem so bad to me.

This month I bought three books from my childhood. One about an Inuit boy's life by explorer-ethnologist Paul Emile Victor, another about two children brother and sister living alone in a ruined castle, and the third about the "devil's slaves". I love the book about "Aputsiak" the young Inuit but was surprised that toward the end, he dies in his sleep after a full life and one sees his soul in the shape of himself but all white and transparent, rise up from his body, then walk on a long snowy path towards the Inuit's paradise where tents are comfortable, game plentiful and polar bears friendly. And everybody in Inuit paradise, even the birds and the mammals has a small star above their head to indicate that they are in the Beyond.

Reading next "Deux Enfants dans les Ruines" I understood why I was so impressed by this book. The ruins in question were not, as I had thought in the past years, due to WW2 and the fact the children were alone wasn't either due to the war. One, two children live without any adult supervision for two months, quite a long time, and arrange a living space in a ruined castle. That is one of the great events of the book. The reason they are in this situation is because their widowed mother just died and they have heard neighbors talk of sending each of them to different orphanages and since they don't want to be separated they see no alternative but to escape. But instead of going far, far away as the boy had first planned they settle in this ruined castle that is not too distant from their village, and at night the boy goes back to his house to pick up things that they need to make themselves more comfortable, he brings the lace pillow and all necessaries so the girl can keep busy during the day time making something that can be sold, while at the same time he weaves baskets as he learnt how to do it from his dad and he has rush stored in the house, and he also picks up vegetables from his garden so they can eat without going shopping. So this also is of great interest for a child.

The fact that they are hiding and doing things in secrecy -entering the house, taking things, digging up potatoes at night without awakening the neighbors- though these things are not criminal is also very attractive for a child; But the part that most interested me this time and I think greatly impressed me as a child though I had forgotten, is that the boy finds access to the underground of the castle and after exploring one cave he finds access to a bigger cave and somewhere there is an underground spring. Now I remember how fascinated I was as a child and even as an adolescent by underground streams and lakes. In the story the boy also finds a locked door and inside there is a strong box with plenty of gold and silver coins but I didn't care about that at all. The big fascination was the exploration of the underground, where you start the journey by going down instead of up. For much of my childhood and adolescence I was fascinated by speleology and wanted to make a living at it. When other girls wanted to be teachers or nurses or baby doctors all the occupations I wanted to make a living at ended in "logy": archaeology, speleology, vulcanology, geology. And you can add "hydrology" to the list though at the time I didn't know the word.

Who knows, given the right circumstances I would have become a scientist. What makes me angry is to think we studied a lot of stuff in school without ever being told the practical applications of these sciences. For instance geology was never connected to mining or petroleum science or civil engineering -building of tunnels, roads and bridges- so that even if you were passionate about something it looked like it could only be a pastime, not a profession where you make a living doing what you love.

As for the last book "the Devil's Slaves" it was the most disappointing of the three and I didn't finish it, didn't even read the part about contemporary celebrations of the black mass in bourgeois salons. Taking the Sharon Tate murder as a starting point it reviews sorcery through the ages. The book is poorly written and researched but you can't expect too much from this sensationalist collection ("J'ai Lu"). Good thing it was a cheap paperback. I remember thinking way back when that to get seriously into this occultism stuff like Blavatski you have to be a nutcase and nothing I read in that book this time either made me change my mind. Those people apparently didn't learn wisdom for all their efforts for they got involved in infantile rivalries. At bottom I think is a strong desire to acquire power over other people to make them do one's bidding and this pursuit is neither healthy nor legitimate as it is an attempt to overcome other people's free will. Real power comes from mastering oneself.

Early in the month I finished a tablet weaving experiment in double-face. The motifs were the famous motifs from the Mamasa Toraja Betel Bag. Except for the windmill which is in the Otfried Staudigel book, and the motif number 1 of the series, I had never woven them.

I was excited to try them all and only because I was just playing around doing an experiment and because I didn't have the patience to weave these blank spaces and bars that separate each motif from the other like van Epen and Steinmaus did, I had to chose how to make the motifs follow each other.

First I repeated one motif and observed that the space between the two was in itself another motif. Then, to stave off boredom, I tried to make different motifs follow each other and in doing so I discovered that there are affinities between certain motifs, and that by respecting these affinities one can create an ever-changing, uninterrupted visual of any length.

Motifs that start and end with two prongs have an affinity with motifs that start and end with one prong or three prongs. That is because the 2-prong form is like a female shape with empty space in the middle, whereas the 1-prong and the 3-prong are male shapes whose center prong fits in the female space. In order to make them follow each other seamlessly one needs to weave the last pick of one motif at the same time as the first pick of the next one. This rule works with all the linear motifs in the Betel Bag series.

Some motifs are not linear but rather blocks of contrasting colors, like for instance the windmill motif where the space is divided into triangles. It is possible to make these block motifs follow each other without interruption in any combination.

Other motifs are linear in the middle but have fork-shaped blocks at the end. These may be used for transition between a series of linear motifs and a series of block motifs.

When one linear motif follows a block motif or the reverse, if one wants to maintain a symmetry between the beginning and end of the motif that is ending, one needs to cheat a bit by making a hybrid transition into the next motif.

The advantage of making all the motifs blend into each other is that it is visually much more pleasing and interesting, like musical variations. It is also much more intersting to weave, as the variations are almost endless, the transition between two motifs creates a new motif and is another source of interest, and there is no precious time and warp thread spent weaving a separation between motifs.

Finally this experiment proves that this is the way the motifs were probably intended to be used, like different-looking links in a chain, the choice of the order in which they appear being left to the weaver's discretion. I know on the Betel Bag specimen all the motifs are separated but this does not mean that it is MANDATORY to do the exact same thing. Besides, hey, I'm here to have fun! See the photos at my new Flickr page

Being very satisfied with my experiment, I changed subjects and opened my Dover book on Filet Crochet -first published in 1919- and settled my choice on a square doily with a fabric center in thread size number 50. The motif is a big rose with leaves and buds. This motifs repeats on all four sides and the piece is crocheted in a round then goes in the opposite direction after the round is closed, with 4 shells forming the four angles that miter elegantly.

With such small thread the motif starts with 52 meshes per side, and increases by 2 meshes per sideat each new row. There are 32 rows in all, which means that the last row has 64 meshes added to the initial 52, i.e. 112 meshes per side x 4 sides make 448 meshes on the last row.

Reaching the end of the second ball of thread (268 yards - 245 meters each) towards the 26th row I was relieved that the motif was thinning out considerably so the work got faster even though the number of meshes increased. But while I was in the thick of it I worked really hard every day for as many hours as possible, doing nothing else. It was a really important piece. When all the filet part is finished one has to add picots both on the inside and the outside edge, and join the fabric and crochet parts of course, not forgetting to hem the fabric. But it looks very nice so what can I say? I hoped I would finish by the end of May but ran out of thread a little before and then ordered thread from Lacis in California.

I believe the reason I am doing so much crochet is because deep inside I fear I won't have enough stuff to show the RMI social worker. Once I've done enough I'll feel relieved and will be able to relax more but in the meantime I work every day even on Sundays, thinking it's better to work a smaller number of hours everyday than to bust my butt Monday to Friday and then do the week-end thing. Anyway since work is fun I don't have this artificial separation between work and play that people who have a regular job do.

I've noticed a new form which consists in making me wait in the shortest line where someone being cashiered is taking a very long time, prompting me to go to a cash register that has become free of customer, only for someone to spring and beat me to the cash register at the last second. Last time it happened at the G20 a young couple was a few steps away from the cash register apparently talking to themselves in a confidential manner, and just before I reached the checkout they jumped ahead of me so I said "Oh, I see you were waiting for me to move this way before going to the checkout." The young woman replied in a very caring tone "Oh, but go ahead!" They do this at the post office, making me wait in one line then making me change line as explained later.

Another type of harassment consists in making little children stand in my way so I have to ask them to let me pass, or having a child weave behind and around me and my crutches. I noticed it happened four times recently. I asked the two six year old girls to move over because they were barring me the access to the supermarket's interior entrance, calling them "gamines" and one of them replied "First of all we're not gamines!" And at the moment I left the checkout a little girl was spinning with her arms outstretched in the middle of the area and this time also I had to ask her to move over.

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