The Muse comes to me and says, “Write it all as fiction. The story will tell what you want to say. What you need to hear. Learn to tell it as story.”
… Then she turns and walks away, white chiton swinging. And I’m left here still not knowing, how do you write fiction?
I stamp my foot, and the ground opens up in a crack that travels away from me, not very wide, not very threatening, but still it startles me. I didn’t know I could do that. What would happen if I were really furious?
But I’m not, just frustrated; even a wider fissure would be more productive than this measly one, I could go down in it and see what was down there. Some more dependable muse or oracle, maybe the old crone who sits above the tripod on the fumes arising from the omphalos at Delphi, she babbles prophecy in poetry that men decided it was their job to interpret, but I bet there’s a better way.
We can’t bring back the sacred snake Apollo killed there, we can’t restore the sacred grove the Sibyl prophecied from.All we have now is that chasm, how use it? What if a young priestess attends the crone, breathes the fumes too, dances to the babble, falls down in a swoon and sees visions, comes back, comes to, and tells the visions, tells stories, about who’s asking the question, stories about trees and stars and fish….
We need a third priestess, too: she feeds these two, a motherly type, she picks the herbs that grow around the vent, they grow strange there, stunted and twisty some of them, others lush and overwhelming. The broth from their leaves, picked at midnight or at dawn, at noon or at dusk…. it does strange things, different things. Anyone may take their chances with that broth, they don’t have to have the prophecy mediated by the other two women, but they still have to decide what to think about the effects. Do they cause dreams too? Do they affect the health? The mind? The mother cook priestess only says, “They’re good for you.”
Our heroine wants guidance but all those routes sound too risky, she’d rather stay home and clean off her desk. Nice clean desk, invites messing it up again, invites stretching out beyond business, busy-ness, no anchors to hold her back now, it’s cleared away. She lifts up above the desk and drifts into the monitor, into awareness only of cyberspace, of the magic mind mirror she thinks into, the computer, the word processor … that seduces, educes, draws out her thoughts, puts them down so fast she can keep running on, keep drifting, flying, moving to a new reality, a new set of symbols: a religion… or a culture…. or a literature … or a mathematics…. all symbol systems for interpreting reality, just as the very medium is, the cyberspace itself, the story: what would we do without it? If there were no God it would be necessary to create one.
Humans create such symbol sets to enable moving into dimensions that call us: what calls her now? Strangeness itself calls, the desire for the other, the turn-on of an existential threat, not physical, but psychological: the possibility of having to abandon one’s concept of self, what’s beyond that? Beyond who I am, beyond how I know myself, Why does stretching the mind attract? Loving the Other. The lure, the tingle, the frisson, the chill so thrilling, of difference so different it can’t be comprehended, encompassed, instead it breaks her boundaries, opens awareness farther than comprehension. Ware! the mind can fail… but it is the very mind that craves the beyond. The veil lifted.
All these metaphors of other, of growth, of transcendence, of what? …. I’m getting turned on by this, especially the dark Shadow of Mr. Right — ah! he’s Hades: he turns me on, he holds potential I have fled from, he stores it for me, offers it, looms up behind my sex partner offering himself every time, how can I accept him into me, accept the dark side of sex, of my sexuality, my masochism, my need to be overpowered, my playing along the edges the fringes the margins the thresholds of pain, of neurological jumps and jumpstarts and sidetracks and reroutings, raising kundalini through channels I have rejected, raising the energy to do what? Dedicate it how? Celebrate or honor or carry through? Followthrough, let it really rip, not shut down in the moment of orgasm? Do what with the orgasm? Do I surrender? Do I take control? Do I let my mind go, go out of body, how do I do this skillfully?
This is the lore I crave. Have craved so long. But turned away from in frustration, in disgust. Now I want to try again, to find it. Where is the path? the teacher? How can I pursue this, disabled as I am? How can I not? The earth is cracking, my world is coming apart. In Another Mother Tongue the lesbians had something to say, where else can I read how to do that? To work with that energy? Ask one of those sex therapists I almost trust? No, I’m shy. Try Fire in the Valley first, that video I mail-ordered on female genital massage. It came, and then I lost it for a year. But now I’ve found it again.
 Grahn, 1984.