Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Giuni Russo, Karin Fossum, Robin Hobb and Women in Black

Giuni Russo
Night has fallen. La Professoressa is working on her class material in the room at the back of the house and I am writing in the room at the front, with the voice and songs of Giuni Russo, ringing out into my night. Just a few weeks ago, a new friend told me of this Italian lesbian woman artist, who died much too young,  September 7, 1951-September 14, 2004 promising to send me from the Colorado hills a CD of Russo's songs. Now they fill my heart. Strong, yearning, romantic, handsome and at times raucous with modern beats, with trills and oceans throwing up vocal mists, her mouth wide with sound and my beloved Italian now has this woman's hands, her sculpted face, her black suit, elegant and still. Once again, I learn of important things from new friends. I know I write so often of the struggles, of the hard places where nationalisms stifle the dignity of so many, and I write of the struggles or imply, of my own body, a body taken three times by cancer, and often unsteady and unsure of its future. But I am 70.

Now I am writing of what has brought me pleasure, what has helped me through the nights. Writers all new to me. The books of Karin Fossum, the Norwegian creator of Inspector Seder and his curly- headed wise in a different way sidekick, Skarre. Always with a dog somewhere in his life, Seder, and the world of these novels appear elegant to me, sparse clean sentences, touched with human elegance of feeling as well, with thoughtfulness and a quiet seeing of what lost humans are capable of. I find them comforting, kind in their depictions of domestic life frozen into loss. I cannot explain the satisfying quietness I find in so many of the Scandinavian detective writers, but I do. I will try their cleanness of line where you think you can see the cold breath of a winter's night slowing down and deepening the word's passage along the page. Other nights I have lived in the worlds of Robin Hobb, her Liveship Traders, her Farseer Trilogy and again found human kindnesses and delights of the imagination, hope for our better selves. Torments yes, but there is no malice of power in the author's quest--while she remakes serious histories from the known world like slavery and domination of women into tales of possibilities where ships sing of their loves and their own transformations and animals guide us through snow laden passes into new countries of  imagined pasts. I ride these offerings of the imagination, whether sung or slung across the page, into the terrains of my own nights, funny perhaps at 70, fending off the unwanted darkness with books that sometime look as if they are written for children, with tales of death in frozen forest scapes, with the songs of a woman who could not have my years. I hope I have done well with them, with the mornings they have brought me to.

The reality of what must be faced in these days is as pressing as ever. I have written about our latest Women in Black vigil, the courageous protest of the 12 young Jewish men and women who stood up in a New Orleans event with Netanyahu, protesting the unquestioned might and right of Israeli positions (http://www.youngjewishproud.org/) and posted Marg's discussion of a recent conference here on the Boycott Movement all on our Women in Black website, http://womeninblackmelbourne.blogspot.com/    Nights and days--you can find me here or there, in the imagined places or in the real with imagined hope.

1 comment:

  1. I love the quiet of this post. And that you are 70 and with us still. Don't stop talking, and I will continue to listen.