Monday, December 8, 2014

Adrienne Rich's Vision

Adrienne Rich
I’ve been plowing through journal articles written about women’s friendships.  I’ve noticed that there are many more written about the problems women have being in friendship with another women and the numerous ways women inflict pain.  From a spiritual standpoint, this seems to affirm the numberous stories I’ve heard about how women in circle act towards other women.  The behavior includes: being cruel, talking behind another’s back or not acknowledging another.  When I hear these stories, it rubs me the wrong way.  It is in conflict to what I believe is supposed to happen in circle and is probably the main reason why some women choose to go solo - myself included.  Who wants to be in a group where you are rejected, ignored, experience the silent treatment, betrayed, ostracized or pressured to leave the group?  And, if you refuse to join into this behavior then you get the backlash of this behavior.  

Adrienne Rich wrote an essay in 1980, “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence.”  The essay has been analyzed, reviewed, and pulled apart by numerous scholars, feminists and etc.  I see Rich’s essay as a vision statement for the future.  Who wouldn’t like a circle or a workplace where you could say, “it is the women who make life endurable for each other, give physical affection without causing pain, share, advise and stick by each other,” (Rich).  I see Rich’s vision statement up there with Martin Luther King’s dream of a world without racism.  

I think the question becomes how do we achieve this future? What do we need to do to make it happen?


At Willard Brook
by Adrienne Rich
November 18, 1961

Spirit like water
moulded by unseen stone
and sandbar, pleats and funnels
according to its own
submerged necessity —
to the indolent eye
pure wilfulness, to the stray
pine-needle boiling
in that cascade-bent pool
a random fury: Law,
if that's what's wanted, lies
asking to be read
in the dried brook-bed.

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