Monday, May 8, 2017

The Ground Beneath Her Feet 1/2


"The word "palimpsest" derives from the Latin palimpsestus, which derives from the Ancient Greek παλίμψηστος (palímpsēstos, "again scraped"),a compound word that literary means "scraped clean and ready to be used again". The Ancient Greeks used wax-coated tablets, like scratch-pads, to write on with a stylus, and to erase the writing by smoothing the wax surface and write again; this practice was adopted by Ancient Romans, who wrote (literally scratched on letters) on wax-coated tablets, which were reuseable; Cicero's use of the term "palimpsest" confirms such a practice."

By choice and by not bodies and identities are palimpsestic. I announce this, proudly, I am an newly minted Doctor. Dr. Darcy Mullen. PhD. Doctor me. My name is rewritten. I practice my signature. I fill notebooks with hearts around it (no I don’t). I’ve been advised to do something special to mark this.

Or else I will have nightmares for the rest of my life. In a way to commemorate this new name to write—new thing from writing, new writing of me—I make plans to write on myself. More specifically a tattoo artist will write on me and edit the palimpsest of my body. We begin June 20.

I have scars on my arm from a reaction to a medication in my twenties. I hate them. I hate the story they tell. I hate what I imagine people thinking when they see them. Scars are a thing we don’t talk well about. Dr. Darcy decided to edit and revise how my palimpsest of skin is in this world.

Dr. Me didn’t want to feel embarrassed about the history on her body, so she made a choice changing the history. History is, after all, written by the victors. That is how I will come to have images from Italio Calvino’s _Invisible Cities_ on me.

This copy, this cover, was from the first one I read. It’s followed me through half a dozen moves. The same copy came with me to Venice.

I have another tattoo; roughly the size of Minnesota, and a work in progress for 15 years. It is rewritten, and added to often. Many hands in its design and work. I’ve been told it looks like a beanstalk, a wild fire, a demented butterfly, and/or a large vagina. I call it the mothership for all tramp-stamps.

Multnomah County Library (Oregon), @MultCulLib,  seems to still be doing this creative and thoughtful thing: tweet them a picture of your tattoo and they give you a book recommendation. #Books4Tats I sent an image of the mothership, and after what careful consideration (I think), they recommended Rushdie’s _The Ground Beneath Her Feet_.

I have mixed feelings on Rushdie’s writing, but I firmly love the idea of connecting what is written on one’s body with what one might read. Now, dear Portland library, what do you recommend for this tattoo?  

After reading Padma Lakshmi’s _Love, Loss, and What We Ate_ I have mixed feelings on this particular book. After actually reading this particular book I will say that I’m glad I added it into my 4080 books .  

As I think about the own ground beneath my feet, traveling on it with my new name, and watching it change (as the EPA is being rewritten, as my scars are definitely a bullshit preexisting condition), I think about what _Invisible Cities_ tells me about stasis and change. Memory, desire, place and space rewrite themselves. This is a reminder I wanted written over my pulse and under my clothes are as I, name rewritten, move around and forward in this world.

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