Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

03 June 2006


A part of what is so brilliant about Naomi Wallace's impossibly clever One Flea Spare is her ability to describe sensation so physically. Her poetry seems to exist and take being right inside my hand as a hear it, as though I can clutch at her language. I don't have the play at my house right now, but there is a passage that goes something like this: The bird had a song like a long spoon and we drank from it like jam. And the song put a butterfly in our mouths and it fluttered its wings and made us laugh.

You get the idea. Lately I have been feeling something physically in myself that I haven't normally felt. I'm thinking about it today because I started a new book called The Gilda Stories. It speaks to me about sensation in ways I am not used to pondering, but in ways that make sense to me, as though they were things I learned a very long time ago, like history reaching out and finding me and reminding me of something I should never have forgotten.

I feel hungry. That's where this was headed. What I mean is that hunger doesn't manifest itself to me as a dull knowledge or reminder any more. Instead, it is a physical ache, something I need in a way that I'm not used to needing. I don't specifically mean dissatisfaction or impatience (although I feel those all to frequently), I mean that I've begun to feel need as a physical sensation and my need has become insistent and powerful. It speaks to me as though it were separate from me.

Does anyone else know what I am talking about?