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2003-01-14

Monique Wittig
B. 7.13.35 Alsace, France / D. 1.3.03 Tuscon, Arizona
Heart Attack

The first paragraph of Les Guérillères (1969):

“When it rains the women stay in the summer-house. They hear the rain beating on the tiles and streaming down the slopes of the roof. Fringes of rain surround the summer-house, the water that runs down at its angles flows more strongly, it is as if springs hollow out the pebbles at the places where it reaches the ground. At last someone says it is like the sound of micturition, that she cannot wait any longer, and squats down. Then some of them form a circle around her to watch the labia expel the urine. “

A message in my handwriting, from Beacon Hill, September 15 1986:

What follows is dedicated to my left eye.
This morning, while not going to work, while lying in bed with a damp towel laid across my eyes to ease the swelling in my sad left cornea, I decided that I would do this thing. I would set up the computer and copy out the first paragraph of Les Guérillères, and this would be the first thing I put into the computer; and other writings, my own and others’, I would add as they occurred to me. In my mind I kept repeating, “When it rains the women stay in the summer-house.” Thinking of the water, the raining, the squatting, the watching, the writing, the work that might get made, I was soothed, and soon slept, and when I woke up the swelling was all but gone.

An explanation in the form of a NEW CONTEST:

My rummage sale Radio Shack computer came equipped with a tape recorder and programs on tape. Radio Shack still sold blanks for saving work, but I was using an old tape I’d made of Joni Mitchell’s Blue. (Deploring Joni Mitchell’s failure to be a radical lesbian feminist, by actually typing over her music; and non-consuming new merchandise at the same time: Goliaths were falling!) But since I could only occasionally retrieve what I typed and saved on this badly-worn tape (which I still listened to sometimes), I copied everything off the screen by hand, as a back-up.
“What follows” refers to a never-ever-written essay about my conversion to radical lesbian feminism, and how closely this experience had paralleled the predicament(s) of the character played by Jeff Goldblum in David Cronenberg’s The Fly.
THE CONTEST: Name a first (or other) paragraph, other than the first paragraph of Les Guérillères, which possesses topical healing properties, and forward it along with anecdotal evidence supporting your claim.
THE PRIZE: A Joni Mitchell compact disc package. . .or some food.

Consolation Site: Once a good point, always a good point

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