The time has come for me to complete this very quick time with the U of C. I am currently finishing my last class. Well I am not finishing it, I have just started, but it all feels like a finale of sorts.
So, here is my project so far… bit-by-bit.
-Writing 500-009 Creative Writing Final Project –
What Comes Before Comes Again
By: Dallas Barnes
“It does not do to trust people too much,” Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper
I took one of those nonsensical quizzes on Facebook a few weeks ago, it guaranteed to ‘measure’ your personality traits by analyzing the myriad of multiple choice answers to questions developed to gauge your disposition – sounds legit, I know. After minutes of clicking and averting Facebook ads – my most dominant trait: distrust? Fantastic. Although some caution should be adhered to when dealing with any quiz and analysis created by a person with the user name areyouserious69, I knew that this result was 100% accurate. Trust is a slippery slope and I needed to work on that shit. I need to understand why I wasn’t normal anymore.
I never expected to be here when I was normal. When I say ‘when I was normal’ I mean when I was about 5. And even than, I probably wasn’t normal. What I am now, what I have become, what came from circumstances out of my control, was never desired, not even for a possibly crazy 5-year-old. But, nevertheless it is mine to embrace and cherish like a big hairy mole protruding from the tip of your underdeveloped (in my own opinion) nose.
The thing is, I am crazy. I own it. The word is mine. I am also fat, and I own that too, but that is for another chapter. There are those people that will call me insensitive, politically incorrect, an ableist, blah, blah, blah, but I really don’t care. I earned that badge – that crazy badge of honour. Us crazy folk are a breed like none other.
I was 30 when I was first introduced to Charlotte Perkins Gilman. I was in University, working on my illustrious education as a Women Studies major which resulted in a career in the equally illustrious retail management. I digress however because my shit career is not Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s fault. In fact, she is my source of light, my constant, the butter to my bread. Charlotte Perkins Gilman gets me.
She was a crusader, a feminist, an activist, and a survivor. Abandoned by her father she was raised by her mother and aunts, Suffragette Isabella Beecher Hooker, Uncle Tom’s Cabin author Harriett Beecher Stowe, and children’s education activist Catharine Esther Beecher – the powerhouse of early kick-ass ardour for the ‘lesser sex’. She wrote about the role of women in society. She spoke the truth about patriarchy and the inane state of affairs in American society. She spoke to me in 2003.
It was one of my most enchanting classes – Women and Literature. I never knew I wanted to write at that point in my life, I just knew that I found a sort of magic in the understanding and the communal sense of subordination of all self-identified women. Women and Literature was simply an elective in my previously mentioned illustrious Women Studies Degree.
My professor had us read a work of her choosing as homework each week to prepare for the next classes lecture. We were bestowed with such great works from the likes of Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, and Flannery O’Connor. These were all works of art; however, it was the one andgb , only Charlotte that ignited my soul. The Yellow Wallpaper, written in two days in 1890 stayed with me even as I stare at this computer screen.
“And she is all the time trying to climb through – but nobody could climb through that pattern – it strangles so…”
That fucking pattern.