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Sunday, February 10, 2013



Zuza’s New Book!

“No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge.”  - Jack Kerouac
Dr. Zuzanna Szatanik (Professor of Gender Studies and Literature) 
What is brilliant about Zuza’s book, De-shamed. Feminist strategies of transgression. The case of Lorna Crozier´s poetry, is that it demonstrates a very clear and compelling argument for how shame can be traversed precisely by giving voice to women.  By allowing (or risking) women to voice their shame they are able to trans-gress the power that shame has had over them.  As a consequence of voicing shame–women can be liberated from the power that shame has had over them both psychologically and socially (symbolically).  What I especially like about the basic matrix of this book is that this same “de-shaming” strategy can be used to liberate other perceived acts of shame; indeed Zuza is brilliant in identifying the logic of shaming itself.   MORE

Objet petit a

The Unobtainable Object of Desire

Often when a person in power exacts 

their power onto a target (a group or 

person) they will use tactics of shame 

in order to silence the victim.  That is, 

they will “frame” the targeted victim in 

terms of “shaming” so that the target 

(the one who is a victim of sexual 

abuse or of a false accusation etc.) 

will be too ashamed to speak the truth– 

to trans-gress the oppressor by 

exposing the oppressor as the true 

culprit of injustice.  By discovering the 

power of “de-shaming” we are able to 

expose the oppressor for what they 

truly are. But not only are you able to 

expose the oppressor you are at the 

same time liberated from their 

oppressive scheme of “shaming” you.

 In this way the one 

who feels shame is able to reverse the 

table by exposing the truth, even if the 

telling of that truth is perceived as 

___________DUSTY CHAPTER 37 SPOILERS AHEAD_______________

But then: "Bliss, I saw Edward kiss you."
My heart beats.
It pounds.
It fights inside my chest cavity and struggles to get through my breast bone.
No, it whispers.
No, it repeats.
Then: "Bella—"
Closing my eyes, wishing he wouldn't do this, I say, "Garrett, don't."
But he says, "Bliss, I know."
And then: "I know everything."
I cover my mouth with both of my hands and open my eyes. Staring at the sand in disbelief, I shake my head.

He touches me. He reaches for my arm. And I'm crying. So hard. I'm sobbing.
He pulls me closer, and I don't move away. I give him one last chance to mean something, but compared to Edward, he means nothing.
I press my face into his shoulder and whisper quiet goodbyes on his skin. I circle my arms around the back of his neck and run my fingers through his too-busy-sketching-to-cut hair. I let him kiss the side of my face. I stand a little closer because I love his warmth. I love his skater boy scent: grass and sun and summer. The smoke smell I hate on myself is so good on him.
"I'll miss you," I cry.
"I won't be far," he says.
But he doesn't get it.
This goodbye isn't for now; it's for good.

Garrett doesn't let me go, though. He's still kissing my face, closer to my mouth. Little by little, perfect presses…
Until his lips are on mine and his tongue is parting my bottom from my top. Until he's inside of me the only way this boy has ever been—the only way he ever will be.
No, my heart groans.
No, it seethes.

When I turn around and look back into dark brown eyes, I find that the conversations around us have hushed slightly and eyes are darting, and I have the same feeling I had in my bedroom before I left. It's the same awareness I felt with Alice, and my parents. It's the same changeless sentience I've always felt when dealing with something other than my boy.

Either way, he wasn't fooled. He never was.
With his kiss only seconds old, still burning like a trespass on my lips, I say, "Garrett, you can't tell—"

I can't see through all of the commotion. A chair gets thrown, a person is pushed down, glass breaks. There's yelling from the door, and an entire group of people trying to hold someone back.
Love is knowing who it is.
Some, who were just sitting around the fire, get up from their chairs and separate from their groups, choosing to run toward the disturbance to get a better look, leaving only Garrett and I near the flames.
And I know—I know before I see him.
I know it before I even hear Petey yell, "Edward, back the fuck up!"
And I know before I hear Alice ask, "Why do you even care?"
And I know before Garrett says, "This is what happens when you keep secrets."

Go, my heart beats.
Go, it pulses.
The love I love the most takes one more step toward me before Petey and Ben both pull him back by his flannel.
There's more yelling and more cursing and more crying, and I can't stand still anymore.
I break from my spot in the sand and run toward him. The closer I get, as I move through bodies, I keep love's eyes. His body is being maneuvered and handled, but his eyes are mine, deep-dark and unbound.
And I hear people:
"What's going on?"
"Edward and Bella?"
"No fucking way!"

"Please," I groan between closed teeth, using her chest to push myself back.
I consider biting her face, pulling her hair and punching her in the stomach, but she finally lets me go.
When she does, I run.
This time, people move out of my way. They look at me as I pass. They wonder how they missed this.

Jasper, who's stuck firm in front of his friend, looks at me every time my name passes Garrett's lips. And as Garrett says things like, "He busted her fucking headlights," and "Remember at the beach … remember when Bliss was crying?" Jasper's expression gives nothing away.
His words do, though.
"Fuck Bliss," he says.
"She's not fucking worth it, Garrett," Jasper spits, turning away from me. "She's a fucking liar, bro. She's just a slut, G."
It almost hurts.
Garrett calms while Jasper talks to him, and when I notice him nodding his head in agreement, I turn away with no intention of turning back.
I want to leave.

With his hand circled around my small wrist, my boy forces my fingers from ripped cotton. He holds my arm up, glaring at me. Rather than cowering like anyone else would, I stand up to Edward. I give him my wrist, because his hold feels so suffocatingly right. I give him my eyes, because his are so fucking gone, he can just have mine. I say his name over his face, giving him air, because he's not even breathing.
"I want to go," I say, almost like a whisper.
Even if we're not a secret anymore, this is only for him.
My boy cracks a sarcastic smile as his fingers tighten impossibly more. "Yeah?" he asks.
I stand straighter, almost touching his chest with my own. "Yes."
Edward's eyes fall from mine, to my nose, to my lips—lips that still sting from being kissed by another.
My guy tilts his head in Garrett's direction. "That's not what you want?"
"No," I say without a thought.
He laughs, and all of his teeth show—like they used to. Except now, it's wrong. All of this.
Edward lets go of my wrist and takes a step away, killing me. "You fooled me, princess."

My eyes shift away from love for a half-second. All of our friends are standing around us, watching. It's only been a few minutes, but I'm already being met with uncertainty and mistrust. Alice has her hands over her mouth. Petey lurks in the far back, because he knew. Garrett is staring right at me, pleading silently. Nobody else will look me in the eyes. They kick sand with the toes of their shoes. Ben runs his hand through his hair, looking up at the stars. Jasper won't even face my direction.
They think they know.
They have no idea.
They're clueless to the roles they really played. How we used them. How we lied to them.
And our friends may feel betrayed now, but it's nothing compared to what they'll go through when they learn the whole truth.
Turning away from them is easy, though. Easier than I ever imagined it being. My only concern is Edward, and when I look at him, his eyes are on mine... and they're the only pair that matter.
"I'm ready," I say with my heart in my throat.

My eyes water, and my hands shake. Dried blood sticks to my elbow, and my arms and legs are covered with goosebumps. I'm losing everything that has ever been important to me; a veil has been lifted, and my innocence stripped.
But it's fine … as long as I have him, it's fine.
"All of a sudden?" he asks, still smiling. He pats his pockets, like he always does. "Why? Because you kissed this kid?"
I shake my head. Cold tears spill from my eyes, down my cheeks.

He would die for me, and I totally fucked him.
I let him down, just like everyone else.
I gave up on Edward, when my heart and my body screamed at me not to.
When he begged me not to.
Edward spits more blood on the concrete. He faces Garrett and says, "Go near my girl again and I'll fucking kill you."

I take a few steps, but I don't really start to move until I hear the side gate slam shut. Adrenaline that never really calmed pumps my blood and beats my heart. It moves my feet and thaws frozen limbs. Every nerve ending in my body sparks and erupts, lighting up dormant affection and taken-for-granted tenderness.
I can't let him leave again … not without me.
As I pass his sister, Alice grabs onto my wrist and jerks me back. I pull my arm, trying to get free, but she doesn't let me go. Her lips don't need to move for me to know what she's asking. Her eyes are screaming accusations, and her defensive stance is confirming her suspicions.
She knows.
Her best friend was never only her best friend.

Ignoring whispers from the group on the porch, I run across the lawn. I rush past Alice's Jeep, and Ben's BMW. I hurry under orange street lights and trip over a crack in the sidewalk. I press fallen leaves under my wedges, and I breathe in the cold sea breeze.
I wipe my eyes on my forearm and cry for him again, "Edward!"

Edward and my dad have moved from the driveway to the lawn. My boy sees me as soon as I come into view, but my dad has his back facing me. Love's dark eyes linger my way before slowly shifting back to Charlie's. Edward holds his hands up, as if surrendering. He shakes his head. He looks down.
Then my dad pushes him.
I scream, "Dad!"
Like I did when my mom pushed me, Edward stumbles back but doesn't fall.
My mom grabs my wrist, out of breath and panting, just as Charlie pushes Edward again. This time love falls to one knee, catching himself with his hands.
Too dire to care about my bruised wrists, Renee holds on to my right forearm with both hands. I groan against the pain, but fight for my arm.
"Mom... Mom, please! Please!" I cry, outrageously.

It's not until the next door neighbor comes out of the house to see what's going on that she lets me go.
With both of my hands free, I hurry and slide my thumb across the damaged glass on my phone. It slices me open this time, drawing blood, but the pain doesn't register.
While the phone rings and my mom tries to explain to the neighbor that everything's okay, I hurry away from her and run toward my boy.

Between her knees, with her arms wrapped around mine and her cheek pressed on the top of my head, I can't answer. There are so many things wrong with me. Everything is fucked up.
Our friends were never supposed to find out the way they did. Alice was never supposed to throw my purse at me. My mom was never supposed to block the door. My dad shouldn't be pushing Edward into the fence.
This is where we've fallen, though.
My hair has come undone from my braid and water from the lawn is soaking into my sweats. I've stopped fighting, only because the harder I fight, the stronger she holds.
Our neighbors from across the street have come out of their house.
"Renee, should we call the police?" they ask, standing on their porch.

Staying back with Petey, I watch as Esme runs heads toward my mother. They immediately start arguing. My mom is pointing her finger like she always does, and Esme is standing with her arms crossed, stunning, even now. But as my mother continues to explain what's going on, I see Esme's defenses fall and confusion take their place. My second mother looks at me from over her shoulder before giving her attention back to a woman she could never really stand.
"Did you know?" my mom asks madly. "Did you know about them, Esme?"
I take a few steps in their direction. Petey grabs my hand and follows, holding me back when I get too close.
Esme shakes her head, visibly crying. "I thought... I—"
Both women look at me, disappointment so apparent.

My heart breaker is in front of me, lifting my chin, pushing hair away from my face. "It's okay, B. It's better... it is."
I snap out of it.
I grab the collar of his shirt and pull. I cry like I've never cried before. I fight like I have nothing else to lose, because I don't.
I have no best friend, no family, no Edward.
I have nothing.
The worst part is he lets me. This life taker just holds onto me while I tug and punch and yell. I rip his shirt. I re-split his lip. I scratch his face. I pull his hair. I take us to our knees.
"I've done everything!" I cry, collapsing against him. "You can't leave me, Edward."
Our eyes meet and they stay for a moment, remembering, loving, memorizing.
Edward reaches up and twirls a lock of my hair between his fingers. He watches strawberry blonde dance in his hand before letting it fall.
Then we're being pulled away.
So when she asked how I was, instead of faking it like I always had before, instead of going along like I had for months, I told the truth.
"Shitty," I said, light and casual with my attempt at honesty. "Kind of... yeah, really shitty."
She laughed. Not at me, but the half-under-her-breath, half tell me about it kind. "Yeah?"
"Yeah." I nodded.
"That sucks," she said, lifting her left hand up curiously. "Pete said he's tried to call you."
I nodded again, looking at my feet. I had on flip-flops too, but the purple paint on my toes was chipped and the ends of my sweat pants were stepped-on and frayed.
"Yeah." I nodded some more, frustrated and bitter at myself, my mom and dad, him, the world. Everything. "They took my phone and watch me like fucking hawks." 

I was wreckage, anchored by a heart I hated for keeping me alive. Skinny, dingy, and indolent, I let the life I was left with go to waste, but that day, when I got home, I still hurt, but I felt somehow better. Not stronger necessarily, but at least like I wanted to be. I cleaned my room and made an appointment to get my hair cut. I went for a walk and kept walking until the stars came out. I cried when fireworks opened up above me, but what could I do?
The next morning, I stood up straighter. I shaved my legs and put on mascara, and I demanded my iPod back.
"You can keep me here, but you can't keep music from me. It's inhuman."


There was a time when girls like Bliss who were minors, were put away for behavior like this. Many finished their lives in institutions. In Dublin Ireland they were placed in The Magdalene Laundries for their entire lives. They only closed in the mid 1990's. 
The Magdalene Sisters - 2002 film Miramax 
Joni Mitchell's song Magdalene Laundries

Now Dusty is out as a book - Innocents


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