Friday, February 19, 2010

We went to hear Eve Ensler speak last night, at a benefit for KPFA. She was completely inspiring--in fact, she was not just inspiring, she embodied inspiration altogether. What a privilege to witness someone who is really in service to an energy greater than herself, a servant of the Divine Feminine. As she puts it, "Vaginas took me over and had their way with me." Now she is devoting her life to ending violence against women.

She speaks out ceaselessly about the rapes and torture going on in the Congo--rape as a weapon of war, and also about the wars women wage against our own bodies because we have been so deeply inculcated with unattainable images of perfection. (For more information on this, if you go to and type Nicholas Kristof into the search engine, he has reported extensively on this. Or go to the Huffington Post and search out Eve Ensler.)

I got to meet her for a minute backstage and she is also really pretty! She is in her late fifties but her skin is fresh and rosy like a young girls'--she glows. And she was totally present and warm and gracious even though there were hundreds of people lined up waiting for her to sign their books.

I was pleased and touched that Christopher accompanied me to hear her speak. There were a handful of men in the audience, but of course it was very estrogen-heavy. There were a bunch of girls from Berkeley High who had been involved in a production of The Vagina Monologues there--certainly no one was doing that kind of theatre when I was in high school! Ensler spoke about giving up security, or the illusion of security. I find her inspiring and terrifying. The terror is like the terror of standing at the edge of a high mountain. Part of me wants to jump off and fly the way she does, the other part clings to home.

Her latest book is called I Am An Emotional Creature. It is a poetic defense and support of girls, and their emotional lives. Their (our) passion, depth, empathy and intensity. Many of us have had to learn to tone these things down as we grew into adult women. Some of us (me) have even learned to shut them off. Yet I certainly was a tearful, passionate, boisterous, humorous and intense girl in my day. And somewhere that girl lives on inside of me.

I wish to report on the status of the kitty names in our family. We are adopting Trixie (yes, Christopher won that one.) Her little black sister is My Sharona. Her big white and black sister is True Dee (Trudie, for Gertrude Stein--I wanted Trudie and Trixie, get it?) and the mother cat is named True Dat--homage to The Wire. The father cat, who is enormous, is named Tiny, and the other male cat who prowls around and may have fathered some of the other strays is Whiny, because he yowls all the time.

It's true that I lived here for ten years before Christopher and there were feral cats the whole time but I didn't take much note of them, because despite the fifty cans of cat food which I lugged home from Trader Joe's the other week, I am still officially Not A Cat Person. But I have to admit Trixie is very cute, with her tiger coat and white diamond chest. And to see her cuddling in Christopher's arms and hear her purr and witness his joy is to see true love in action.


Caitlin said...

oh, so jealous. How amazing to get to meet her! Thanks for letting us know, I'll have to find her newest work. Her work is just astounding in the most wonderful way.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the reference to Ensler's new book. i am the director of a teenage pregnancy clinic in SF and would love to read this work.

good kitty names! purr...

laurie b said...

i just want to tell you how much i love your blog. all of your writing, in fact. i was hooked after seeing one of your stories in the sun magazine a couple years ago. you would be my choice if i could choose someone famous to have dinner with - you are such an inspiration to me as i continue my own slow-but-steady journey as a writer.

Alison said...

Thanks, Laurie B. I think the concept of me being famous is hilarious, I'm mostly famous to the folks at my post office, the coffee shop, and my family (which is admittedly on the large side.) But I appreciate the good thoughts-- thank you.


laurie b said...

i am looking forward to reading all that you create in the future. you are an amazing human being, full of talent and heart.