marlene mountain
letter essay
june 1990

to unmale myself

dear jeanne 6/12/90

Thanks for your last letter and for the nice photo of you.

I'm honored that you have taken the time to look at books I've mentioned. There's a wealth of information these days (not much when I started looking in the late 70s) about women's past. At one point I was overwhelmed to see through so many lies about women (and 'great men'). I truly tried to seep myself in it all. When people wonder why women (some) and a few men are angry, I just know that they've not been exposed to herstory and his/story. Just reading a little about the 'witch' burnings--the instructions on how to do it by the catholic church--was more than I could take. But I wanted to know. The real history of men has been about fear. Primarily the fear of women-- therefore hatred, possession, and terrible attempts at control, which have for the most part succeeded. Once we truly get even an inkling, began to feel the wrongness in our very spirit and blood, I feel there's no turning back. It all must be talked about.

At least, that's how it is with me. I cannot drop it from my heart. It has to come out in my art. Very few times are these feelings accepted in haiku magazines. Haiku is basically a male art (and a form of control over the Japanese people). Defined by men (intentionally and unaware of what they were even doing--male thought being so pervasive and common) who had a variety of lives and stories to tell, and which we are so used to hearing about, even thinking like, even caring for, that any other expression is alien. All the 'disciplines' have been controlled and guarded by men. Women do feel, think, and see differently, but many like me have a past in male thought. It has been my pursuit for over 10 years to unmale myself. Not an easy task. If I can't find the models, then I must create my own. Then, to be blunt, if haiku and haiku magazines can't contain these female feelings, well, fuck haiku and the magazines. Other ways/places will appear when there is a definite need. 'We' first must create the poems, express the feelings, make an opening. Eventually, haiku and the magazines will have to take a look.

The days go too fast for me. After lots of energy the past couple months, it's not at its best this last week or so. Have had to practically withdraw from the outdoors because of the heat--until the evenings. And from the living room (where my new copier is) except for early mornings. But I've been postering away. Have over 70 images done, more in the works. There's lots of hard work involved, but at least what I get is what I've done instead of the disappointment with 'printerrs'--and their raised eyebrows. Tho I still have to wait on the tech to come and adjust the machine often.

There's definitely not something for everybody. Some of the posters are 'nature talks [back]'--one, a tropical-looking bird on a branch who says 'leave my trees alone.' Another, a hermit crab: 'stop i've heard that shit before.' And lots of female things.

The big problem now is making up a flyer with so many images. I'm trying to reduce them (each generation lessens the quality) to fit 6 or so to a page. And then determining color selection, price, postage, etc.

Jane wrote a good (tho a bit overflattering) response to Dywer's essay, but Francine didn't accept. I thought she got to much of what I'm about. He just doesn't get that I don't give a fuck about the Japanese tradition--for my writing. It's ok in its place.

Well, all for this time.

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