outwait outrun outwit


an archive of pleasures, wounds, sublimations
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Instead of editing the introduction of my dissertation, I am scribbling lines like "My husband is/ a leaf of lettuce/ balanced on a rabbit's nose." Everything in my life aspires to the state of poetry, sigh.

My ex-husband hated poetry. My current one (and last one!) isn't interested in it either, despite his cousin the poet or Seamus Heaney gracing the pub with his presence one night, now immortalised in a framed photo beside the till. Poetry's too ephemeral for these dudes, who prefer the bombast of political theory (#1) or the seeming solidity of novels (#2).

Anyways, last night I was reading Hot Milk by Deborah Levy, which is strange, sometimes wonderful, "hypnotic" according to the Guardian, while stewing in a candlelit bath heated by our hearthfire (such fantastic efficiency appeals to my Virgo heart) when I recalled vital differences between the two husbands. The most important one concerned temperament: both are charming with lively minds, but the first one was a scorpion of a man—ruthless and manipulative, quick to sting and brutal with his feelings, befitting his combo of Cancer sun/moon and Scorpio rising—while the second one is easygoing and steadfast, ultra Capricorn (sun/moon; yes, I married New Moon men). Another difference, which makes the world for me, was the first one's intense interest in everything I did, versus the second one's absentmindedness toward me, made so by the preoccupations of a farmer and a publican.

The old husband would scrutinise everything I wrote, and list my failings in excruciating detail, and I would wilt with shame. You think your beloved has your best interests in mind, but sometimes they just want to shape you into some ideal woman, with chisel and hammer, as Pygmalion shaped Galatea from marble. That can be soul-destroying. Now my sweetheart frees me with his inattention, his chat of cattle and punters, his late risings and late, late nights out of house, and I thrive.


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