La Santa el Diablo wanted, more than anything, to be whole. S/he lived forever with the shadow of him/herself, the inner darkness hidden by her firm-nippled breasts, by his ape-like chest hair. Her eyes, his nose, her mouth, his chin: all bespoke the mask of gender covering the dark nature we all enclose below the surface of the constructed self. The cumulative impression could be of a luchador or a riot grrrl; either impression would be correct.
He knew she was a reflection of himself, but could not figure who was the reflection and who was the subject. Like a forest on the water’s surface on a windless day, sometimes the inverted reflection feels more like the lived-in body than the body itself.
But the shadow lingers, always, reflecting the inner darkness, which is not evil but simply unnamed. The shadow, in this sense, is truer, more real than either the subject or the reflection, for its silhouette contains the only self unfiltered by the constructions of another.
John Proctor, Untitled
American, b. 1973, playing from Brooklyn, NY, USA
John Proctor lives in Brooklyn, New York with his wife, two daughters, and Chihuahua. An active reader on the New York City open mike scene, he’s written memoir, fiction, poetry, criticism, and just about everything in the space between them. His work has been published in DIAGRAM, Superstition Review, Underwater New York, Defunct, New Madrid, Numero Cinq, McSweeney’s, Trouser Press, New York Cool, and the Gotham Gazette, and is forthcoming in The Normal School and Austin Review. He serves as Online Editor for Hunger Mountain Journal of the Arts and Resident Dad columnist for the blog A Child Grows in Brooklyn. He completed his MFA in nonfiction writing at Vermont College of Fine Arts, and teaches academic writing, media studies, and communication theory at Manhattanville College. You can find him online at NotThatJohnProctor.com/.
Thoughts on the Telephone process
To tell the truth, my contribution reiterated to me the limited power of my medium, words, in conveying the “message” of a work of visual art. That frustration, I think, actually became part of my “translation” of my piece’s message: words, and perhaps to a lesser degree visual images and musical notes, can never adequately express each of our dark inner workings. As expressed in my translation, I don’t mean “dark” here in any sense as evil, but simply as “in the dark” or unknown to us.