Radio Inspire

How To Learn Sign Language

1996 ASL Literature Conference (Fjeld, Rose, Richards, Missy)


PEOPLE DIE. WHY IS THAT? WHY? WHY DO PEOPLE DIE? NOW… TELL ME WHY NOW. CAN YOU TELL ME WHY? CAN YOU LOVE ME? LOVE ME. ME, ME. LOVE ME. THIS IS HOME. A LONG TIME AGO… THERE WAS AN ANSWERING MACHINE CONNECTED TO A TTY, AND I SAT IN FRONT OF IT. AND MY MOTHER TYPED TO ME
ON THE SCREEN, “WE MISS YOU.” “PLEASE CALL US AFTER 3:00
TOMORROW AFTERNOON. PLEASE. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE,
MOM.” TOMORROW AT 3:00.
NO, NO, NO. AFTER 3:00 TOMORROW
I CALL MOM. I WATCHED THE PHONE ALL NIGHT AND INTO THE MORNING. I WONDER WHY SHE WANTS
ME TO CALL. AND I LOOKED AT THE CLOCK. 8:00. 9:00 10:00. 11:00. 12:00. WAITING. SO STRANGE. SO STRANGE. SO STRANGE. MOM. MOM WANTS ME TO CALL
AFTER 3:00 TODAY. AFTER 3:00. THE CLOCK GOT BIGGER
AND THE HAND WENT AROUND IN A CIRCLE AGAIN UNTIL
IT WAS 1:00, AND THE CLOCK GOT BIGGER
AND THE LITTLE HAND AND THE BIG HAND WENT AROUND
TILL IT WAS 2:00. AND THAT CLOCK WAS HUGE
FOR THAT HOUR. THE HAND WENT AROUND TILL 3:00. MOM SAID AFTER 3:00. WAIT, WAIT, WAIT. 3:01, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. 3:07. AND I PUT THE RECEIVER
ON THE TTY… AND DIALED IN THE NUMBER. “MOM? MOM?” I SAW THE LIGHTS, BUT
AN ANSWERING MACHINE PICKED UP. I PUT THE RECEIVER BACK
ON ITS CRADLE, AND THEN I PUT IN THE NUMBERS
AGAIN WHEN I PUT IT ON THE TTY AND GOT AN ANSWERING MACHINE
AGAIN. NO, NO, THAT DOESN’T
MAKE ANY SENSE. BACK AND FORTH, THE CRADLE ON,
THE CRADLE OFF. AN ANSWERING MACHINE
IT’S HEARING. I THOUGHT IF SOMEBODY PICKED UP,
I COULD SCREAM, I COULD TALK INTO THE RECEIVER
AND LEAVE A MESSAGE. THERE WAS NO REPLY. BACK AND FORTH AND BACK
AND FORTH. AND THE ANSWERING MACHINE
AND THE ANSWERING MACHINE, BACK AND FORTH AND BACK
AND FORTH. WHAT’S GOING ON? THE CLOCK IS HUGE. 3:45. I’M SO TIRED FROM WAITING. I TOOK THE RECEIVER OFF
THE TTY AND REPLACED IT. AND I WAITED. WHERE’S MOM? WHEN WILL SHE CALL?
AND THEN THE LIGHTS CAME ON, INDICATING THAT THERE
WAS A CALL, SO I PUT THE RECEIVER
ON IT AGAIN. IT’S MY COUSIN? MY COUSIN? SAYING, “I’M SO SORRY. “I HAVE SUCH SAD NEWS. “YOUR HOUSE CAUGHT FIRE. YOUR MOTHER IS DEAD.” NO! NO! NO. ALL NIGHT AND THE NEXT MORNING I WAITED UNTIL I GOT
ONTO AN AIRPLANE AND SAT THERE IN SHOCK. ON THAT PLANE FOR HOURS
AND HOURS. IT SEEMED TO TAKE FOREVER. I FELT A POUNDING IN MY HEART. SHH. A POUNDING IN MY HEART
AS IF SOMEBODY WAS BEATING ON THE WALLS
OF MY CHEST. BE QUIET. SHH.
EVERYBODY CAN HEAR YOU. AND THAT POUNDING WAS
SO INSISTENT. AND I LOOKED MORE CLOSELY
AND SAW A LITTLE DOOR OVER MY HEART
WITH A LITTLE KNOB, AND I OPENED THIS DOOR AND THERE WAS A CUTE LITTLE
GIRL WITH A BOW IN HER HAIR WHO STUCK HER HEAD OUT
AND SAID HELLO. “WHO ARE YOU?” “YOU DON’T KNOW WHO I AM? “ARE YOU CRAZY? I’M JULIANNA.” “OH, JULIANNA. WELL, WHAT ARE YOU
DOING HERE?” “DO YOU MIND IF I COME OUT?”
SHE SAID. AND I SAID, “SURE,
COME ON OUT,” AND THIS LITTLE GIRL WITH
HER BOW IN HER HAIR SAT RIGHT NEXT TO ME ON
THAT AIRPLANE, AND THEN SAID TO GOD, “GOD, SHOW ME A BEE. “IF I CAN SEE A BEE, I’LL KNOW
THAT MY MOTHER IS SAFE “IN HEAVEN WITH YOU. “WHY? BECAUSE MY MOTHER’S
NICKNAME WAS BEA. “B-E-A. AND YOU KNOW, B-E-A
RHYMES WITH BEE. “B-E-E. AND SO I’LL KNOW
MY MOTHER’S ALL RIGHT “AND SHE’S SAFELY IN HEAVEN
WITH YOU IF YOU CAN PRESENT TO ME
A BEE.” I GOT TO WHERE I WAS GOING. AND AFTER THE FUNERAL, MY FATHER AND I WENT BACK
TO THE HOUSE. WE WENT IN AND WERE WELCOMED
BY THE SMELL OF ACRID AIR, SMOKE HANGING IN THE ROOMS. WE MADE OUR WAY THROUGH
AND THE SOOT AND THE SMELL STUCK TO OUR
CLOTHES AND OUR SKIN. AND THEN MY FATHER SHOWED ME
THE STAIRWAY UP TO THE BEDROOM AND SAID,
“WE MUST GO THERE.” SO UP THE STAIRS WE WENT. AND OPENED THE DOOR
TO THE BEDROOM TO A SIGHT I WILL NEVER
FORGET AS LONG AS I LIVE. THE BLACKENED WALLS, THE BLACKENED FLOOR FOREVER
ETCHED IN MY MEMORY. A LAMPSHADE THAT HAD BLISTERED
AND THEN MELTED DOWN. THE BED COMPLETELY DESTROYED
BY THE FLAMES. I CAN SEE IT NOW IN MY MIND. IT WAS TERRIBLE. “DAD, DAD, LOOK,” AND I SHOWED
HIM ON THE FLOOR. AMONGST ALL THE BLACK ASHES, THERE WAS A LIGHTER OUTLINE
OF A BODY. “THIS IS WHERE MOM WAS.
YOU CAN SEE. “YOU CAN SEE THE OUTLINE
OF HER HERE. THIS IS WHERE SHE DIED.” MY FATHER GRABBED ME
BY THE SHOULDERS AND GOT ME UPRIGHT.
“PLEASE CALM DOWN.” “BUT MOM WAS HERE.
SHE WAS HERE. THIS IS WHERE HER BODY WAS.
I SEE IT.” “CALM DOWN,” HE SAID.
“CALM DOWN.” OVER AGAINST THE WALL
THERE WAS A DRESSER. AND I STILL SEE THIS IN
MY MIND’S EYE STILL. ALL OF THE CLOTHES HAD BEEN
BURNT TO ASHES. ASHES EVERYWHERE. I LOOKED OVER TO MY FATHER,
BUT HE WAS BUSY CLEANING IN ANOTHER AREA OF THE ROOM. OH, I REALIZED THAT’S
WHY WE’RE HERE. WE HAVE TO START CLEANING UP. AND I REACHED BACK TO
THE BACK OF THIS DRESSER, AND I WAS ABLE TO GET A PAIR OF
SHOES OUT FROM THE BACK THAT HAD NOT BEEN TOUCHED
BY THE FIRE. IT’S A MIRACLE. MAYBE THE ASHES HAD
PROTECTED THEM. AND I PUT MY HAND BACK AND I FOUND MORE AND MORE
AND MORE PAIRS OF SHOES, WHICH I LINED UP ON THE FLOOR
NEXT TO EACH OTHER. BEAUTIFUL SHOES OF MY MOTHER’S THAT MY MOTHER WOULD NO LONGER
PUT HER FEET INTO. NOW WE’D HAVE TO GIVE
THEM AWAY, AND THEY WOULD BE GONE. I LOOKED AT MY HANDS, AND UNDER THE FINGERNAILS
WAS BLACK ASH. AND I CAREFULLY STARTED TO
CLEAN MY FINGERNAILS. I WANTED TO REMNANT OF THAT ASH
LEFT BENEATH THEM. I WANTED MY HANDS CLEAN
OF THIS PLACE. I FELT SOMETHING PUSH MY HEAD,
TAP MY HEAD. WHAT WAS THAT? MY FATHER WAS OVER IN
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROOM QUIETLY CLEANING. WHAT COULD IT BE? I FELT THAT TAP ON MY HEAD
AGAIN. WHAT IS IT? THERE WAS A SENTENCE
HANGING IN THE AIR. “PLEASE GO TO THE LIVING ROOM
NOW.” WHAT? WHAT? “DAD, DAD. “WE’RE SUPPOSED TO GO
TO THE LIVING ROOM. SOMETHING JUST TOLD ME I HAVE TO
GO TO THIS OTHER ROOM.” “SO I’M GONNA GO THERE.” SO I WENT DOWN THE STEPS AND I WENT INTO
THE LIVING ROOM. MORE SMOKE HUNG IN THE AIR. I SAT DOWN AND LOOKED AROUND. WHY WAS I SUMMONED HERE? AND I SAW SOMETHING FLYING
THROUGH THE AIR. WHAT IS THAT?
WHAT IS THIS THING FLYING IN THE AIR? IT SCARED ME.
IT FRIGHTENED ME. UNTIL I REALIZED IT WAS
A BABY BEE THAT CAME RIGHT UP INTO
MY CENTER OF VISION. I WAS TERRIFIED. I DIDN’T WANT THIS THERE. BUT IT WAS STARING
RIGHT AT ME. AND THEN IT FLEW DOWN
TO THE FLOOR… RIGHT ON THE FLOOR. AND THE SUN SHONE THROUGH
A WINDOW, AND THIS BEE LANDED RIGHT WHERE
A SQUARE OF LIGHT HIT THE FLOOR. I GOT DOWN ON MY HANDS
AND KNEES, AND I CRAWLED AFTER THIS
TINY LITTLE BEE. IT WAS A BABY BEE. WHAT’S IT DOING THERE? OUTSIDE IT’S SNOWING.
IT’S WINTERTIME. HOW ON EARTH COULD A BEE
SURVIVE IN THE WINTER? WHAT’S IT DOING HERE?
WAIT A MINUTE. IT’S GOD. GOD IS SHOWING ME. GOD IS HERE. I SCOOPED UP THIS BEE. “MOM, MOM. MOM. MOM. DAD!” I YELLED. “DAD, COME,
COME, COME.” AND MY FATHER CAME DOWN.
I SAID, “LOOK, LOOK, LOOK. “LOOK, LOOK IN MY HAND. LOOK. IT’S MOM.” AND THEN THE BEE FLEW AWAY. “MOM, MOM,” I CHASED IT. I CHASED IT AROUND.
“DON’T GO. DON’T GO.” MAMA.” THE LITTLE GIRL WITH
THE BOW IN HER HAIR SAID, “I LOVE YOU. BYE.” I LOVE YOU, TOO.” WHAT ABOUT MOM? “COME HERE,” SHE SAID. AND WE EMBRACED EACH OTHER, THIS LITTLE GIRL AND I. AND SHE SAID, “I WILL CRAWL
BACK INTO YOUR HEART AGAIN AND STAY THERE.” “YOU WANT TO COME BACK IN?”
I SAID. AND I HELPED HER GATHER
HERSELF TO PUT HER BACK INTO MY HEART. AND THAT LITTLE GIRL WITH
THE BOW IN THE HAIR SAID, “NEVER SHUT THIS DOOR
FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.” “YOU’RE GOING TO STAY
THERE?” I SAID. “WHY? YOU’RE GONNA STAY
THERE WITH ME?” “BECAUSE YOU AND I WILL ALWAYS
BE THERE FOR EACH OTHER,” SHE SAID. AND SHE IS. ROSE: NOW, I’LL BE SETTING
UP OUR ANALYSIS FOR YOU. I’LL BE VERY BRIEF. BUT I WANT TO FOCUS ON
CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT… HOW JULIANNA CREATED
THE CHARACTER AND HOW SHE DEVELOPED IT. IT’S INTERESTING THAT IN
ASL POETRY AND STORYTELLING, CHARACTERS ARE EMBODIED
BY THE PRESENTER, WHEREAS IN WRITTEN LANGUAGES, LANGUAGES THAT HAVE
WRITTEN FORMS, THE POETRY AND LITERATURE
IS SEPARATE FROM THE WRITER. BUT WITH ASL, THE CHARACTERS AND THE SIGNER
IS MERGED. THEY’RE INSEPARABLE. THEY’RE IN THE SAME BODY. AND THAT’S QUITE IMPORTANT
FOR OUR ANALYSIS. THAT’S OUR FIRST POINT. JULIANNA HAS CREATED
THE BAG LADY AS HER CHARACTER. AND THEY’RE CONNECTED TO
EACH OTHER IN SOME WAY THAT WE LIKE
TO ANALYZE. JULIANNA MUST BECOME
THE BAG LADY IN ORDER FOR HER TO EXPRESS
HER LIFE EXPERIENCES. BUT WHY DOES SHE NEED TO
MAKE THAT ADJUSTMENT IN HERSELF, THE TRANSFORMATION? SECONDLY, WE’D LIKE TO DISCUSS
HOW THE CHARACTERS OF THE BAG LADY
AND THE INNER CHILD ARE DEVELOPED SEPARATELY. WHAT KINDS OF ASL TECHNIQUES
AND WHAT KIND OF THEATRICAL TECHNIQUES ARE
USED TO DEVELOP THEM? RICHARDS: OK, FIRST–
THE FIRST TIME THAT WE WATCHED JULIANNA TELL THIS STORY,
WE ASKED SO MANY THINGS TO HER. WE PULLED OUT HER STORY. THE CHARACTER OF THE BAG LADY,
WHY WAS SHE INVENTED? SO WHEN WE ASKED AND PULLED OUT
A GREAT DEAL OF EMOTION, RIGHT, AND IT’S STILL THERE. SO YOU WATCH AND YOU CAN ADD
ANYTHING YOU WANT. AND IF YOU DON’T MIND IF
I ASK YOU QUESTIONS. THE BAG LADY’S CHARACTER WAS
STARTED BACK IN 1977. SHE WAS FASCINATED BY STREET
PEOPLE AND THEIR LIVES. THEY TRIED TO JOIN THE, QUOTE,
NORMAL SOCIETY AND FOLLOW THE RULES. AND THEY FAILED. AND THEY TRIED AGAIN AND FAILED. THERE WASN’T A MATCH.
THEY KEPT FAILING. AND THEY FINALLY JOINED
THE STREET SOCIETY. AND THEY WERE FREE,
AND THEY WERE FREE TO BE HONEST. AND THEY WEREN’T FAILURES. THEY WERE SUCCESSFUL BUILDING
A LIVING SHARING WITH EACH OTHER, NOT TRYING TO FIT INTO
THE SOCIETY. SO SHE WAS FASCINATED BY THIS. ALSO, JULIANNA HERSELF,
AS A DEAF PERSON, HAD SOME PARALLELS, BECAUSE DEAF PEOPLE MUST TRY
TO FIT INTO THE HEARING WORLD, TO TRY TO FOLLOW THE HEARING
PEOPLE’S RULES AND OFTEN FAIL AND FAIL. BUT THEN IN THE DEAF COMMUNITY, THEY FEEL A BOND.
THEY FEEL MORE FREE TO EXPRESS THEMSELVES. IT’S SOMEWHAT SIMILAR. BACK IN 1977 UNTIL NOW, JULIANNA’S ALSO DONE
THE BAG LADY, BUT THERE’S BEEN MORE
INTERACTION WITH THE QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
BACK AND FORTH WITH AUDIENCES. IT’S NEVER BEEN HER STORY
FROM HER OWN REAL LIFE. SHE’S NEVER TOLD HER
OWN STORY. NOW, THIS IS THE FIRST TIME
SHE’S WORKED ON HER STORY. THE STORY OF HER MOTHER
IS A TRUE ONE. IN THE PAST, SHE MET AN
AUDIENCE, THEY TALKED TOGETHER. THEY’RE PLAYING TOGETHER. I WENT TO A JEWISH
CONFERENCE ONE TIME. THERE WAS SOME KIND OF TOPIC
RELATED TO MORE SURFACE LEVELS OF THE MIND AND WORD PLAYS. BUT THE EMOTION WAS KEPT DOWN. IT WAS NEVER REALLY EXPRESSED
WITH AN AUDIENCE, SO THIS IS THE FIRST TIME
WITH AN AUDIENCE TO EXPRESS THIS EMOTION. YOU UNDERSTAND JULIANNA TODAY HAD NO COSTUME TO TELL THE STORY
ABOUT HER OWN MOTHER. THAT’S IMPOSSIBLE. IF WE MET IN PERSON, SHE COULD TELL HER STORY,
BUT IT WOULD STILL BE SURFACE. THE FULL EMOTION IS NOT
POSSIBLE TO EXPRESS. IT’S TOO HARD. FJELD: I WOULD LIKE TO ADD
SOMETHING TO THAT. WHEN I AM MYSELF, I TEND TO
SIGN PSE. I USE ENGLISH WORD ORDER AND I TALK ABOUT THINGS
IN THE ABSTRACT. BUT WHEN I TALK ABOUT
AS THE BAG LADY, I’M FREE. I CAN SAY ANYTHING I FEEL LIKE
SAYING. I’M LIBERATED WHEN I BECOME
SOMEONE ELSE. RICHARDS: ALSO, IT’S SO
INTERESTING TALKING ABOUT
EMOTIONAL EXPRESSION. THERE’S AN INTERESTING
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN 3 THINGS. THERE’S JULIANNA HERSELF
AND THE BAG LADY AND THE INNER CHILD,
THE LITTLE CHILD. REALLY IN REAL LIFE,
JULIANNA HERSELF CAN’T TELL HER STORY
WITH FULL EMOTION. WHEN HER MOTHER DIED,
IT REALLY HAPPENED. SHE TRIED TO FACE THE GRIEF, AND IT WAS SO HARD.
THE PAIN WAS TERRIBLE TO FACE GOING THROUGH THAT
PROCESS OF GOING HOME. IT WAS REALLY DIFFICULT. BUT THAT INNER CHILD
CAME OUT AND HELPED. IT WAS SOME KIND OF A LINK UNTIL SHE FELT MORE ABLE
TO GET THROUGH IT. IT WAS VERY PAINFUL, BUT SHE WAS
ABLE TO FACE IT. SO SHE’S DEPENDED ON THAT
INNER CHILD TO HELP HER. IT WAS THE SAME
IN THE STORY. JULIANNA HERSELF CAN’T TELL
THE STORY TO AN AUDIENCE, BUT WHEN SHE PUTS ON A COSTUME
AND A HAT AND BECOMES THE BAG LADY, SHE MUST DO THAT. SHE HAS TO DEPEND UPON
THE BAG LADY TO TELL HER STORY. AND DURING THE STORY ITSELF, THE BAG LADY IS JUST
SITTING THERE. SHE CAN’T DO IT EITHER. AND SHE GOES HOME IN SHOCK. AND THE INNER CHILD COMES OUT AND IS FREE TO TELL
THE STORY. AND AGAIN, THE BAG LADY
IS DEPENDING UPON HER
HELP AND SUPPORT. SO IT’S ALL LINKED TOGETHER. IT’S VERY INTERESTING. OH, YES, I WANT TO BACK UP
JUST A LITTLE BIT. WHEN SHE TOLD HER STORY
FOR THE FIRST TIME, WHEN DID SHE MEET
THE BAG LADY? CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THAT? FJELD: YES. IT WAS IN NEW YORK AND… I’M SORRY. IT WAS IN NEW YORK
IN AN OFFICE BUILDING. AND I WENT DOWN THE STAIRS
AND I SAW A BAG LADY SITTING WITH HER STUFF. I WAS REALLY FASCINATED BY HER. SHE WAS TALKING, BUT SHE
SEEMED HAPPY. AND I PASSED HER EVERY DAY
WHEN I WAS GOING ON MY WAY HOME. I SEEMED TO LIKE HER. HER LIFE SEEMED INTERESTING. I WANTED TO KNOW
MORE ABOUT IT. SHE SEEMED SO INNOCENT. YOU KNOW, NORMALLY PEOPLE
GO THROUGH PAIN AND SORROW AND LOSE THEIR
INNOCENCE. AND ONCE YOU’VE LOST THAT
INNOCENCE, YOU CAN NEVER GET IT BACK. YOU LEARN WISDOM AND EXPERIENCE, GRIEF, PAIN, BUT YOU LOSE YOUR INNOCENCE
WHEN YOU GET THAT. BUT THIS BAG LADY SEEMED
TO HAVE LOST HER INNOCENCE BUT GOTTEN IT BACK,
AND I DIDN’T KNOW HOW. IT SEEMED THAT HER INNER CHILD
CAME BACK TO HER. SHE HAD GONE THROUGH PAIN
AND GOTTEN HER INNOCENCE BACK. AND SHE SEEMED TO ENJOY
THE WORLD NO MATTER WHAT HAD
HAPPENED TO HER. SHE HAD LOST HER INNOCENCE
AND GOT IT BACK. AND I WANTED THAT INNOCENCE
BACK, TOO. I WANTED TO FEEL CALM AND
PEACEFUL IN THE WORLD. I DIDN’T KNOW HOW I WOULD BE
ABLE TO DO THAT. WHEN I WENT HOME,
I GOT GLOVES AND I GAVE HER GLOVES,
AND SHE ACCEPTED THEM, JUST AS A CHILD WOULD ACCEPT
GIFTS THAT YOU GAVE TO HER. I THOUGHT, “HMM, WHAT ELSE
COULD I DO?” SO I TRIED TO GIVE HER COFFEE, BUT SHE WOULDN’T TAKE COFFEE
FROM ME. I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT KINDS OF
THINGS SHE WAS SAYING. SHE WAS SPEAKING IN
SOME ODD WAY. I GUESS WE BOTH WERE SPEAKING
IN ODD WAYS TO EACH OTHER. WE GESTURED AND SPOKE TO
EACH OTHER, DIDN’T UNDERSTAND A SINGLE WORD, BUT SOMEHOW OUR SPIRITS
CONNECTED. WHEN I MOVED TO CALIFORNIA
IN 1976, I REALLY COULDN’T FORGET
THAT WOMAN. SHE WAS SO SWEET. SO I THOUGHT I’D GO BACK
AND SEE IF THE BAG– I THOUGHT I WOULD SEE IF
I COULD ACT THE BAG LADY. AND, OH, MAN.
I JUST FELT SAFE. I COULD SAY ANYTHING
I WANTED. AS JULIANNA, I COULDN’T SAY
ANYTHING I WANTED. I WAS TOO WORRIED ABOUT WHAT
PEOPLE MIGHT THINK OF ME, AND I’D HAVE TO ESCAPE
FROM THEM, BUT AS THE BAG LADY, I COULD SAY
WHATEVER I WANTED, AND THAT’S HOW IT’S BEEN SINCE. ROSE: OK. SO OUR SECOND POINT IS… OUR SECOND QUESTION IS
HOW THE CHARACTER WAS DEVELOPED. WE WANT TO LOOK AT ASL
LINGUISTIC TECHNIQUES. YOU KNOW, YOU’VE HEARD MANY
TALKS TODAY ABOUT THE RHYTHM OF
SIGN LANGUAGE, THE REPETITIONS THAT
ARE INCLUDED IN POETRY
AND STORYTELLING, AND THAT’S A TECHNIQUE THAT
JULIANNA USES. TO DEVELOP HER CHARACTER. FOR EXAMPLE, AT THE BEGINNING
OF HER STORY, THE BAG LADY IS SITTING
HUNCHED OVER ROCKING BACK AND FORTH. AND THEN YOU SEE REPEATED MOVEMENTS
OVER AND OVER AGAIN. DEAF, DEAF. FUCK YOU, FUCK YOU. WHY? WHY? AND THOSE SIGNS ARE REPEATED
AGAIN AND AGAIN. LOVE ME. LOVE ME. EACH SIGN IS SHORT AND SIMPLE. BUT TOGETHER THEY MEAN
SOMETHING ABOUT THE CHARACTER, THAT THE CHARACTER’S
A LONER, THAT SHE’S IN GRIEF, THAT SHE HAS A HARD LIFE… THAT HER EMOTIONS
MAKE HER WEAK, THAT SHE’S PROTECTED– SHE’S DISTANCED HERSELF
FROM HERSELF. YOU CAN SEE THIS IN THE RHYTHM
OF THE SIGNS. YOU ALSO SEE HER HONESTY. SHE DOESN’T HAVE TO ELABORATE
THINGS SHE’S FEELING WITH WORDS. SHE JUST SAYS THEM STRAIGHT OUT,
SIMPLY. NOW, WHEN JULIANNA IS ACTING
AS THE INNER CHILD, HER LANGUAGE IS DIFFERENT. SHE’S MORE CHATTY.
SHE SPEAKS MORE ELABORATELY. WHEN SHE TALKS TO GOD,
SHE’S CHATTY AND PLAYFUL, AND SHE SAYS, YOU KNOW, “SHOW ME A BEE IF MY MOTHER’S
ALIVE. THE NAMES ARE THE SAME.”
BLAH BLAH BLAH. SHE’S CHATTING AND SHE
SIGNS QUICKLY. SHE SHOWS THAT HER MIND IS QUICK
AND THAT HER BODY IS ENERGETIC, THAT SHE’S YOUNG, AND THAT’S QUITE DIFFERENT
FROM JULIANNA’S POSTURING AND MOVEMENTS AS
THE BAG LADY. AND SHE ACTS LIKE
A LITTLE KID BECAUSE THAT’S HER
INNER CHILD. THE INNER CHILD’S SIGNS
ARE REPETITIVE LIKE A CHILD SIGNS. SO THE CHILD WILL SIGN, “MOMMY,
MOMMY, MOMMY, MOMMY.” BUT AS THE BAG LADY, JULIANNA SIGNS EACH SIGN
SLOWLY. AND WHEN SHE SIGNS THE SIGN
FOR “MOTHER,” FOR EXAMPLE, SHE ONLY SIGNS–
ONLY CONTACTS HER CHIN ONCE RATHER THAN SEVERAL TIMES
AS SHE DOES AS THE LITTLE CHILD. THE RHYTHM AND THE REPETITION
IN THE SIGN ALSO SHOWS FORESHADOWING. IT GIVES YOU AN IDEA THAT SOMETHING MIGHT HAPPEN
IN THE FUTURE THAT WILL BE SAD,
CAUSE GRIEF. WHEN YOU SEE HER SIGN TALKING ABOUT THE CLOCK,
THE TIME MOVING, TIME MOVES ON WITHOUT ANY
CALL FROM HER MOTHER. I’M SORRY, NOT A PHONE CALL
FROM HER MOTHER. TIME MOVES ON AND IT’S
VERY SLOW FOR HER. IT FEELS VERY SLOW. SHE WANTS IT TO HURRY UP SO THAT IT’S TIME
FOR HER TO CALL, BUT SHE CAN’T. AND SHE SYMBOLIZES THIS
WITH THE CLOCK BECOMING LARGER AND LARGER
AND TIME TAKING UP MORE SPACE. THEN AS SHE STARTS CALLING
HER MOTHER, HER RHYTHM BECOMES MORE
AND MORE QUICK AND SHOWING THE CHARACTER’S
GRIEF, UPSETNESS, DESPAIR, CONCERN, WORRY. AND YOU SEE THAT THROUGH THE
KINDS OF TECHNIQUES SHE USES IN HER LANGUAGE. ANOTHER THING SHE USES
AS METAPHOR, WE WERE TALKING ABOUT
THE MEANING BEHIND
A PARTICULAR WORD. SO WHEN WE TALK ABOUT
THE INNER CHILD, YOU KNOW THAT IT’S NOT
A REAL LITTLE KID THAT’S WALKING AROUND IN
THE WORLD. YOU KNOW THAT. BUT IN THE STORY, THE INNER CHILD SYMBOLIZES
OR IS A METAPHOR… FOR A PART OF THE BAG LADY
THAT IS FREE AND ABLE TO EXPRESS HERSELF AND EXPRESS HER EMOTIONS
AND HER GRIEF. THE METAPHORS IN ENGLISH
ARE DIFFERENT. IN ASL, METAPHORS ARE
VERY VISUAL. THE AUDIENCE SEES THE BAG LADY AND THEN SEES AN ACTUAL– THERE’S A SEPARATE CHARACTER
THAT THEY SEE, THE INNER CHILD. NOW, WHY IS THAT IMPORTANT
THAT THE AUDIENCE SEE BOTH THE CHARACTER
AND THE INNER CHILD? THEY SEE HOW THE INNER CHILD
INFLUENCES THE BAG LADY. THEY SEE THE CONNECTION
BETWEEN THE TWO. THEY SEE WHAT THE INNER CHILD
CAN GIVE TO THE BAG LADY, THAT SHE GIVES HER HOPE
AND ENERGY AND ZEST FOR LIFE. FJELD: I WOULD LIKE TO ADD
ONE MORE THING BEFORE I FORGET. AS AN EXAMPLE–
AS AN EXPERIMENT, JAINE WAS PRESENTING ASL,
ASKED ME IF I WOULD DO SOME SORT OF ASL LITERATURE
IN SEATTLE. AND I DIDN’T REALLY KNOW WHAT
SHE MEANT BY THAT. SHE TRIED TO EXPLAIN IT TO ME,
BUT I WASN’T SURE WHAT SHE MEANT. SHE TALKED ABOUT POETRY
AND STORYTELLING. AND I SAID, “WELL, WHAT
ABOUT THEATER AND ACTING? ISN’T THAT PART OF POETRY?” AND WE REALIZED THAT NOBODY
HAD ACTUALLY DONE ANY WORK ON THAT
IN SEATTLE. WHEN WE DISCUSSED ASL
LITERATURE, WE DIDN’T EVEN THINK
OF THAT. YOU KNOW, ON THE WEST COAST,
IN SEATTLE, THERE’S A VERY GOOD THEATER, BUT IT’S VERY DIFFICULT FOR
DEAF PEOPLE TO GET INVOLVED IN IT. AND THE ANALYSIS OF IT
HAS BEEN SO… IT’S BEEN SO LITTLE. THE PERFORMANCE HAS BEEN
VERY HEARING PERSPECTIVE, AND WE REALLY WANT TO GET
AWAY FROM THAT AND LOOK AT REAL DEAF THEATER. RICHARDS: WELL, YOU JUST
TALKED ABOUT LANGUAGE AND HOW IT SHOWS CHARACTER. NOW I’D LIKE TO TALK
ABOUT THEATER TECHNIQUES AND HOW THAT SHOW CHARACTER. SOME OF IT IS OBVIOUS,
OF COURSE. IT’S FULL OF CHARACTER. IN WATCHING, I COULD SEE
YOUR EXPRESSIONS WELL. YOU WERE REALLY
PULLED INTO HER CHARACTER, STRONG TECHNIQUE. ONE TECHNIQUE IS INTERESTING
IN THE WAY SHE USES SPACE. YOU KNOW, THERE’S A WOMAN HERE
AND THE MAN THERE. YOU KNOW,
YOU CAN USE THE SPACE. WELL, SHE USED THAT
AND EXTENDED IT TO USE A LARGER SPACE
AND AREA. FOR EXAMPLE, IN TALKING,
YOU GO BACK AND FORTH, BACK AND FORTH,
BUT TO MAKE IT LARGER, YOU CAN ACTUALLY MOVE LIKE THIS, SO USE SPACE FOR COMMUNICATION
TO DEVELOP A CHARACTER SO YOU CAN ACTUALLY SEE
TWO CHARACTERS– THE BAG LADY
AND THE INNER CHILD. ALSO, IT WAS VERY INTERESTING. YOU KNOW, IN THEATER, SOMETIMES
PEOPLE STAND ON THE STAGE, AND THEY’RE STORYTELLING,
AND THEY HAVE SOME SORT OF A LINE
WITH THE AUDIENCE BETWEEN THE LINE AND THE PERSON. JULIANNA CROSSES IT AND LOOKS AT PEOPLE,
LOOKS DIRECTLY– WHY? WHY?– ACTUALLY TALKING WITH YOU,
THE AUDIENCE, WHICH HELPS TO DRAW YOU IN. YOU SEE HER CHARACTER
MORE CLEARLY. SOMETIMES PERFORMERS STAND
WITH THIS LINE BETWEEN THEM… BUT SHE REALLY PULLS YOU IN SO THAT SHE CAN EXPRESS
HER FEELINGS. ALSO, THE CHARACTER
IS WONDERFUL. I NOTICED SEVERAL TIMES
IT IS VERY METICULOUS. EVERYTHING HAS TO BE PERFECT. THE TOWEL HAS TO BE LAID DOWN. OH, SUCH AN EXAGGERATION. EVERYTHING HAD TO BE JUST RIGHT,
MOVING EVERYTHING AROUND, AND THE USE OF A GREAT DEAL
OF SPACE WITH THAT IS FASCINATING. IT SHOWS THE CHARACTER–
THE AGE, THE HEAVINESS, THE SADNESS, THE EMOTION– AND ALL THROUGH THAT METICULOUS,
SLOW USE OF SPACE, REALLY SHOWS THE CHARACTER,
AND LATER, THE CLEANING OF THE FINGERNAILS, HAD TO DO EVERYTHING PERFECTLY. THE WORLD ISN’T PERFECT. HER WORLD HAD BEEN
TOTALLY DESTROYED. OH, MY GOSH, 5 MINUTES? WHAT HAPPENED TO THE 20,
THE 10, THE 5? YOU DID ALL THAT,
AND IGNORED IT. OH, DEAR. I’M SORRY. OK. HMM. ALL RIGHT. ANOTHER INTERESTING USE
OF SPACE… WAS TO TELL HER
THAT HER MOTHER DIED, SHE WENT WAY BACK. SHE COULDN’T ACCEPT THE EMOTION.
SHE HAD TO DISTANCE HERSELF. THE EMOTION WAS THERE.
SHE DIDN’T WANT IT. SHE HAD TO MOVE BACK, AND THEN SHE MOVED FORWARD
IN THE MORNING. IT SHOWS THE TIME
AND THE CHARACTER CHANGE. YOU KNOW, IN THE PAST,
YOU GO FORWARD TO THE FUTURE. SECOND INTERPRETER: Because that
represents time in the past by going back there. I’m sorry. RICHARDS: ONE OTHER CHARACTER
IS THE INNER CHILD. YOU KNOW, AT FIRST, THE BAG LADY
WAS JUST SITTING THERE SO DESPONDENT,
AND THEN THE CHILD COMES OUT… SAME PLACE,
AND THE GIRL SITS LIKE THIS. YOU CAN SEE QUITE OBVIOUSLY
THAT THE LITTLE GIRL HAS TAKEN CONTROL
OF THE BAG LADY, AND NOW THE BAG LADY
IS GOING TO BE ABLE TO FACE THINGS QUITE OBVIOUSLY. USING THE SAME SITE,
THEY BECOME ONE. OH, DEAR.
I’VE GOT TO HURRY. UM…HA! OH, LET’S SEE. OK. ALSO, FOR A CHARACTER,
REMEMBER, HEIDI TALKED ABOUT LANGUAGE
SHOWING CHARACTER, AND THERE’S THE BAG LADY
AND THE LITTLE CHILD. WELL, OBVIOUSLY, THE BODY MOVES. FOR THE BAG LADY,
IT’S LIKE THIS, ALL HUNCHED OVER
AND SLOW-MOVING AND EYELIDS NEARLY CLOSED. THE LITTLE GIRL IS THE OPPOSITE. HER SHOULDERS ARE BACK,
BRIGHT EYES, AND A WIDE-OPEN INNOCENCE. SHE’S A LITTLE KID.
SHE DOESN’T KNOW ANYTHING. SHE’LL TRY ANYTHING,
SO THE CHARACTER SHOWS THAT. LATER, THE LITTLE GIRL TOOK CONTROL
INSIDE THE BAG LADY. WHEN THEY WENT IN THE HOUSE, IT WAS LIKE ONE CHARACTER. THEY BECAME ONE, THE LITTLE GIRL IN THE BAG LADY, AND THE BAG LADY
IN THE LITTLE GIRL. THEY BECAME ONE, AND THAT
REALLY HELPED TO SUPPORT IT. AT THE END…. THE LITTLE GIRL
HAS TO GET BACK INSIDE. THE BAG LADY SHOWS THAT, BUT THE DOOR’S SUPPOSED
TO BE OPEN BECAUSE FROM NOW ON,
YOU CAN FACE THE WORLD, AND ANYTIME THINGS
TERRIBLY UPSET, THERE WILL BE A LITTLE CHILD
TO SUPPORT. THE WORDS DON’T
HAVE TO SAY THAT. YOU ALREADY KNOW IT. IT’S OBVIOUS, SO– ROSE: CAN I JUST GIVE
A SHORT SYNOPSIS, PLEASE, IN CONCLUSION HERE? OK. WE TRY TO… SHOW THAT LINGUISTIC TECHNIQUES
AND THEATRICAL TECHNIQUES ARE NOT DIVORCED
FROM EACH OTHER, THAT THEY WORK TOGETHER
TO SHOW CHARACTER. AT THE END OF THE STORY,
YOU CAN SEE THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN
THE 3 PARTS OF JULIANNA. YOU CAN SEE THE INNER CHILD COMING OUT
AND THEN RETURNING TO THE BAG LADY, CAN SEE THE BAG LADY BECOMING AT PEACE, AND THEN AT THE VERY
LAST SECOND, YOU CAN SEE THE BAG LADY
DISAPPEAR, AND YOU CAN SEE JULIANNA
REPLACE HER… AT THE VERY END
AS SHE APPEARS, SO THERE ARE 3 LEVELS
THAT YOU CAN SEE JULIANNA IN THIS PERFORMANCE. VICTORSON:
THIS IS CALLED “ANGEL GAME.” IN A BEAUTIFUL, WHITE,
HEAVENLY LAND, VAST AND BEAUTIFUL
BELOW A PERFECT, BLUE SKY, THE HEAVENLY HOST OF ANGELS
PLAYED INSTRUMENTS WITH THEIR GORGEOUS,
WHITE WINGS… SO POWERFUL AND BEAUTIFUL. ONE PLAYED PIANO,
ONE PLAYED VIOLIN, AND ANOTHER ANGEL
WITH COKE-BOTTLE GLASSES, TRUE BOOKWORM,
SAT READING A BOOK. ALL THE DIFFERENT ANGELS
WERE ARRAYED THROUGHOUT HEAVEN. THERE WAS A LITTLE GROUP
OF 3 YOUNG, SWEET ANGELS WITH THEIR BEAUTIFUL WINGS
AND THEIR COMELY FIGURES, AND THEY WERE TALKING
AMONGST EACH OTHER THE WAY GIGGLY,
YOUNG ANGELS MIGHT, PUSHING EACH OTHER AND TEASING
AS THEY WALKED ALONG. THERE WAS GRASS ALL AROUND,
BUT UNDERSTAND, THIS BEAUTIFUL, HEAVENLY AREA
WAS WHITE, WHITE, WHITE EVERYWHERE YOU LOOKED. ONE OF THEM SAW SOMETHING THAT
LOOKED A LITTLE OUT OF PLACE. FURTHER OVER, THEY SAW
A NAKED, YOUNG GIRL LYING WITH LIFELESS EYES STARING UP
AT THE BLUE SKY ABOVE HER. THE 3 OF THEM WENT
TO INVESTIGATE. SO PALE WAS THIS DEAD,
YOUNG GIRL, NUDE, LYING THERE LIFELESS. THEY FELT HER FLESH. HER HAIR WAS ALL ASKANCE… AND THEY LOOKED AT EACH OTHER,
AND THEIR WINGS, WHICH HAD BEEN OUTSPREAD,
THEN FOLDED IN AS SADLY THEY TRIED TO DECIDE
WHAT THEY COULD DO. NOW AT THE SAME TIME, GOD– WITH HIS BEAUTIFUL, WHITE BEARD; MANE OF WHITE HAIR; AND HIS STRONG PHYSIQUE– WAS WALKING ALONG, ASSAYING HIS DOMAIN WITH
HIS BEAUTIFUL, SPARKLING EYES. HE BID GOOD DAY
TO THE PIANIST… WHO ACKNOWLEDGED HIM
AS HE WALKED BY, AND THE VIOLINIST,
AND EVEN THE ANGEL READING TOOK A MOMENT
OF HER READING TIME TO SAY GOOD MORNING TO GOD. GOD NOTICED SOMETHING GOING ON
OVER IN AN AREA OF HEAVEN, SOME SORT OF ADO,
AND HE WENT TO INVESTIGATE. HE APPROACHED THESE 3 ANGELS
AND ASKED THEM WHAT WAS GOING ON,
AND THEY POINTED TO THIS DEAD GIRL LYING THERE. “HMM. I WONDER
WHERE SHE’S FROM.” GOD LOOKED UP AND DOWN
AND ALL AROUND, DID NOT HAVE AN ANSWER AS TO
WHERE THIS GIRL HAD COME FROM, AND NEITHER DID THE ANGELS. EVERYBODY JUST LOOKED
AT EACH OTHER IN WONDERMENT… AND GOD SAID, “LET’S BE
CREATIVE ABOUT THIS. “WE NEED TO BE ABLE TO FIX HER. “WE’VE GOT A REALLY OLD
JUNKYARD “OVER IN ANOTHER AREA
OF HEAVEN. “WHY DON’T YOU GO DIG AROUND
AND SEE IF YOU CAN FIND “SOME TOOLS OR SOMETHING
TO MAYBE BE ABLE TO FIX THIS GIRL UP?” THE ANGELS ASSENTED, AND GOD
LEFT THEM TO THEIR OWN DEVICES. ONE OF THEM SAID,
“AN OLD JUNKYARD? SIGN ME UP. “I WANT TO GO LOOK AROUND THERE.
IT SOUNDS FUN. YOU GUYS STAY BEHIND
AND FIGURE SOMETHING ELSE OUT,” SO THAT ADVENTUROUS ANGEL–
STUMBLING OVER CLOUDS AND WHITE, HEAVENLY GRASS–
MADE HER WAY OVER TO A DIFFERENT AREA
OF HEAVEN, AND SHE LOOKED UP
AT MASSIVE COLUMNS… WITH STATUES OF STRONG PEOPLE HOLDING UP A HUGE PORTICO
IN WHICH STATUARY LOOMED, WARRIORS AND ANIMALS
AND CHARIOTS IN A GREEK FRIEZE. A HUGE TEMPLE
WAS IN FRONT OF HER, AND SHE ADMIRED IT. IT WAS SO ORNATE… AND THERE WERE HUGE DOORS WHICH WOULD OPEN
TO THE INTERIOR OF THIS TEMPLE. SHE PUSHED OPEN THE KNOBS
OF THESE MASSIVE DOORS, AND AS SOON AS SHE OPENED IT, ANOTHER WHITE,
BLINDING LIGHT MET HER. WHITE BIRDS PASSED HER AS THEY
FLEW OUT OF THIS AREA, AND BEHIND THESE DOORS,
SHE SAW A CAR THAT LOOKED AS IF IT HAD BEEN DRIVING
ALONG THE ROAD AND THEN CRASHED INTO SOMETHING,
FLIPPED, AND THEN LANDED
AND WAS DESTROYED. IN ANOTHER AREA,
THERE WAS AN OLD BICYCLE THAT WAS ALSO DESTROYED
AS IF IT HAD BEEN CARRIED SOMEPLACE BY WIND
AND THEN SMASHED TO THE GROUND. AN OLD, TIN CAN WITH ITS TOP UP
HAD BEEN ROLLING ALONG AND COME TO REST
IN ANOTHER AREA. TO THE RIGHT AND TO THE LEFT,
THERE WERE ALL SORTS OF PIECES OF JUNK,
MOUNTAINS, MOUNTAIN OF WHITE, GLEAMING,
DESTROYED GARBAGE AT THIS JUNKYARD. OVER IN A CORNER,
SHE SAW A HOUSE AT A STRANGE ANGLE,
AS IF IT HAD BEEN PICKED UP BY A TORNADO,
SPUN AROUND SEVERAL TIMES, AND THEN THROWN TO THE GROUND,
WHERE IT LAY ATILT. THE DOOR HUNG ON ITS HINGES, AND SHE APPROACHED
AND OPENED IT. IT WAS DIRTY INSIDE,
TABLES, CHAIRS, FOOD SPREAD EVERYWHERE,
KNOCKED ALL ASUNDER. SHE SAW THE BATHROOM,
THE TOILET ON ITS SIDE, BROKEN OFF OF ITS PEDESTAL. THE MIRROR WAS CRACKED AND
SMASHED INTO A MILLION PIECES AND REFLECTED HER FACE
IN A FRAGMENTED WAY. SHE OPENED A MEDICINE CABINET… AND WHEN SHE LOOKED
AT ONE THING, A BUG JUMPED OUT AND SCARED HER, AND SHE OPENED A DRAWER AND ANOTHER DRAWER, SAW AN IMPLEMENT
SHE WASN’T FAMILIAR WITH, AND FOUND SHE COULD USE IT
TO GROOM HER HAIR AND HER WINGS. “HMM. NOT BAD.” IN ANOTHER DRAWER,
SHE LOOKED THROUGH BUT DIDN’T FIND ANYTHING USEFUL,
AND THEN IN THE CABINET UNDERNEATH,
SHE TOOK OUT A BOX WHICH, WHEN SHE OPENED IT,
REVEALED TOOLS, ALL DIFFERENT SIZES–
RATCHETS AND DIFFERENT-SIZE SCREWDRIVERS. THAT MIGHT TO THE TRICK. SHE CLOSED EVERYTHING UP AND WANTED TO GET OUT OF THERE
AS FAST AS SHE COULD, CLOSED UP THE HOUSE,
CLOSED THE ROOM, AND TOOK HER TOOLBOX WITH HER. SHE OPENED THE HUGE DOORS
THAT HAD LET HER IN AND THEN CLOSED THEM BEHIND HER. SHE LOOKED UP THE COLUMNS
TO THE STATUES THAT WERE HOLDING UP
THE HUGE PORTICO ABOVE, AND THEN WITH HER TOOLBOX,
SHE MADE HER WAY ACROSS THOSE BUMPY CLOUDS,
ALMOST DROPPING IT ALL THE TIME, HAVING TO VERY CAREFULLY
WALK HER WAY OVER TO WHERE HER FRIENDS WERE. HER FRIENDS MOTIONED HER ONWARD. SHE OPENED THE TOOLBOX. ONE OF THE SAID,
“WHAT’S THIS FOR?” SHE SAID, “I DON’T KNOW.
WE’LL FIGURE OUT SOMETHING.” THE GIRL WAS STILL
LYING LIFELESS. THEY WORKED ON HER HAIR FIRST, TOOK TOOLS AND TRIED
TO MAKE IT CURLY, DID DIFFERENT THINGS TO IT. “WELL, THIS DOESN’T SEEM
TO BE WORKING. “HMM. THAT’S NOT
BRINGING HER TO LIFE. THOSE BEAUTIFUL WINGS.” “WE’VE LOST ALL OF OUR FEATHERS
AT DIFFERENT TIMES. “MAYBE WE SHOULD TAKE SOME
FEATHERS THAT ARE LYING AROUND, AND WE CAN PUT THEM IN HER
BECAUSE SHE DOESN’T HAVE ANY,” SO ONE BY ONE,
THEY TOOK FEATHERS AND TRIED TO STICK THEM IN HER
IN DIFFERENT PLACES. STILL, SHE WAS LIFELESS,
EVEN THOUGH THESE FEATHERS WERE STICKING OUT OF HER HEAD. THEY WORKED ON HER
IN ALL DIFFERENT WAYS– TRYING TO STICK FEATHERS IN,
TRYING TO FIX THINGS IN DIFFERENT WAYS,
ANYTHING THEY COULD IMAGINE, BRAIDING AND FEATHERING–
AND THE GIRL LAY LIFELESS. NOW, GOD WAS SITTING ON HIS
HEAVENLY THRONE, OPENED HIS MASSIVE BOOK… OF DATES, NAMES, WHO’S IN HEAVEN,
WHO’S OUT HEAVEN, ALL OF THE INFORMATION
HE NEEDED. HE LOOKED AT HIS LEDGER… AND RESTED. HE FELT A BREEZE. A BREEZE RIFFLED
HIS FLOWING BEARD AS HE RESTED,
AND THAT BREEZE BECAME A LITTLE MORE INSISTENT,
KEPT BLOWING AND BLOWING, AND PAGES OF THIS LEDGER
KEPT TURNING. THE WIND BECAME VERY INSISTENT, AND PAGE AFTER PAGE OF THIS BOOK
KEPT TURNING AND TURNING… AND FINALLY, HE PUT HIS HAND
ON ONE PAGE THAT SAID, “FEBRUARY 14, 1966,” BUT THEN HE SAW
THAT ANOTHER PAGE SAID THE 28th, AND ANOTHER PAGE SAID THE 30th. WHERE WAS THE 29th? THERE’S NO 29th,
AND THEN HE SUDDENLY REALIZED HE HAD TO GO GET HOLD
OF THOSE ANGELS AGAIN. HE RAN PAST THE VIOLINIST. HE RAN PAST THE PIANO PLAYER. HE RAN PAST THE ANGEL
READING HER BOOK AND RAN AS FAST AS HE COULD
AND TOLD THOSE ANGELS, “STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING. “STOP WHAT YOU’RE TRYING TO DO
TO THAT LITTLE GIRL. STOP.” THEY PULLED OUT ALL THE FEATHERS
THAT THEY HAD PUT INTO HER HEAD, AND THEN AS HE DID THIS,
IT’S AS IF THIS DEAD GIRL WAS GOING BACK AND BACK
AND BACK, BACK AS IF SHE WAS GOING
BACK TO THE WOMB AGAIN. THERE SHE WAS, A FETUS IN HER MOTHER’S WOMB
ONCE MORE… AND THEN BORN,
BORN TO A LOVING MOTHER WHO LOOKED AT HER ADORINGLY… THIS BABY, BARELY EVEN SENTIENT,
BEING ADORED BY HER MOTHER. THIS BABY GREW… AND HER MOTHER LOOKED AT HER, AND THE BABY LOOKED
AT HER MOTHER, AND THE MOTHER TALKED TO HER. “OH, YOU LITTLE
SWEETHEART, YOU,” AND SHE PINCHED
HER LITTLE CHEEKS, AND THE BABY REGARDED
ALL THAT WAS AROUND HER, THE MOTHER SPEAKING TO HER
AND ADORING HER, AND THEN WIND–
WIND KEPT PUSHING THE DOORS AND MAKING A LOUD NOISE,
AND THE MOTHER SAID, “THAT’S TOO LOUD,”
AND WENT OVER AND TRIED TO CLOSE
THOSE WINDOWS AND DOORS, BUT THE WIND WAS INSISTENT
AND POUNDED AND POUNDED AGAINST THE HOUSE. SHE LATCHED THE SHUTTERS,
BUT THE WIND WAS SO STRONG. THE BABY WAS STILL
UNCOMPREHENDING. IF YOU LOOKED IN THE BOOK,
THIS BIG DICTIONARY… AND CLOSED IT… THAT’S WHAT CAUSED
THIS MASSIVE EARTHQUAKE THAT DESTROYED THE HOUSE THIS
BABY AND MOTHER HAD BEEN IN, THE CLOSING OF THE BOOK. THIS BABY’S DEAF. THE ANGELS LOOKED
AT EACH OTHER… AND REALIZED SOMEHOW
THEY WERE AT FAULT. “IT WAS YOU.”
“NO. IT WAS YOU.” “NO. IT WAS THE 3 OF US.
WE DID THIS,” AND THE 3 OF THEM REALIZED
THEY NEED TO CONFESS TO GOD, WHOM THEY APPROACHED. THERE HE SAT
WITH HIS FLOWING BEARD AND HIS FLOWING HAIR
AND REGARDED THEM. WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY TO ME,
MY CHILDREN? “GOD, WE’RE SO SORRY.” “WE WERE PLAYING.
WE WERE PLAYING TOO MUCH.” “AND WE FORGOT TO FIX
THIS GIRL’S EARS.” GOD SAID, “DON’T WORRY. “AS THIS GIRL GROWS, SHE WILL HAVE
THE MOST BEAUTIFUL HAIR.”

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