Please, sit comfortably and relax. Ann is arriving. Can you see her? Can you arrive with her? This is a guided meditation. Please, concentrate on the text. Issue 10 invites you to meditate according to Teresa Carmody’s narrative instructions.
The text Ann Arrives Many Times: Meditation in Narrative was read on Sunday, April 24, 2011 at the Experimental Meditation Marathon, “a daylong adventure into the introspective realm of experimental guided meditation, led by the Los Angeles Meditation Ghostwriters Guild.” Visitors could bring a yoga mat or a cushion to sit or lie upon. Here is the link to the audio recording.
Teresa Carmody is the author of Requiem (Les Figues, 2005), a micro-collection of short fiction, “constructed as a series of voice-driven narratives”, and of Eye Hole Adore (PS Books, 2008). Carmody is co-director with Vanessa Place of Les Figues Press, which publishes books of innovative, experimental and avant-garde work, and co-curator of the Mommy, Mommy! Reading Series in Los Angeles.
Ann Arrives Many Times: Meditation in Narrative
by Teresa Carmody
Setting, for one voice: This text should be read slowly and with deliberate enunciation to a group of people who are sitting comfortably with their backs straight and their eyes closed. / Their hands should be resting on their legs or knees, palms up. / They may choose to touch the tips of their index fingers to the tips of their thumbs, but this is not necessary. / Picture your index fingers as you and your thumbs as the text. / This means there are two yous and two texts. / Some of you are touching the text directly; all of you are connected to the text by the flesh between your index fingers and your thumbs. / In between your two thumbs, the two texts, sits your breathing torso, which holds your beating heart, a beating heart held between two lungs, left and right. / Now, inhale deeply. / And let that breath go. / Breathe in again, deeply. / And relax into your exhale. / Continue breathing in and out, left and right, notice your breath, right lung, now left.
Ann is arriving. She walks, one foot then another, into the kitchen, a room she enters every day, multiple times every day she stretches her right arm and moves the light switch up. She does this without thinking, without feeling the smooth plastic in her fingers, the slight stretch of muscle in her right arm. The light is on and Ann arrives in the kitchen because Ann can go into this kitchen and use it. Ann’s kitchen looks like yours. Ann stands in front of the refrigerator, which looks like your refrigerator, the same color and style, the same textured door, the same handle or handles curved in just the same way. Can you see it? Ann looks at the refrigerator and sees your refrigerator in the same way you do. Old or new, a sign of something temporary, or basic, something taken for granted, the way things are now, different from how they were when you were young. What do you put on the outside of your refrigerator: a magnet, a piece of paper with a note, a child’s drawing, a photo, nothing at all. Ann looks at the refrigerator and sees what is there. When she opens the door she looks, she really looks, and she sees the stuff you always buy or never throw out, the beverages, containers, condiments arranged on the refrigerator door shelves, the place you always put that one thing. That’s where Ann puts hers too. Beneath the stuff lies the crumbs or the wiped clean.
Ann arrives every day. Ann is hungry. This feeling of hunger came slowly, but it did not surprise her for it is a feeling she knows well, several times every day Ann feels the low hollow of her stomach. Ann oftentimes forgets her stomach. She doesn’t wear pants that are too tight or uncomfortable, not anymore, so there is nothing in Ann’s hour-to-hour to remind her of her stomach. Ann no longer experiences the sudden relief of unbuttoning pants too tight, she no longer rubs the itch and sting of an impression dug by fabric bound too skin close. Now, Ann thinks of her stomach only when she is hungry, she no longer thinks of the skin that covers her stomach and she never thinks of what lies between her skin and her stomach. She calls everything her stomach, everything from beneath her ribs to just above her pubic hair—her large and small intestines, gallbladder, pancreas, greater and lesser omentums, her abdomen muscles, the three distinct layers of her skin—she calls all these her stomach except when she is menstruating and then she has a uterus too. Sometimes, when she has a uterus, all of her cells become her stomach and she needs to eat protein—red meat or nuts—so that her toes will be okay. That is not the kind of hunger Ann feels now. Now, Ann is feeling that deep, low hollowness which makes her fingers and chest shaky. The hollowness wants something. It is hunger without craving. Hunger drains the blood from her head. Everyone and everything is getting in Ann’s way and Ann is light-headed. She has arrived into a space of light-headedness because she hasn’t eaten for several hours. The last time she ate, she ate what you last ate, that much or that little, it tasted just the same, but she ate it more slowly. She ate hers many hours before you ate yours. What did Ann eat? Ann barely exists.
You must feed her.
Ann arrives every day. She arrives into the hallway, the bathroom, the shower. She arrives out of bed and back in. She stands in front of the mirror and looks at her hair, the skin beneath her eyes, her blemishes. She walks from the kitchen to the bedroom to the kitchen. She looks at the counter top, her fingernails, a spot on the floor. Sometimes, she notices what she is noticing and she arrives again. Sometimes she stops and pauses and says: what is this.
So the story stops.
Ann wants to exist as much as you do. Is that true? She wishes to say is this. There is no beginning to an end, but there is a beginning and an end to beginning and a beginning again and again. Why yes of course. I wish simply to say: