Either the world, my mother, is a monster, or I myself am a freak.
Dillard goes on, after this short paragraph, to discuss both of these options. She talks about them for almost a full page of the book. She presents evidence that the world may be monstrous and that she herself may be a little on the freakish side. Dillard never really chooses sides. She leaves it up to the reader.
I am too tired to argue either of these alternatives. I will say that I have seen some pretty terrible things in the world--suffering that made no sense, death that seemed arbitrary and unjust. On the flip side, I have always been a little bit of a carnival sideshow attraction in my family, different from all of my brothers and sisters. I have never met a poet who wasn't a little bit of a bearded lady.
My weekend is going to be equally monstrous and freakish. Most of my day tomorrow will be spent in a dark auditorium, watching my kids practice and perform for their annual dance recital. It is a long eight or nine hours. Some people find this weekend a little torturous. It's like an entire season of football or basketball in two days. That's the monstrous part. I really enjoy recital weekend, seeing all my kids' hard work over the past nine months pay off. I am the freakish.
Don't get me wrong. By about 4 p.m. on Sunday, I am going to be exhausted. My daughter and son will probably be at each other's throats. My wife will probably fall asleep on the way home from the theater. It's not all sequins and feathers and lights.
However, I will enjoy myself. Despite my daughter's inevitable meltdowns. In the eye of my son's coming tantrums. There's something very affirming for me in watching all these kids doing something they love to do. Plus, dance is a beautiful art form. It's live poetry--music and movement.
Saint Marty and Baryshnikov have a lot in common.