Eve Ensler was in Seattle on May 18, 2013, at Benaroya Hall for a benefit for Planned Parenthood. I was ecstatic to see her again and to hear her read from her latest book, In the Body of the World. She shared that she wrote this wonderful book in scans ~ like the CAT scans she received during her cancer treatment.
She graciously signed books after the reading and posed for pictures with fans. She read many of my most favorite passages (see my review), and she shared plans to expand the City of Joy to include a working farm. The City of Joy is a sanctuary that is close to her heart. It was built during her cancer treatment:
The women had hunger and dreams, demands and a vision. They conceived of a place, a concept, called City of Joy. It would be their sanctuary. It would be a place of safety, of healing, of gathering strength, of coming together, of releasing their pain and trauma. A place where they would declare their joy and power. A place where they would rise as [revolutionary] leaders.
Ms. Ensler read several excerpts about the love and support she received during her treatment and recovery. It seemed appropriate to bring my “bodyguard” Richard to the event. He is a V-Man (very sexy, supportive, and single, ladies!) who has been there for me big time during my own recovery from knee surgery. We howled with laughter when Ms. Ensler read from the “Farting for Cindy” scan (chapter):
Toast and Lu circle my bed. . .bag was gone. . .I was on the fart floor. . .a tribe of us waiting to fart and poop.
It is terrifying not being able to poop or fart. Shit claustrophobia ~ everything stuck inside you and there is no way it will get out and eventually you just explode. I was honestly scared.
. . .they sent me Cindy [a volunteer], the fart deliverer. . .It was so American. Give me your tired, your poor, your farts. . .The fact that she didn’t get paid for her fart work escalated my need to please her. If anything has kept my faith in humans, it is not the grand inventors or visionary poets or brain surgeons or even the Gandhis of this world. It is the Cindys, the quiet, invisible, often underpaid or unpaid Cindys who get up every morning, and after feeding their families, and taking care of their infirm parents, find their way on snowy country roads or polluted freeways to hospitals or old-age homes or mental institutions or orphanages. Frequently unacknowledged, they take care of the poor and the privileged, the sick and the depraved. They weave an invisible web of care through the lonely mansions of Beverly Hills and emergency wards and mamogram clinics and infusion suites. . .
She has no other reason or agenda. She is so concentrated and so kind, I get seriously choked up, and this distracts me and suddenly out of nowhere there is a little pop, a breaking out of what is, indeed, a fart.
Ms. Ensler ended her reading with “Second Wind” which is about a visit to the City of Joy after she had been cancer-free for eighteen months:
None of the powers that be will voluntarily give up their private holdings and their dreams. . .Each time I arrive [at the City of Joy], I am reminded again that we can build the new way, build the new world, birth the new paradigm. . .
Lose everything. That is where it begins. Each one of you will know in what direction you need to move and who to take with you. You will recognize the others when you arrive. Build the circles. Listen to the voice inside. . .Dance. . .Sing. . .Join arms. . .Surrender your comfort. . .go the distance. . .
be what moves things forward without needing to leave a mark.
We, who have been undermined, reduced, and minimized, we know who we are. . .Let us turn our pain to power, our victimhood to fire, our self-hatred to action, our self-obsession to service, to fire, to wind. . .keep rising. Rising. Rising. Rising.
I feel so blessed today to celebrate Eve Ensler’s birthday (May 25) with my first post on my new computer. And, I am over the moon with joy for her plans for V-Day, 2014 ~ my blog’s 5th anniversary. Stay tuned for the announcement on June 12!
Please support the event sponsor, Planned Parenthood, and Elliott Bay Book Company, which sold books at the event. These folks gave up their Saturday evening to support us, and we need to support them.