Sunday, April 18, 2010

You say dilettante like it's a bad thing.

16 April 2009 @ 02:11 pm

"And they say to me, 'Ani, what is with all this looooooooooooove shit? What happened to your politics!' And I say, 'Um, well. Don't you ever get . . .distracted?"

I've noticed on some of the magically oriented blogs I read that there's this burning feverish desire to prove that you are not a dilettante. Nay, good sir! I have spent every second of my life that I was not forced into labor studying the Dark Arts! I have been here studying with This Name Dropped Person, I have jet setted to This Important Place to learn secrets that you, tiny girl, will never learn because you did not buckle down to study like we serious practitioners have and you have the audacity to claim that you're not an expert in anything! When we engage in our super secret dick waving rituals, you step out for a drink and a smoke.

Well. While you were busy studying in the dirt of a foreign land, I was working my way through college, like my mother had and my grandfather had before. I had to go to work where I was starting revolutions, wearing my shit kickin boots and knee length skirts, my cube a political statement of goddesses and feminists listening to Alix Olsen on my stereo. I was writing things that you would consider inconsequential so I could get paid to pay my rent. I was starting a convention, a really fucking girly convention, trying to give everyone equal parts at the table and to book people I believed in and to show that goddamnit modern life has a place for art, truth, love, and beauty. I was getting interviewed by the New York Times and MTV about a genre that's about a made up past that never happened. I was getting married. Getting divorced. Getting diagnosed. Getting fucked. Getting broken. Getting another martini. Getting into a corset to go dance in the dark.

And I apologize for none of this. I may not have the best magical formal education. I may not have read all of the fancy arcane expensive hard to buy, harder to find, even harder to even hear of, books that you have read. I may not have met a lot of Important People to impart Important People Secret Knowledge onto me. I may not have formally studied with a tradition with all of my time, energy, and money until it broke me or I broke it so I could claim with all rights and arrogance afforded to me for this that *I* think this about *this* and *you* should listen to me because I have spent *years* doing this, years earning my disenfranchisement and disillusionment.

But I do have something.

I have a voice.

I have a voice and I am not afraid to use it.

I have a voice to say that I don't know everything about everything. That I have only loosely studied a few traditions. I have a voice that doesn't need your approval to make magic for me because I have long since learned to make magic myself. I have breath and blood and spit and menstrual blood and that's all I've ever needed.

I will speak and I will write about the things I do know. And when I don't know, I will tell you so. It's not the books or the teachers or simply clocking in enough time that makes magic. Your soul being on fire is what makes magic. And I'm not sorry that what I have to give myself, to give you, isn't fancy or formal but it's real.

And I can promise you when you tell me something that is so secret that you can barely form the words that it will be written on my bones and never leave my lips. Always.


TheDrunkenFish said...

"When we engage in our super secret dick waving rituals, you step out for a drink and a smoke."
AHHH, I fell off my chair with that one!
You're entirely, right, though, and I truly appreciate your courage to point out that we need not all be initiated by the black dark sorcerers of the sharpened rock in order to be magical people. In fact, I think most people forget that our predecessors (or at least my predecessors),the village conjurer or rootworker, did not fly off to tibet in search of himself. Rather, there was, and is, real value in learning from life as it comes to you, day by day.

Great post, and I look forward to reading more!

Deborah Castellano said...

Thanks, fish, that's kind of you to say!

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