Lady in the House Questions: Karen Biscopink

If you were to describe your writing like a body of water, what body of water would it be and why?

A creek in western Kentucky, in some hilly woods, that is kind of scarily isolated but also kind of beautiful in the type of way where you know you could drink sangria there at midnight with a bunch of friends, but you would probably be too afraid to try doing by yourself.

A crucial part of my aesthetic is presenting eerie, or unsettling, places and experiences in a way that becomes ultimately beautiful. There is a fluidity to the ways in which this manifests; like the creek, sometimes the inverse is true: that which is beautiful can also be unsettling.

 

along the paths lie

our iterations: glistening

 

skins dead yet

able to be touched.

 

there is a magnitude

to our

shedding,

 

great animal underbelly

of growth. of this, I

 

am certain – nothing

so fragile

                                           exceptional us

 

              corrodes.

 

What do you think about the bottling of water? 

A confusing convenience. A surprisingly elaborate procedure, particularly in terms of energy consumption in how it’s manufactured as well as shipped.

As a San Franciscan, my relationship to bottled water is largely couched in terms of impending earthquakes. I’m told I need to create a stockpile, but to do so feels strange to me, maybe superstitious. I should likely do what I’m told in this regard; I will likely be very thirsty during the Apocalypse.

 

After watching this video “Water, Consciousness & Intent: Dr. Masaru Emoto,” how is water is connected to your consciousness?  

Emoto’s studies and findings are phenomenally interesting. The idea of water as both attentive and responsive? Mind blowing. For me, this video opens up all kinds of thought spirals about the power of suggestion, the effectiveness of intent.

I dream with a pretty alarming intensity. Water, in its many iterations, is the most consistent imagery that crops up. Frequently, water’s absence is the heart of the dream sequence (arriving as thirst or untamable fire). In my waking life, I am less aware of the body’s intricate relationship to water, a blindness that means I am fortunate for having my needs met.

 

Who are your favorite water gods and why? 

Ran, the wife of Aegir (the Norse god of the sea) is beautiful and cruel. The couple hosted parties for the gods at their enormous underwater hall and were responsible for the ocean’s behaviors.  Ran, in particular, amuses me because of her rather confused lustfulness. So desperately did she seek the attention of sailors that she would drag them down to her palace, not realizing that the result of her affection was their immediate death. This makes me think of the sirens of Greek mythology, similarly luring sailors to destruction but with sheer malice (where Ran was mostly just naïve). The force of these women, the capacity to which they are ruled by desire, is a literary thread I enjoy exploring.

 

Your first time at the ocean, how did you engage it?

My entire body responds to the ocean with a feeling of awe, even now that I live on the coast and experience it with frequency. I don’t remember my first trip to the ocean, but can’t imagine that my response would have differed. For me, it is the measuring rod of everything’s immensity or the one accessible, visual clue I have into the definition of “possibility.” My engagement with the ocean, then, is largely observational, thoughtful, quiet.

 

Have you ever drowned in one way or another?

During college, I spent January at Crystal Waters Eco-Village in Queensland, Australia. I studied Permaculture, did an intense amount of farming; learned best practices for establishing and maintaining sustainable communities. The sheer physicality of that month (working all day in the Australian summer heat) was the most exhausting and satisfying I have ever experienced.

One of our last weekends there, several of us hitched a ride to Noosa Beach for a farewell to the coastline. The word “riptide” had little weight in my brain as I ran into the water that day. (I laugh now, remembering the words to an Ani DiFranco song I sang out loud as I started to swim: “I am an all powerful Amazon warrior.”)

Things went wrong quickly. My lack of familiarity with riptides (in which I eventually found myself) meant I tried swimming directly toward shore. The exhaustion of fighting waves and the downward pull of the tide coupled with my panic as I was pulled out farther from the land (which I could no longer see at all). What fascinates me is the way time changed, then, in the water. I still have no concept of how long this went on, with my mind churning back through the last two decades, turning up prayers and advice and regret and love: anything that could possibly be of use as I struggled to keep breathing.

Clearly, I’m incredibly fortunate for having been rescued that day. I’ve tried many times to recapture, in poetry, my brain’s gymnastics in those moments; I’m not sure I’ve yet succeeded, but it’s become a strangely grounding, meditative exercise to which I often return.

 

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Lady in the House Questions: Karen Biscopink