THE FAREWELL SALON: ON GIVING PERMISSION, AND WHAT GETTING IT GIVES US.

Which is another way of saying, who and what grants authority to speak?

On a number of occasions I have been asked, “Who are you to speak?”  It is true that I have brought my intellectual life into being, by and large, outside of legitimizing institutions.  However, mine has not been an entirely lonesome travel.  Look how I find myself here, among you in this Salon, thinking out loud on this theory of an emergent Narrative Otherways.

It is my intention to devote our upcoming and final Discourse Parlor to fleshing out the characteristics of what I mean by a Narrative Otherways.  But for now, in this Farewell Salon, I would like to remember the beginning.

When I pitched the idea of producing this weblog to the Board of Women In Film Seattle it was, truth be told, an amorphous jumble of ideas pinned to a list of movies that had caught my focus.  It would be, I said, a discussion of a few films from a theoretical perspective.  It would be an examination of narrative, in particular as it pivots on gender.

I don’t entirely understand by what alchemy of group dynamics those women came to give me the nod to go ahead.  But in that nod I was given a reason to develop my thoughts into a body of writing that became this Salon&Palor.  Their affirmation provided a shelter granting me the authority to speak.  In short, they gave me permission.

As a consequence of tracking the feelings and thoughts that emerged from watching the filmstories analyzed here, some substance of self not in me before came into being.  Understandings have come from my practice of reading meaning from and into these filmaker protrayals of our world.  These understandings now affect how I now perceive my own passage here.  Although I make no grand claims for how my readings may translate into the hearts of others, I know without the original permission from WIF my thoughts may have remained a disorganized bundle of notes transferred from computer to computer until, forgotten, they were tossed on a recycled hard drive into oblivion.  And the corresponding territory of self grown within? To remain unformed and stillborn.

Beyond my particular tale of becoming there are big picture manifestations of the permission dynamic.  Any tributary of interpretation, of giving name to our reflections in the exploration that story can be, brings to light facets of meaning yet forming, allows a turning over of that shiny, molten surface in our hands.  These tributaries contribute drip by drip to the rushing cacophony of expression we all share and want to show one another.  “Here, look.  See.”  Because once in the flow we women, we others stand a chance to weigh in on how our perception and portrayal of being, our reason & meaning (for which we have an inexhaustible thirst) might alter, thicken, become more complex.

So, thank you to the women of the WIF Seattle Board for providing a nexus between idea and becoming.  And for having enough faith in the direction I was pointing my head to say, “Go!”

Giving and getting permission, it matters.

Meanwhile, for those of you hanging in there to watch more movies.

Here’s a late, welcome addition to our Salon.  A film all about giving and receiving permission.

  • Queen to Play 2009, 2011 USA release.  Director Caroline Bottaro, written by Bottaro from a novel by Bertina Henrichs.  With Sandrine Bonnaire and Kevin Kline.

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