Friday, January 23, 2009

foi response from Marlee Cook-Parrott (MI)

to my beautiful non-stop moving comrades.

i have finished freedom of information 2008 and am resting nicely in
the dining room of my parent's house.
my stocking is still hanging on the mantel. and my dogs are sleeping
under my feet.
wednesday was so many things. and an email may be a poor way to share
them with you.
but here goes nothing. or something i suppose.
it's a bit long. but so is 24 hours.

my friend colin and i arrived at the daac around 11:40p on tuesday,
greeted by my friend sam and a reporter from the grand rapids press,
rachael. we had a nice conversation, and within no time, i was
blindfolded and grooving.

* see the article with all of the passionate comments :

i attempted to nap a few times on tuesday, but to no avail.
my head was spinning and my heart kept falling down and running in to
all of my other organs.
so by the time i began i had already been awake for fourteen hours.

the first few hours were the scariest. i felt so much anxiety. can i
finish? can i do this? am i doing it the right way?
but after a few hours my dad came. with my pillow and blanket, and a
large board so that i could write on it if i felt moved. feeling his
hands and flannel shirt made everything ok. and from then on it was
smooth sailing. or at least for a few minutes.

between about 9-12 (or at least what i perceive to be that time) was
very difficult. i had been awake for over 24 hours. i fell over a few
times, hit my head on the brick wall, collapsed a few times, and most
damaging jammed my thumb and broke a lot of my fingernail. i felt my
brother's presence at one point, and could feel him worried. i heard
him say to someone - she is ok she can do this. and bam wam thank you
maam. game time. i had no problem staying awake the remaining 12

from that point until 7:30 was perfect. i switched into the other
brand of earplugs i brought that blocked out the sound better and were
much more comfortable. my left ear was in a lot of pain from the
plugs i had been wearing and it felt great to put a softer and more
deafening pair in. for those 7 or so hours i danced, twisted and
grooved like never before. i couldn't tell who was in the room, where
i was, or what the time was. i started moving in ways i have never
moved before and felt so comfortable and raw in my own body. it was
the "bullshit free" zone. no school. no money. no parents. no
newspapers. no work. no boys. no friends. no girls. no co-op business.
no lovers. no homework. no dues to pay. just what was going on in my
little head.

INSERT THOUGHT BUBBLE HERE : i want to spend more time alone. i want
to spend time reflecting on how i treat people. and how i let people
treat me. it's been a year of mistreatment, to myself, to my body,
how i let others treat me, and how i treat them. being that alone
made my mind swing to every relationship i have and have had, and how
i want and need them to be in 2009.

at one point i found my friend sam snedeker, who was my 24 hour rock.
he was there the whole time and everytime my hands found the sleeve of
his puffy coat i found the ability to be calm. this time when i found
him i grabbed his pointer finger, which i so unrightfully assumed
meant one hour. oh baby. was i wrong. so there i was dancing my
little heart out, when i realized it had certainly been more than
hour. my legs began to feel like expired pudding and i wrote on the
board - tell me what time it is. now.

colin replied, 7:30, and i lost it. i had a mental break down. i
cannot keep doing this. why i am doing this? is this real? am i dead
yet? how can there be 4 and 1/2 hours left?!?!?

but there was. and i was going to keep moving.

in my moments of severe pain - mostly in my lower back and left knee -
my thoughts went to my mother. she stopped by after a doctor's
appointment, and it meant so much to have her there. after having a
double mastectomy two weeks ago, her pain and displacement is like
nothing many of us will ever know. and my weak knees and fingers were
no comparison. oh how i admire and love that woman.

i hallucinated the daac into the most beautiful place, with high
ceilings and long corridors, comfy two piece couches and a light
yellow chair. that is what sam was sitting in the whole time. it was
made of wicker with wooden handles. it was a huge space, with many
rooms and secret places. and not once did i believe i was making it
up. i was sure it looked the way i was imagining.

hunger was far less an issue than i had anticipated. towards the end
my stomach pains vanished, and i was mostly focusing on moving. for
the last two hours i mainly crawled and writhed around on the ground,
my body was basically failing me, or at least not filled with the
energy it had held hours before.

i drank a lot of water and green tea, compliments of lipton. it kept
the hunger down, and soothed my sore throat that had been lingering
these past few days.

the journal i left out is filled with funny and insightful comments
and wonderful pictures, and a long piece from sam that makes as much
and as little sense as me in the daac for 24 hours.

a quote in the journal from daddy : "there's tea in my boot"

and my talented brother/best friend who was playing music just a few
doors down from me at the same time : "don't question the futility or
purpose of your actions. it truly is an inspiring feat and a cool
thing to be part of"

i must be honest and real to let you know : i thought very little of
war during all of this. but like most of the thoughts that entered my
mind, i named it and moved on. that was one of the most important
things i got out of my phone conversation with miguel. when an anxious
or negative thought enters, name it, accept it, move on. i still feel
very little connection to anyone that has been effected by a war or
similar situation, and in doing this i found myself wondering why i
don't get off my ass and do something about it. change something.

i will never know what it feels like to be displaced by war. or in
general for that matter. for those 24 hours i always had one person
in the room that i could trust my life with, and share any thoughts or
concerns i had. i had water, (AND COMMERICAL BRAND TEA!) a flushing
toilet, my coat, and all my limbs.

i am going to Viet Nam for the month of may (FIRST TIME OUT OF AMERICA
WHOA) and look forward to spending time in an environment so deeply
impacted by war. i will need no blind fold or simulation to feel the
reality of displacement in a post-war country. it will be so real.

my greatest reflections have come from reading the scathing comments
on the gr press' website.

yes, i am a nutjob. and no, i don't do much to help the cause for the
anti-war movement.
here i am here i am. a white middle class liberal WITH SO MUCH TO SAY
every time i went to the bathroom, which was a lot, i found myself in
the cold dark room questioning art. why am i doing this? why is
RIGHT NOW? is it making any sort of difference? what could i be doing
instead? would it be more useful?

i never found very good answers to any of these things. but i didn't
really need to either. they were just thoughts. that i named. and
left in the bathroom. the thing was, they stayed in the bathroom,
some where between the plunger and that damn metal cabinet i kept
running in to. so every time i returned the thoughts came flooding
back, but they were less and less upsetting, and more and more
uplifting. what can i do now to make art that says something? that
gets people all riled up, or just not give a flying fuck. either one.
i want it. i want to be a part of this community. with these 30 or so
other people, two of whom i have met only briefly, and most whom i
have never spoken to. the energy of of your movign bodies flowed through me
during those 24 hours, and i don't know what the hell i would have
done without you.

INSERT SELFISH REFLECTION HERE : when i awoke from my long slumber at
3:30p on thursday i spoke with my friend danny for awhile, reflecting
on my experience. it was nice to hear his voice, and shoot the shit
about normal things, as well as have him be the first to hear of my
experience. our conversation strayed to thighs at one point, and what
they look like, smashed down on a porcelain toilet seat. i do hate my
thighs, and every time i go pee i see them and have a negative
thought. i never saw my thighs for 24 hours. so peeing was no big
deal. and now when i pee. i can look at my thighs with a smile.
because they are really just flesh, and i am damn lucky to have them.
and i really don't mind what your thighs look like either. smashed
against the porcelain or not.

i returned to the daac on thursday to see my brother and some friends play.
it was so strange to come back to the space and to see such a
radically different event taking place. it was my own little secret,
to be sitting in the door frame knitting, knowing what i was doing in
that door frame yesterday, and so few of them had any idea. milly
geronimo played, and they strummed some tunes about sailors and hard
times, and i danced in my seat on the stoop, just as i had the day
before. and now as i re-read this paragraph i wonder why i chose to
say "radically different". maybe they were just the same. people
sharing their work. and impacting someone else' life in a positive, or
negative demanor. and just like my day at the daac, everyone left
tonight's show with a reaction.

i was on npr!?!?!
i sort of sound like a dumb ass. but what can you do?

i leave you with a note from emily goble (my winterbreak08 goddess of
good thoughts) : that was left in my journal :

" 'that might confuse her' your dad said when he saw my water bottle
next to yours. new things confuse people. but you know what my water
bottle looks like. things that are where they weren't might be what i
mean. reaching for your water bottle, you knocked mine to the ground."

good new year to all of you. i can't wait to read of your
experiences and your thoughts.

as steve may so perfectly put it - let's continue to bring the mother
fucking ruckus.


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