Other Tongues: Gender, Language, Sexuality and the Politics of Location
A would say even as they expressed their feelings around difficult life situa tions. My godmother would bustle in from a distant town, knowing that in our female-centered household there was space to cry, to talk about difficult marital situations, about having made a terrible choice of a mate, that there was no pos sible way of leaving with seven children or leaving seven children with an abu sive, alcoholic husband. “It’s not everything you can talk, Maccomay,1 but...” became a formula or a code for talk even as it negated complete expression of feelings and of pain. The placement of the conjunction, “but,” after the negation of the possibility of full speech signalled a determination to articulate, to chal lenge, to reveal, to share. For the word but is more than a conjunction, it is also a subtle mark of opposition.