chapter  18
14 Pages

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.