Hanne Blank has put up an old piece on her blog about the sweet, mysterious beauty of the scars on lovers' bodies. It's very poignant and sensual, and it makes me feel both awe and shame. Awe, because her writing is so rich and sensual and honest; Blank is one of the best writers around who covers the politics of the body, and she not only makes me feel lucky to have a body, but lucky to have one that ages, wrinkles, folds, gets fat and thin, and feels pleasure and pain. It makes me feel shame because I wrote an essay called Beautiful Scars, which tried to say the same things, and did it much less adeptly, getting tangled up in theory and a self-doubt that Hanne's piece doesn't show. Writing, more than anything else, takes a lot of courage. It doesn't work if you can't look yourself straight in the eye (metaphorically speaking). I think I flinched with this piece, and took the safe route. Read the opening of Hanne's piece below, then read the whole thing on her site.
I return to the scars on my lovers' bodies the way I return to my favorite books, over and over again, my fingers gently and precisely seeking out the parts I like, as if by touching them I can absorb some of their essence; as if by remembering where to find them I can always keep them near. Traveling the silk roads of my beloveds, I have always been fascinated by such embroideries, silver like the moon but hinting at the thick red of blood. I trace them with fingertips and tongue, kiss them, nibble at them to test their sensitivity, but most of all I learn them, one by one, bit by bit, backs and bellies, hands and feet and faces. I am so fascinated precisely because my love goes so much deeper than skin: each scar is the title of a story, the refrain of some sweet old unfashionable song.