"Abstracts of a conversation with the artist"
To resume again...
Minds, Bodies and Other Problems
JOSEFINA AYERZA: So the Rubber Woman and her story...|
SUE WILLIAMS: Hm . . . well, it all begins with the Rubber Lady stuck to her couch for days on end... or maybe she goes out to get her medication, otherwise she's stuck there, moaning and whimpering that "I just want to die. . ." till her only option is to make chocolate chip cookies and eat the dough.
JA: Why does she eat the dough, can't she cook it?
SW: No, she just eats it all . . . well, she only eats half of it and she becomes ill, the rest goes down the toilet. Then she meets a man. . . the Rubber Lady meets a man and it's love at first sight. They get along really well. What they say clicks immediately because it's the same conversation that she has with her father all of her life... To her it seems like home... and they move in together immediately. She probably hates her father but doesn't even know it because he can be so charming at times.
JA: So she also loves him...
SW: She loves him also and doesn't even know that she has any rights to any anger, because anger is powerful and she's not allowed to have any power. It' s sad because her mother is the same way . She ' s cruel. The mother is absorbed with the status quo so much that sneezing is embarrassing. And anything out of the ordinary is very embarrassing. The Rubber Lady is totally out of the ordinary cause, she can't think of anything to do because all she can think of is what her parents are saying to her. She has no inner life. Her inner life consists of the cookie dough she eats every day.
JA: So it's digestion, the inner life?
SW: It's digestion and constipation because there's no roughage. So anyway, the Rubber Lady is just miserable. And then she meets the man. So she moves in immediately of course. The man is a total psycho but she has no idea because it's so homey...
JA: The problem is the parents?
SW: Yes, the Rubber Lady comes from this miserable background. So the Rubber Lady is used to nothing much. And she's really thrilled that someone likes her so obsessively; they are maniacs over her, and they find her so irresistible...
JA: So there are other men included now?
SW: No. This is the same one. She's very monogamous. In other words, she's afraid to do anything wrong. But yes, everyone beats the daylights out of her. The Rubber Lady always tries to run for her life but she doesn't have any life and she doesn't know where to go. And she always comes back because she thinks about her Dad and how charming he is and lets the horrible parts slide until it seems that she's nearly dead. And then she crawls away. When she gets better, she goes home, but they all beat her with their words. So she finds another person, but the person she clicks with has the same conversation. So she does it again. She meets the man of her dreams at four o'clock in a bar. He's sitting there and they decide to go home together. And it clicks probably because they're drunk. So they live together for years. He beats her and she screams but she gets no help because everyone's disgusted.
JA: Are they disgusted because she lets herself be beaten ?
SW: That's what they think.
JA: Or are they disgusted because of her behavior? What are they disgusted about?
SW: They' re disgusted that a woman would kick herself in the head I like to say. In other words they blame the victim because there is so much hatred of women.
JA: Is there hatred of women in general, in the world?
SW: Yeah. They don't want to take the time to understand.
JA: Who does she tall to so that they would understand?
SW: She screams and yells when she thinks he's going to kill her. He drags her out into the hallway by her hair and she screams because she' s afraid that she' 11 be pushed down the stairs, but nobody comes because "they are artists."
JA: Oh, I see. Both of them?
SW: Everyone in the building is an artist.
JA: Including her?
SW: She's an artist, too, actually. But she doesn't produce. So no one bothers because they think that the police are for the working class, so they are actually outside of everything. I read once that if you keep electrocuting a dog in a closed cage so that it can't get out, when you open the cage, the dog doesn't leave anymore. He just sits there. Why bother? I mean the rubber lady, not me of course.
JA: Maybe that at a certain point the dog finds pleasure in this...
SW: No, it's painful to be electrocuted, and he loses all desire, all motivation. In other words he's just a battered one. But the rubber lady actually escapes. The rubber lady escapes by the skin of her teeth... having been kicked in the head so many times.
JA: How do you escape by the skin of your teeth ? Does she bite ?
SW: She bites their foreskin. The Rubber Lady does gets mad, but she's always feeble. She makes attempts, but it always works out against her because she' s only a woman and these are very strong men, and psychotics have an extra strength when they're mad.
JA: Strength is in the words or strength is in the body?
SW: Their strength is in their body when they're so angry, these kind of men turn very vicious and ugly and kind of a whole different consciousness comes over them. It's very frightening. The Rubber Lady can smell the violence, she is very used to it, and she runs.
JA: She runs out of the house?
SW: She tries to, but sometimes she doesn't make it. So the rubber lady is beaten and sad and in pain... and she moves on. The rubber lady gets out of it finally. Of course, it's economic too. If she could have her own apartment. But she can never think of that. Anyway she would just sit there on the couch and eat cookie dough because alone she. . . she needs to be filled. She couldn't stand to be alone. She has no one in her life. She' s just a Rubber Lady. She' s just a sad Rubber Lady. She can't be alone, she can't.