One of three parts of “Leave the Stovelight On,” written by Darina Sikmashvili with music by Diana Hill. This part is titled “Diane”:


From Darina Sikmashvili:

Over the last year I have taken to writing short, instantly gratifying studies of people. I believe “Diane” was the first of them, the pioneer of my now quickly multiplying family/army of mostly women.

Before I began “Diane” I wrote, (I still have the sticky on my computer from January 2014) “you hurt my feelings. you hurt my feelings and you didn’t have to.” Some spaces later followed, “when I left your house in the morning it was snowing.”

I was on the train the morning of January 2nd 2014, not in my borough and not leaving a friend’s apartment, and I sat down on the 2 train wayyy uptown opposite a woman wearing all gray, starched, it looked like. Gray slacks and a gray sweater peeking out from a long gray coat. She was holding a gray leather tote bag between her fingers and multiple times through our journey together the thing would just slip out of her hands. She’d pick it up, make no adjustments in particular, and relive this again in a few minutes. So I guess if you’d like to know, if you’re really rattling your head about it, that’s what Diane looks like. Something out of a Hopper painting. Something that exists either to come undone, or stay completely still.

Extremes fascinate me. People who live on ends of spectrums, who saturate themselves in something, in someone, y’know? So there’s Diane, who’s typical mode of operation is a modest dinner with friends, and who, when she is made to feel pleasure through another person, immediately retreats to a love cave, only to realize she is there alone.

Kinda sad, right? But consider the speckles of humor! Consider how strange and funny it is to color in so much of feeling into the two-toned experience we know as “second base”. Consider how awkward the experience of holding your coworker up while they imitate a wet cat in your arms – clawing and yowling at you.

With “Diane” I had a tough time, as I’m sure KAFKA (oh, I went here) had, reiterating the humor. With “Surge: Late Nite” and “Rosalind” I think it is clearer…

“Rosalind” was inspired by an ex lover of my current significant other. Their separation was murky territory to me for a while until I learned that the bulk of it had to do with him. It became the subject of a number of arguments between us, and I had conceived of a scenario in which it was she who had the last laugh.

Like Diane, Rosalind had to fight her way out of herself if she was going to make any sort of reclaiming of her personality. I think a common experience in break ups involving cohabitation is the ownership of things, and this is the anchor Rosalind finds for herself. The claiming of furniture, the claiming of her participation in their shared life. Still, the saying goes, that some animal I forget never changes its stripes, and Rosalind cannot make these declarations in person. She flees like a thief with velvet chairs in the night!

“Surge: Late Nite”, man… Regrets, I’ve had a few. Do you know that I was absolutely without a doubt convinced that I would sound like a sexy, throaty, jungle-ey late night radio-show host? Do you know that I had dreams the size of elephants about the phone calls I would receive about starting a little segment of my own? Reciting Joe Frank-like dreams that listeners would send in? Wishing misters and mistresses happy birthdays? Instead I think it is a bit of a, “receding from oral surgery” drawl… Ah, well, what’re ya gonna do?

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