On Archery

I finally bought myself a bow.

I decided to try my hand at archery a few months ago.  I got the idea because I love target shooting with my guns, so I thought archery might appeal to me.  Like the other sports I enjoy–swimming, cross-country skiing–it is solitary in its execution, which suits my nature.

I went to the indoor archery range and hired a professional to tutor me for an hour.  I would have much preferred to hire a woman instructor, because I am sick and fucking tired of paying male professionals to sleaze on me and make me uncomfortable, but there were no women.  Fortunately, and to my pleasant surprise, my instructor was as good as gold, and I hire him to supervise my technique at the range every week.

The sportsmen at the archery range are different from the type I usually encounter at the gun range; the atmosphere is different, which I appreciate.  There are more families, youths, workers on lunch break at the archery range.  I love to shoot my guns, but the culture is toxic and I wear my hearing protection the entire time in part to avoid eavesdropping on the horrid conversations around me.

Yesterday, I took my new bow and a target drove half an hour into the foothills of the mountains, where the Basque shepherds used to graze their sheep.  There was still snow on the ground, but not too deep at that altitude.  The birch and aspen trees were white like the snow, and winter had exposed the birds’ nests.

In my experience, archery involves a high level of concentration which is also, paradoxically, very soothing.  It gets me out of my head.  It’s nice not to think about things sometimes.  The sound of the arrow hitting the target is very satisfying.  I’ve learned to use the muscles in my back, instead of my arm, to draw.  It’s a big like rowing.

Work was very busy this week.  I made a lot of money (well, for me), twice what I usually make on a weekly basis, and I’m still too exhausted to think about what to do with it.  I guess, after bills are paid, half will go into savings and half into checking, same as always.  I did treat myself with the bow–I overnighted it to my apartment.

I need to find a new therapist.  As I’m sure all of you know, my last experience with one was an unqualified disaster that I do not pretend to have recovered from.  The prospect of shopping for a new one–at considerable personal expense, no less–leaves me feeling completely exhausted.  I have learned my lesson, though: no more guys.

Unless they’re gay.  A gay therapist would be safe.

It’s interesting, you know: outside of my tutoring job, all that I do is deal with men and their sexuality.  Outside of my internet friends, there are no women in my life at this time.  It’s all men, all the time.

And I feel like the loneliest girl in the world.

Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink, eh…? 


My Life had stood – a Loaded Gun (764)


My Life had stood – a Loaded Gun –
In Corners – till a Day
The Owner passed – identified –
And carried Me away –
And now We roam in Sovreign Woods –
And now We hunt the Doe –
And every time I speak for Him
The Mountains straight reply –
And do I smile, such cordial light
Opon the Valley glow –
It is as a Vesuvian face
Had let it’s pleasure through –
And when at Night – Our good Day done –
I guard My Master’s Head –
’Tis better than the Eider Duck’s
Deep Pillow – to have shared –
To foe of His – I’m deadly foe –
None stir the second time –
On whom I lay a Yellow Eye –
Or an emphatic Thumb –
Though I than He – may longer live
He longer must – than I –
For I have but the power to kill,
Without – the power to die –

The Poems of Emily Dickinson, Edited by R. W. Franklin (Harvard University Press, 1999)

Source: The Poems of Emily Dickinson: Reading Edition ed by Ralph W. Franklin (Harvard University Press, 1999)

One thought on “On Archery”

  1. Hi Margo

    I came across a “kink-friendly” list of professionals on the internet a few years ago. It included therapists, doctors and psychologists as well as people such as handymen and plumbers. It’s probably still out there somewhere. Sorry I didn’t save the link, but you can probably find it. It was a national list if I remember right.

    Hope this helps, even if just a litle.

    Take care of yourself


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