My name is Gretchen Witherspoon—I mean, my name is Little Miss Domestic Darkness. In my childhood, I suffered many unnecessary surgeries, mostly around my throat. Tonsils, thyroid—anything that could keep me from speaking. When I was eleven, I wrote a letter of complaint about the state of the nation to NBC news. Of course, it got read, so well written as it was. When my unwitting parents heard the news, they immediately confiscated my stationery and stamps. The pressure to constrain my voice throughout my life will explode, in a nice, fireworks kind of way, into this volume, this home companion, this introduction to a finer way of living away from fear, domination, control and ignorance.
My childhood was created in New Orleans in the mid-sixties, now a lost civilization. I am here to remind us all of what was wonderful about the communion of nature and the artistic color and motion of urban life in a city that was a Nation unto itself—a city whose spirit can be created in any one person, you perhaps, dear reader. In the mornings on the way to school, I could pick bananas, collect pecans dropped from their trees, step into the Voodoo Museum and talk to the witch doctors, pass through Bourbon Street, hear jazz wafting from windows, peek into the strip clubs while the dancers rehearsed or slept at the bar woozy from the night before. Within a half hour, I’d be in a classroom Hitlered by a nun.
In 1965 I was sent home from school for asking the question: “If it’s a sacrament to be baptized as you get born, and if it’s a sacrament to marry, then why is it not a sacrament when you get your period? Doesn’t that mean you are entering the virgin world of possible birth?” Suspended.
I’ve not done much of a better job of not asking questions, remaining voiceless in the long meantime. But I have found a way, a voice. One thing anyone can control in any world is the quality of their home and the content it celebrates. And so, I live to serve the domestic world. Think of me as your guiding angel, one foot in and out of Spirit, your leader into the world of Domestic Darkness, the new safe place.