Clovis woman


cavewomanTeddy Roosevelt’s daughter studied archaeology and she wore trousers. This was very modern and expected of her as the daughter of a great adventurer and a seeker of primitive cultures. She had a mustache, a light downy mustache, very feminine, that she bleached in her youth but rather cultivated as she grew into her identity as more than an adventurer’s daughter.

I should say that this daughter of Teddy Roosevelt is entirely fictional, and that any resemblance between her and an actual daughter of Teddy Roosevelt is coincidental. Some of the places may be real, but all of the people are fictionalized representations of a moment in history. She is the great adventurous American female. Fearless. Flippant. Carries a whip, brushes the dust off of her heavy khaki trousers and goes looking for antiquities. There she is at Blackwater Draw, cheek to cheek with archaeologists male and female, digging in the dirt, scraping, brushing and uncovering great mounds of bones. Early man. Bison graveyards. Spear points.

The air is dry and water is unpredictable. A sudden rain turns the excavation site into a gullywash out of which a sudden chorus of frogs announces the tendency of water and water creatures to hide just below the surface. They drink gin in the starlight while frogs serenade them, cicadas making a counterpoint and diggers singing the juke joint songs of the day. They draw mammoths in the dirt with pointed sticks – here, we see a spear point that wounds but does not kill the beast. It wanders off and is found 16,000 years later, skeleton intact, spear still buried in the ancient scapula. This is tangible evidence that we were here.

Clovis man is a manly man, with rocks and spears and flints. He is worshipping life and water and the blood of animals long before Teddy Roosevelt puts on his pith helmet and carries the swaggering bravery of the American West to the White House. Clovis man eats whatever is there: roots, bugs, cuddly small mammals, frogs in the wet season. But he dreams of meat. Big meat. Meat on the hoof. Clovis man invented barbecue, Teddy Roosevelt’s daughter is sure.

Teddy Roosevelt’s daughter, whose name is Clarissa, adores Clovis man. She imagines him rolling his own cigarettes, out of the locoweed that surfaces in these dig sites periodically. She smokes along with him and looks up at the stars, whirling now in the big universe just as they did in the night visions of Clovis man. When she pictures him, he is well dressed, in skins that cover his private parts but show the sinewy legs, and with shoes. She pictures him in rope sandals, and she pictures him drawing in the sand with a sharp stick, just as she is doing now.  The eminent archaeologist on the dig, Dr. Edgar Howard, makes an occasional effort to get close to Clarissa, but in her imagination she is having a joyous fling with the first real man in America. She imagines showing him the first locomotive, the first printing press, the first combustion engine. She looks at his spear design and she knows him for the first American, ingenious, an engineer even in his primitive state. She does not marry, and this is no surprise to her father, who til the end of his life shouted loud and jubilantly and clapped her on the back like an equal, like a brother. And indeed, they were very much brothers under the skin.

(25 minutes. Prompts: multiple words and phrases, collectively generated.)

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2 Responses to “Clovis woman”


  1. 1 todaysnewsart June 17, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    This was creative. I believed it at first. I like the characters you created, very amusing! And makes me want to keep reading about them.

  2. 2 Teresa June 17, 2009 at 8:40 pm

    Glad you believed it at first. I did too! I’ve often said that I don’t make this stuff up – there usually is some truth to it. Thanks for the feedback! Come by again, there will be more.


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