Thursday, January 28, 2010

When a Body Meets a Body

So, I have a delusion sequence in the Monkey's notebook section in Under the Shadow in which Monkey imagines she was the child prostitute in the hotel scene in Catcher in the Rye (she also imagines she was Roman Polanski's child prostitute) and basically plagiarizes wholesale from the book, and I made a joke about Salinger suing Monkey. It doesn't make sense anymore. So as a tribute to Salinger, here it is here (unedited). Will probably take it down in a day or so. It's not the most formed or clever part, but all too timely.

Keep in mind it's supposed to be a notebook. If this is ever published will I take out the reference? Don't know. Also: how funny is it that the headline for Salinger's death in the NYT is Salinger, Literary Recluse? That's kind of amazing.

This then? This is not a book. This is libel, slander, defamation of character. This is not a book, in the ordinary sense of the word. No, this is a prolonged insult, a gob of spit in the face of Art, a kick in the pants to God, Man, Destiny, Time, Love, Beauty…

if you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably like want to know is where i was born, you know, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but i don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. So i will skip to the time when i was working as a prossy at a New York hotel. i was about 14 years old, but i felt ancient. i liked living in NY as opposed to LA because of the seasons, which always made me feel nostalgic, which is probably retarded. my pimp-man maurice called me sunny at the time because i was from california, he didn’t know i was mdwest-born-and-bred, i had really erased all traces of my former self. how it’d work is, maurice worked in the elevator and if there was a guy travelling alone, some sort of salesman or whatever, he would ask if he wanted a date tonight, if he wanted a throw, and if so, he would send me to his room. and yeah i looked kind of young but it was usually dark and more often than not they’d like them young, the ingenue type, as they say in Hollywood. all the guys were old fat slobs but it’d be real quick and i’d take off my dress and climb on top of them. it’s easier to be on top, and it’s better so i dont suffocate underneath all of the old man-mountain. sometimes they’d pour me a drink first from the minifridge, like a sprite or sumthing, or sometimes we’d make a little small talk, but i really just liked to get to bizness, small talk always made me feel real empty somehow, like, small or sumthing. it was a lonely life living in one of those rms, i didn’t really have any friends, sure there were the other girls, but i usually kept to myself. sometimes i would sit and read, i really love novels, i read a really good one by this guy called camus, it was called the stranger or sumthing, and that’s how i usually feel like some sort of stranger, and he was just this guy who stayed in his room and bummed around too and went to the beach. And i remember in school i read this story by this guy called kafka about this guy who woke up and realized that he was this bug and his family tried to murder him. that’s what would happen to me if i tried to come home, my dad once said, the only way we’d stop loving you is if you were a whore, and so that is that. and speaking of bugs i feel like i always have to have this shell over myself, to protect myself, which can be real lonely sometimes. So most of the time when i’m feeling rainy city-streets i like to be by myself, i like to go down on 34th street and walk around the macy’s, looking at the make-up counters, maybe buying myself a mac lipstick, or i like walking over to central park and feeding the ducks, or once in a while i’ll go to the met and look at the degas. i fucking love the degas pastels, especially the dancers, i love that creamy orange he uses, it fills me with such joy, it’s hard to explain. i took dance lessons and all when i was little, like at the local park district, that’s not why i love it, it’s just their innocence of these young girls, their joy, it fills me with such a hole that aches, don’t know if that makes sense, although i don’t know whether degas hated or loved his women, his dancers and bathers. i don’t make many connections with people except one time there was this pimply-faced kid, and he seemed sad too, like maybe he was a runaway, and he reminded me of my big brother, who i haven’t seen in forever, and i’ll never forget this he told me he’d pay me but he didn’t want to fuck, for sure he was a virgin, which sometimes you get, some guys chipping in to buy a hooker to devirginize someone (or would it be divirginate?), to divest them of their virginity, or sumthing, dunno, but this kid, he had a strange name, don’t remember, he seemed like some sort of orphan, he just wanted to talk, but that made me feel all weird inside, and i sat on the chair and my foot bounced up and down like it does when i’m nervous, and i sat on his lap and told him he was cute, that’s what we were rehearsed to do, but he was kind of cute, and he said nothing, so i slipped my dress off, as usual, it was my favorite hooker dress from contempo casuals, it was brown and lacey and had an oriental pattern, and i remember he stared at my body with my little rose-brown bumps, and told me to put my clothes on, which made my nose get all bent out of shape, because i have issues with rejection, and so i sicked maurice on him and i think he roughed him up a little. And i felt bad about that afterwards, and i wish i could have gone out with the kid for a hot chocolate, i think that’s what he really wanted, some company, but i’m just a hollow girl, i’m just a hollow girl in this hollow world and it would be like going out for hot chocolate with a vessel full of dust.

(dear mr. salinger plz sue me i wld like publicity for my notebook when it is published. or, if you would like another joyce maynard i am jailbait pretty and the voice of my generation and i have a thing for neurotic authority figures and i am quite bendy-twisty.   - love love monkey-girl)

James Pate on Beckett & Francis Bacon

Amazing essay by James Pate posted on so glad to read this here, as I missed James' presentation at the &Now festival in Buffalo, and combining Beckett & Bacon is irresistible to me. I love how James uses Deleuze's reading of Bacon and extends it to his reading of Beckett...I too found Deleuze's concept of the "body without organs" in his chapter on the hysteric in his book on Bacon to be much more approachable than in Anti-Oedipus...Although I can't say I still *entirely* understand the body without organs. It appears to be a way of fleeing the body, of transcendence, although is this possible with an abject body? a woman's body? I have been thinking of this. Would like to read a good feminist critique of the Deleuzian body w/o organs - any ideas?

Anyway. The essay is wonderful. I love what he has to say about the Beckett mouth, as well as the paralyzed Beckett body, screaming desperately against its own uselessness/paralysis:

There are also the bodies in Beckett, and while it might be a bit of a stretch, I would argue that they relate to the Deleuzian Figure. The anonymous quality of Beckett’s characters is well known, with so many wearing the same shabby clothes and hats. The facelessness plays a part also, with maybe the most famous example of this being the mouth in Not I. (Not enough has been made of the monstrous and/or anonymous bodies in Beckett, I think: so much emphasis is placed on voice instead. But the voices in Beckett always arise from someplace, even if only a single desperate mouth.) The bodies themselves are such tortured, contorted things: they are sometimes on crutches, sometimes getting their low-hanging scrotums tangled up in their bicycles, and frequently they are immobile, as in the case of the narrator of The Unnamable who sits (or thinks he might sit) with his hands on his knees and tears streaming down from his “unblinking eyes.”

I am extraordinarily inspired by this, my mind is racing. Why doesn't James Pate have a blog? (UPDATE: he will be posting regularly on Exoskeleton. C'est fantastique.)

Also apropos of my post yesterday about writing & silence (how to write silence, when we don't write, when we obliterate ourselves completely), James writes this:

Deleuze argues that Bacon is not a simply a pessimist because of his focus on force; the dynamism in Beckett works in a similar way. A true miserabilist would not write at all.

Non sequitur: after reading that the past pope flagellated himself all I could think of was Bacon's screaming popes (I filter all my Catholicism through Bacon and Bunuel).

Vanessa Place on Reviewing

I don't think there's an American intellectual out there now who's more sly or wicked than Vanessa Place (who I would like to name V-Dub II, even though that doesn't make any sense.)  Dies: A Sentence is on my plate now, in terms of a conversation I'm having in my head that I hope to digest and regurgitate regarding the concept of impenetrability and the text, as well as writing that privileges the verbal. It's such a feat, such a performance, and so fucking cerebral (I love her coining of "subjective correlative"). She is interviewed as part of Lemonhound's series on reviewing.

LH: What do you hope to achieve by writing about writing? Do you believe that reviews can actually bring new readers to texts?

VP: Like flies. And, like flies, drive others away. But my deeper ambition, as previously confessed, is to figure out what ghosts our spined machines.