Monday, February 15, 2010
The Collagist has excerpted one of the Maggie sections (it's a triptych, Maggie, Malachi & Mommy) for their recent issue...Here is the link to me reading it, you can hear my trauma-drama voice, make sure you click on the link to QuickTime otherwise it's slowslow, and I think they're doing a mini-interview soon, I don't know, I'll link to it. As you can tell if you read it, the work is kind of a series of grotesque carciatures, something I think about as I'm preparing myself to bear looking at this work again (it's hard for me to stomach rereading a lot of my writing), is, do I like my characters? Ha, now I'm interviewing myself!, okay let's try it:
Q.Tell me Kate, we are on first-names, do you like your characters, in your fiction stuff?
A. I don't really think of myself as writing fiction.
Q. Okay (senses a diva). Well if not fiction how would you characterize your writing?
A. I don't know. I'm kind of self-taught. Maybe, prose? Prosey? Prose-like? Prosthetic?
A. Like I'm an amputee. I find amputee fetish porn very interesting. Is that insensitive? Do you know it's the stump, that's the turn-on, not the actual amputee? I find that really interesting. And then writing as a sort of amputation.
Q. That doesn't make any sense.
A. Who said anything about making sense? I like to make large statements, like "Writing is this..." It's fun. You should try it. "Writing is like snow, blank, open, frigid."
Q. Back to your characters. Do you like your characters, in your prosthetic work?
A. I actually like the term "fictional work" but my partner John made me stop putting that on my CV. I like it because it intimates I haven't actually written anything, that the work is somehow the ramblings of a psychotic mind, but that it doesn't actually exist. Septimus Smith is my model for a writer. See? That's another blank statement about writing. They're fun.
Q. Do you like your characters, Kate, in this work, we're supposed to be talking about?
A. As much as I like myself.
Q. I sense some real issues here.
A. I don't want to get into that. If I wanted to get into that, I would have called back the woman from Cleveland Psychoanalytic Center after she left multiple sympathetic voicemail messages, returning my call, but then I realized it was an hour to Cleveland every day, and could Cleveland Psychoanalysis be the same as, I don't know, elsewhere, like with Kristeva? And it was an urge, a temporary urge, when I read the journals of Anais Nin, and I wanted to be psychoanalyzed, like with Otto Rank, maybe this is me saying I wanted to have a love affair with an authority figure which has never happened to me, which has made me feel forever unwanted & unloved.
Q. Your characters. In this new book, the Mommy & Maggie characters, are very unsympathetic.
A. This is not a question. In J-School we were always taught to ask open-ended questions.
Q. Okay. Why are your characters so unsympathetic?
A. I was mainlining large amounts of Elfriede Jelinek at the time, Women as Lovers, I believe, and it was summer, and I hate heat, and I was experiencing large amounts of anti-nationalist sentiment/sediment. Yes. I wanted to write a series of grotesques. Like Francis Bacon's paintings. It is satirical. How people are cliches. How people are not really themselves but everyone is convinced of their own individuality/the American dream/blah blah blah. And how the DSM-IV and TV characters have a way of codifying identity. But I don't hate my characters, I am wildly ambivalent to them. I actually love Maggie. I love Maggie, I love Malachi, the Septimus Smith character, he is psychotic but he is honest.
Q. And Mommy?
A. I did have a lot of issues with my pscyhotic housewife/Mrs. Dalloway. But in the new work I'm working on, I'm kind of rewriting O Fallen Angel, rewriting the family romance, and situating it in a suburban house, where the father rapes the daughter but it turns into a sort of bad romance and the mother is blind and deaf to it all, and in this one the mother is named Mrs. Von R, and I do love Mrs. Von R, I love her more than I love Mommy, who I draw very cruelly. And this is probably psychoanalytic as well, although Mommy is not my mother, my mother was more of a Joan Crawford figure, glamorous, perennial flashes of remoteness and warmth, prone to sudden moods. But Mommy is kind of a societal mother. I have known many Mommies. I have lived in her womb.