I am writing this so exhausted as to tip upon a state of drunkenness, having just drove back to Akron from Chicago stopping only momentarily at the outlet mall off the highway strange American sale jouissance just looking at STUFF and trying on STUFF at the Levis and Gap outlet and smelling the popcorn and feeling Midwestern sticky sweaty but as always outside, a voyeur. In the car I finally allowed myself to read - really read - Chris Kraus' I Love Dick (even though I folded bits of it into Frances Farmer the essay collection, I have been too afraid to really engage with it because it terrified me with its closeness). And I gulped it in one big gulp and then afterward I burst into the most voluptuous shudder of tears. I have written about this before but it is so strange this feeling of recognition, of connection. I have written about this reading Avital Ronnell's Crack Wars and esp. the essays of Dodie Bellamy but nowhere more than the works of Chris Kraus, her ficto-essay-journo-criticisms. Feeling a looping, it all coming together, that essayist / professor of mine the letter of recommendation I ripped open having decided not to apply to Columbia's MFA program, who wrote that "Kate has given you her serious self, soulful in that 90s feminism sort of way" but also said that SOMEDAY I could write the fictocrit of Chris Kraus. And I had never heard of Chris Kraus. And now she is my editor of a draft of essays I have not yet delivered, and now I have read a book that to me is like the contemporary version of its ur-text, Madame Bovary, always I thought the most perfect novel ever written, I Love Dick is to me such a perfect contemporary work. Yes, I speak in tongues and superlatives. And why write? Why? Why write if one cannot brim with the brilliance and crazy associativeness and attempt to dismantle and interrogate the self, the culture, literature, philosophy? So the weeping was from thankfulness, but also of course anxiety, as there are so many connections in what I've written in my essay draft and who and what Chris writes to in the book - that I didn't know! the mirroring Madame Bovary, the engagement with D&G, Hannah Wilke and other feminist performance artists, even bringing in Louise Colet the poet who had a relationship with Flaubert! So much anxiety and yes ecstasy of influence to turn over this collection to Chris next week, perhaps, I don't know.
And in a way reading it I became more hopeful for my text Mad Wife - which was the novel that I had always hoped to write, which is why I began this blog to work through these ideas. When Chris approached me about the essay collection, I thought I would have to bury Mad Wife, because in the blog and now the book I write so much about how I am haunted by these modernist wives - Zelda, Jane, Sylvia, Vivien(ne). But I'm realizing I need to begin all over. I need to read voraciously. I need to study continental philosophy - all of it - I need to study existentialism I need to think about the concepts of wifedom and what it means to be a woman and activist. What it means to interrogate the self, one's culture. And I'm realizing that I am circling around the self on this blog here, diaristic reflections, when I should be saving, expanding upon, engaging more deeply with it. So I am going to put the blog on hiatus for a while, maybe a month or a week or a few months or a few weeks I don't know. When I have an essay to write I will come back and essay, or bits to blog about, etc. What can I say? The Internet has saved me and utterly destroyed my life. Same with the literature I have been reading lately.
(Oh and make sure to check out Everyday Genius still this week! Texts by Megan Milks, Suzanne Scanlon, J'Lyn Chapman, Janice Lee, Affinity Konar, Chris Kraus!)