*For March in (on?) HTML Giant Chris Higgs is running a series of interviews about "What is Experimental Literature?" he conducted with 10 (female) (experimental) writers - this week is Bhanu Kapil and Danielle Dutton, then there's Miranda Mellis, Debra Di Blasi, Susan Steinberg, me, Amelia Gray, Tantra Bensko, Alexandra Chasin, and Lidia Yukanvitch. It should definitely be worth a read. I think he's going to continue it potentially with ten new writers next month.Today is Bhanu's. Glorious, madcap Bhanu. Who makes me wish I had thought more about my answers (everything is l'ecriture automatique for me, everything is typing for me, I am a Beat without benzos although I am allowed to eat split pea). Go comment there so there can be some sort of dialogue.
*Although it's funny when he asked me I was a bit tickled because a)I have always admired his posts and lectures on HTML Giant and b)he wrote he was asking ten innovators in the field, or something, what field? there is no field. As in grass. Or I don't know. Ten interesting experimental writers. But then I realized after a few exchanges it was ten women writers he was asking, and for a moment - a moment! - I felt a bit deflated, I don't know why. Not that I've done anything to be included on any list, but it would have been nice to have been considered in some sort of pool (we had grass now we have water, terrible) without the specialty clause of my gender. Or something. I feel lately I am an uneasy spokesperson for my gender. I'm going too much about it. It was a twinge, I emailed him to clarify, he did, I thought, okay. I tend to wax rhapsodic about the women writer and read and write about the woman writer so I am just measuring my response and wondering - what is behind the twinge? I was still very happy to do the interview and feel it is a good idea.
*But I realize my ideas about "women writing" are changing, I think evolving - we still must speak of it, because everyone else speaks of it. There are still exceptions, it is exceptional. But why, now? Is it still exceptional? I suppose it is. And we must speak of those exceptions.
*I was in Chicago this weekend. Visiting my father because he turned 70 this (last) month and my sister is taking him to Hawaii and I'm a terrible daughter. I miss snow. I saw S and we drank herbal tea and talked about the erasure of the Great Author, how something about the Great Author can erase others, can erase the self, I think that happened to my wives.
* I am also realizing in terms of my communication of the self here, and in private, in public and in private, all in an attempt to have a community, I do not really articulate the nature of my depression, my apartness, my solitude, and I still even though I have formed friendships of a sort through this do not understand the texture of anyone else's suffering. Because when we see each other or write each other we always speak around it. So how do I really reveal myself at all? I have one friend who I write my depression to, and she writes hers back to me. Like sliding notes underneath the door.
*This is what this blog is beginning to feel like, as well, although I don't know who is actually reading the notes I'm sliding through the bars, under the door. I see that there are readers, but sometimes I wonder whether this too is an exercise in impotence. I used to love this blog for the discussion around the comments - but those have mostly stopped. Perhaps I am not writing posts that beg for discussion, for comments? This is possible. God, it's one thing to obsess over who's reading your book, now to obsess over who's reading your blog! So silly and futile. It is possible that I annoyed people by quitting the blog and coming back numerous times. So that now it's forever changed. I think I have 70-150 readers a day. When I write something particularly kicky or whatever that number grows. I read in the New York Times that someone who writes a mommy blog (Dooce) gets like - 100,000 readers a day. That seems like a lot of readers. Perhaps I am an amateur, as opposed to professional, blogger. Much like I am an amateur, as opposed to professional, writer.
*The game around the family kitchen table seemed to be the old stand-by of "Fix Katie" (as they call me, as it's my real name). Because no one will hire me to teach in the state of North Carolina. I felt like the fuck-up I was when I graduated from college and couldn't get a waiting table job except at Steak and Shake (where their uniforms were paper, and the busboy would steal my tips, and the manager would grab my ass). Where my mother would urge me to get a job at Andersen Consulting and told me that unless I could claim it on my taxes, my writing was a hobby (it was okay: I wasn't doing any writing). At the table this weekend various secretarial work was suggested. My aunt suggested that I approach a community newspaper to write a column about books. I'm too much of a snob, I replied. In defense. You will have to downgrade the snobbishness, yes, she said. Later that night I laid in my childhood bed with John and cried tears of humiliation and felt like a caged thing. I told him, I'm not going back with you. Although knowing my only alternative at this particular point was my child's bedroom in the Chicago suburb.
*I have been on a white food diet lately (not avoiding it, only eating it, stomach, counter-intuitive but settles somehow) and painted my nails gold. I also have gone fully avant-femme and purchased even though I really shouldn't have two amazing architectural spectacle dresses in Chicago in order to survive the climate here - they are my Jeanne d'Arc dresses, as Zelda said of her blue number she wore in Paris. I bought the dresses so I could bear living here, and being the wife-of, and having no employment possibilities or public identity to speak of. I bought the dresses so I could act out some version of Southern style or witchy debutantism or eccentric post-flapperism that I find personally entertaining. I think Helena Bonham Carter would love these dresses - I've decided lately I want to have the personal aesthetic of a train wreck. When I wear them in the streets I will look alien. They are costumes of a certain sort of identity. Perhaps I am trying to clothe my interior.They are also dresses ostensibly for Green Girl readings - which allegedly I will be doing a lot of when the book comes out in October although I have nothing planned and don't know who to ask- because Green Girl is like a pale imitation of a Jean Rhys novel so much about the jouissance of shopping, filling the hole with silk stockings and dresses. I will wear them when I read Green Girl - one is poufy yet sort of Hitchcock heroine and painted black and white stripes, and the other is dark blue ruffly and blobbish and tempered by a belt and makes me look like an elegant Veruca Salt pre-juicing. I would like to wear them with stockings that are ripped at the knee, and shoes that are untied.
*I am trying to figure out the difference lately between: coping and thriving.
*I probably purchased the dresses as some sort of payment, or desperation, or revenge. Like the sea-foam-green handmade heels I bought a decade ago as revenge when John was out looking at the Joseph Cornell boxes with the famous woman writer I will not name, even though we did not combine our money, yet, at that point, I purchased these lavish accessories as some sort of act, some gesture. Perhaps I've become one of those wives who communicate through Surrealist shopping lists, like Nicole Diver in Tender is the Night standing there in the store with a songbird on her shoulder, an heiress-Nadja.
*The worst turbulence ever flying back to North Carolina last night. I rocked shut as a seashell and emitted whimpers and all I could think about were the works I'm not letting myself write. The day before we were talking about archives - we often talk about archives - our idee fixees - I said - if I ever became someone and my archives were donated to a library would they want my clothes? John said no. I said well then who gets my clothes? So I told him specifically who to give my clothes to. I said to John - I want you to do an exhibit of my clothes after I die, if I die young, like Dodie Bellamy did with Kathy Acker (don't worry: I'm not delusional, I know I will never aspire to either of their careers, it was all in fun). Are you serious? John said. He gets uncomfortable with any talk of death, especially mine, which is too bad, as I have a lifelong romanticism with ideation and a voluptuous morbidity. He hates this conversation, which is my version of being playful. He doesn't like any talk of death, but is fairly blase about planes crashing and burning. No. I say. I 'm not serious. (Although privately I would love it.)
*Esther Greenwood scattering her Bloomingdale wardrobe out of the window from the New York high-rise. Zelda burning her dresses in a bathtub.
*This does not appear to be a blog post.