Here's the thing I'm realizing about attempting the pose of the essayist*: there is no separation, it seems, in the midst of it all, between "life" and "writing." Everything bleeds. I am getting ready to bleed, I am poised to bleed, all over the black silk sheets like Vivien(ne), like Sylvia, all these women I have been reading about with debilitating periods, I am forgetting the third one - Jane? No. I don't know. An entire tribe of gorgeous unstable poets who can be described away through PMDD. I remember once telling a doctor my symptoms - I saw her write on the white pad of paper, my outline: PMDD. I remember thinking, totally annoyed: "I did not give you permission to name me." I will not become a comely woman with straight hair who meditatively walks through the forest after you give me your medicines. Perhaps I want to be monstrous a week out of the month, perhaps I want to experience every woman's alienation, as DeB names it (did DeB have to belt her pads like Deenie? How humiliating). Oh, the Papin Sisters. Ragging and raging as they pulled their employer's eyes out. Their policeman named Deleuze? Where was I? Where am I? Anyway. Bleeding. Perhaps me mentioning my own bleeding as I do like a stuck pig is blurring boundaries - I am okay with that. I am testing this space for that. But to the subject of boundaries: everything I am living is written in the margins of this book. It's really hard to live and leave the dining table where I sit all day, ponderously writing four pages of a diary entry that takes hours in the midst of applying for work and complaining about not having work on Facebook, it is hard to live because everything is potential to be recorded. Everything is fodder. Everything can go in. But of course not everything can go in because that's what I did with my last draft and it was total shit. It was interesting, weird, bizarre, shit, but shit none the less. Merde. Murder. I had to erase it away. So my current alienation in this new setting - does it go in the book? My job search - the book? Some domestic fight - the book? I am searching for a place in the country, just like the Eliots, with as much zeal - the book. All for the book. Then it becomes living life for the book. Then you, become, in a way, a fiction, because none of it is authentic. It is lived-experience in order to write about it. This morning John finds out that he is being paid to go to Bergen, Norway. It is during the month we planned to take a trip - we have not taken a trip to another country since his conference in Italy now three years ago - and so we will go to Scandinavia for two weeks, there will be snow in the mountains while it's 110 degrees here. But then I start thinking of Elizabeth Hardwick writing about Ibsen's women and the Norwegian phenomenon of berserker and how at one point last year we thought we were going to move to Bergen for John for a position...All in the book. I am living life it seems entirely by screens. Everything must be reflected, mediated. And everything, everything bleeds.
*which I don't think I am, by the way, an essayist. I have never figured out for my life how to write a DISCRETE PIECE. when I worked at Columbia College in Chicago and taught creative nonfiction amidst lyric essayists, I thought my life goal was to learn to whittle myself away so much I could truly write the LYRIC. And submit to the Seneca Review, etc. But I cannot write a discrete essay to save myself (and it is certainly not lyric) and I cannot write a story, for that matter. Or a poem, although I am often referred to as a poet, I think because I make no money and no one's heard of me (this is a joke). This is why I don't submit to journals. Perhaps if I submitted to journals I would have a better career. No matter. What these pieces of writing are - I do not know. Perhaps I am really a blogger more than anything. A blobber. Bloggy blobby bleeding bits. It has become so pathological Chris has (rightly) told me to eliminate chapters from the book, because my attempts at chapters and demarcations are ludicrous, although I savor and love naming chapter titles. For whether I write fiction too is up to debate - nonfiction versus fiction - up to debate. It all kinds of bleeds together for me. And I am also realizing that what you read, except here, which is: PROCESS: what you read is sometimes besides the fact of what goes in to produce what you read, all the agonizing and list-making etc. I realized this morning I prefer the listmaking and the planning to the actual writing. I should be the literary equivalent of an architect, not a builder. Something like that.