Marilyn as Clara Bow for Life magazine
So I'm thinking here today about two birthdays. One, I turned 34 today. I am one year away from a personal scary age (all the 5s and 10s are scary to me, I am one of those people who mourn and turn inwards on birthdays, immersing myself in all of these philosophical inquiries about identity and life, probably too because it's the day before the end of the year). It is strange to celebrate a birthday when one is technically unemployed - in some ways I feel I'm accomplishing what I want to so far, as a writer, or feel okay where I'm at, in other ways I feel I still have to figure out how to basically survive at life. I am seriously considering enrolling as an undergraduate at the university here in the fall, to intensely take languages and see if I can maybe get into a comp lit program here, also because of a fierce desire to live abroad, or at least travel more abroad, and also to translate. I am thinking of taking intense French and German in the summer, I also want to take: Swedish, Italian, Portuguese (Portuguese for Lispector, Swedish because of the amazing-sounding women writers Johannes Goransson writes about.) I know it might seem to late to embark on these endeavors, but I've always been a late bloomer. If I do reenroll as an undergrad I also want to potentially take world religion classes, or at least go to a temple, as in my twenties I learned my mother was Jewish and I've never even been inside of a temple. More goals, some surface, others vague: to finish or figure out my American Fritzl triptych; to begin work on my post-feminist essays set in the South, which will involve rereading all of Kathy Acker and spending time in the Acker archive at Duke; to finish doing readings for Green Girl and embark on the Heroines tour without having it eat my soul; to continue to grow my hair out so that I look like St. Vincent or Maya Deren (my hair's like an inch long now, it'll take a while); oh, to fucking get some PAYING work here. Also: in 2012 I will try my damnedest to not read anything toxic or negative on the Internet (especially about anything I have written). I will try not to get into any more Internet altercations. They are exhausting and draining.
Tomorrow it will also be the two year anniversary of Frances Farmer is My Sister. Two years ago tomorrow, on December 31, 2009, I was bored in Akron, Ohio, and had just the day before turned 32, and was reading Tropic of Cancer again for the first time since I was in my early 20s, and wanted to talk to someone about it, and thought, hmm, I should start writing essays for such-and-such-a-place, I liked this idea, of trying to write essays about literature, and instead I opened up a Blogger account and John quickly put together the header with Frances Farmer kicking and screaming and I started typing into a void, not really editing myself in any way, not even really understanding the subculture or subsubcultures of the Interwebs. I wrote these posts fueled not like Kerouac on speed and split pea, but by a sort of anarchy and fervent belief in my own anonymity. Then one or two months later Chris Kraus contacted me about maybe trying to write a book about the women of modernism for Semiotext(e) (that sounds like a calendar: Djuna would be January, of course, Jean Rhys would be April, no Vivien(ne), would be crueller). And that's that. Then my blog totally sucked and has been limping along broken and barking out the quotidian the next one year and 7 months while I freaked out and tried to write a book that combined criticism and memoir. I'm kidding. Kind of.
I have been putting together a list of my favorite posts of the past two years, I'll post it soon.
I hope the New Year brings you anarchy or calm, whatever you desire.