I am in bed reading David Markson's Wittgenstein's Mistress, one of John's favorite books (along with Ava by Carole Maso, another book I haven't been able really to access yet, although admire). It is only at 7pm that I am able to try reading - it's been a non-day, a day when time has been erased by absolute necessity, perhaps appropriate then to be reading a novel where the madness of the central, and solitary heroine is defined by being out of time. Hang-over today - from two glasses of wine yesterday while reading out with John at a local cafe, as he is helping me give a final look-through of Heroines - a cafe that serves mostly coffee and wine (very very good coffee, and very very good wine) and because I'm not supposed to be drinking coffee (migraines, insomina) I chose wine. Very very good wine. I always forget how that makes me feel the next day. The depths and dregs. A line from Green Girl that's taken from my life, post-Ruth's Ecstasy scene: All the joy had crept out of her body. And then last night, sleepless, I then took an Ambien, stupid, didn't realize what a depressive effect that would have, the combination. So today, when wasn't totally the High Priestess of Catatonia, when that wore off, walked in sunshine, played with puppy, watched Helena Bonham Carter in Wings of the Dove, and now, finally, reading. And ordering cheese pizza for delivery. Despite being vegan sometimes cheese pizza is the only remedy. I am yelling into the other room about Wittgenstein's Mistress, a conversation John and I have had forever, that I'm uncomfortable with this portrayal of female madness by a male author, which is why it's taken me so long to try to read it, although I've started many times.
Me: The grammar is very Wittgenstein-like.
J: Yes, the syntax he creates, it's the only reference I think to Wittgenstein in the book.
Me: I like it. (Pauses) It reminds me of Gail Scott's My Paris.
J: Yeah, that makes sense.
Me: I am uncomfortable that he is making her menstruate in the second page.
J: Is it uncomfortable the way he describes her menstruating?
Me: No, no. Just that she's this female character he already has menstruate on the second page. (Reads more). I think I don't like him writing her menstruating at all. I don't like that he claims to know her body.
(John doesn't say anything)
Me: I mean, I have a point, right?
Me: So why is she allowed to start a fire in the Louvre?
J: She's the only woman around. It's an apocalyptic setting.
Me: Oh, right. Sorry. I'm reading it too lightly.
(Pause, I'm only on like third page)
Me: "For a moment I walked to the dunes to urinate." See, that wouldn't happen. Women wouldn't walk to the dunes to urinate.
J: I've seen women go into the woods to urinate.
Me: You can, but it's not easy. A man just wrote that description.
J: But you can do it.
Me: Like if you had a roll of toilet paper. But he makes the description so easy. It's too easy. Usually when women squat and pee it all just gets everywhere and sogs up their pubic hair.
Me: How does she get from the Met to the Louvre if there's no one else around?
J: Doesn't she have a truck?
Me: From the Met to the Louvre?
J: I don't know. I think it's potentially supposed to be a bizarre hallucination.
I am on page 4.