I am laying in our futon bed in our airbnb loft in the Lower Garden District in New Orleans. I feel I should do "work,"i.e. answering emails, mostly about Heroines publicity, trying to find blurbers, feel utterly incapable of this task. Yesterday a full, ludic day, in the French Quarter with John while my other wonderful traveling companion Gina A. took a swamp tour. There's about one day a year where John and I are on holiday and have cocktails and flaneur around, warm and buzzed - this was one of those days. After all, we were here. I felt I was retracing my steps the entire time - the last time I was here was 11 years ago, I was 23, having recently been dumped by my sweet yet slightly cruel bro of a boyfriend the night before, yet we still decided to go on our planned, only holiday, driving up to New Orleans from Chicago in one day. Most of the time I spent alone, wandering around cemeteries and squares, drinking by myself, smoking outside our little pension that I think was in the Marigny district but am unsure, everything looks familiar but so different. And then at night I would messily weepily drunkenly beg him to fuck me, to love me, and sometimes he'd fuck me but his love he would withhold, beginning a cycle of cruelty that lasted for a while, since it took months for me to get enough money to move out to my own place. But I think of this time as an awakening of sorts, and yesterday tromping around I thought of Edna Pontellier alone and searching in New Orleans in The Awakening.
I've been searching so much while on this road trip. It has been wonderful having Gina, another woman writer, one who I so intensely admire, to commune with, in person. I think so many of us writers are searching, especially if we are not appropriately pedigreed, worried about what we are going to do when we are older, worried that we are in fact older and we don't have any sort of career to carry us. Everyone was so lovely at the Atlanta reading but for some reason I became intensely melancholy afterwards. A sense that people seemed less interested in my writing, that fact it appeared to be mostly a poetry crowd. Sometimes I feel like such an outsider around other writers, not a poet, not really even a fiction writer. It all sounds so banal when I type it. The reception to Green Girl in person is almost always stilted, weird, maybe even indifferent. I feel, to draw from VDubs in Room, that indifference can be so much more horrible for me than open hostility, which is at least feeling something. On the trip from Atlanta to Lousiana I was moody and sad, so leaky. Which of course for a time made me a pretty horrible traveling companion, although hopefully I've transcended it, gotten over myself. Yet halfway we stopped at Zelda's house in Montgomery and Gina and John took pictures and I talked shop with the curator - he was very surprised at first how much I seemed to know about the Fitzgeralds. I think I might read from a Zelda section of Heroines tonight. I feel like communing with her. Also: discovered for Naropa I don't exactly have to write a talk on violence, only a 5 minute thing, I will be reading from Heroines Tuesday night, so I wonder whether this essay as I see it, have been working on it, will ever get written. A relief, however. Yesterday I thought I'd do whatever I could to get into the Duke literature program, to write a dissertation on Language and Violence, or Literature and Violence, so much of that is out of my control, however, I don't even know how realistic that is, I think they accept like 5 out of 500 a year, maybe even more applicants than that. But it is a thought. A something.
Oh also yesterday a bookshop at the Quarter, the older proprietor talked to me of Faulkner, I purchased The Sound and the Fury, and Tennessee Williams' totally weirdo menstrualThe Rose Tattoo. Feeling like humid, overgrown literature. Psychotic literature, as Gina would say.