Monday, August 20, 2012
Last night that I moved back to Chicago. More specifically, that I received a letter that I got into a Northwestern Ph.D. program (my college alma mater), which I think was a catalyst operating along dream logic, as lately I have struggled with this idea of whether I will ever go to graduate school, the same abstract struggle as knowing I'm turning 35 soon and with already tortured reproductive issues if I wanted to have a baby, it would have to be now, and probably still not then, that it would take tremendous effort and intensity, and turning away from both possibilities, saying no to both possibilities, returning instead to absence, this strange womb-tomb-room of a life I live, unwritten. But the idea of returning was so seductive, in the dream. What would it be like to live again in a city that is known to me, where I am known. Where I can see people I know walking and biking down the street. It has been years since I have been outside - four years? This question of where I will live in the future, how I will occupy this space, has been obsessing me. The language of the Publishers Weekly review of Heroines is turning up, traced, like cloud writing, "which see the underemployed Zambreno’s moves, from Chicago to London to Akron, Ohio, dictated by her husband John’s academic career." The idea of a career, that which takes you from place to place. Was my career my marriage somehow? Strange too to be characterized as underemployed, as I adjuncted in Akron, six classes one semester, as I finished a book under the knife in North Carolina, perhaps this is how I characterize myself, but it seems wrong somehow to characterize a writer as underemployed, like characterizing a housewife as underemployed, like characterizing an adjunct as underemployed, and perhaps I am all three, but it has always seemed like a tremendous amount of work, it is just valued less (although of course John does a great deal of the housework, more than me, although I occupy the house, I sit in the house, like a Jeanne Dielman, my repetitive tasks, and I am as good of a housewife now as I am a writer.) John asks me where I want to live next and I don't know, except dream palaces like Paris, choosing cities that are impossible for me to inhabit, where I don't even know the language. I cling to the fact that I wrote several books while in Chicago, I had a teaching slate that I enjoyed while in Chicago, this is perhaps not a reason to return to this place which became so overwrought with nostalgia for me, so many layered memories, such strange familiarity. This summer I decided I wanted to move to Los Angeles - because I liked idea of Los Angeles as a David Lynch movie, I don't know, I am attracted to the combination of vulgarity and natural beauty of Los Angeles. But that seems like a passing thought. It doesn't seem like something I desire. I need to find someplace to live. I need to figure out how to live again. I need to write essays, as opposed to living essays, which obliterate my need to write them. I need to figure out what an essay is.Perhaps I need to move because I want to change scenes, because I am tired of writing of solitude and alienation, or I want to write about a more voluptuous alienation, but of course I've written this before, I've written this before.