HE with the patriotic name. Francis Scott. An American relic. An American pasttime. The two of them, a "bobbed couple." Star-spangled, star-crossed, star-struck (he threw himself at the feet of Martha Graham, Zelda threw herself off a staircase in retaliation).
F. Scott Fitzgerald, I have complicated feelings about you.
F. Scott Fitzgerald, today I will have a breakdown at 3 in the morning in honor of you.
F. Scott Fitzgerald, how did you get your hair to stand up like that?
Like in two widow peaks.
Except you only left.
Or two I guess.
I have now been meandering around this essay on Barbara Loden for three months. I have carried it under my skin. I have thought about it, I like to take it out and look at it, dream about it, take walks meditating on it, but I can't bring myself to really write it.
I think I'm at this point of wandering/wondering about the essay form. I love the essay but I am unsure about the formalized essay and what I can contribute to it. I think, like the novel, it's a really open form with so many possibilities. But I want to break it or try something new with it and I find myself relapsing into old forms. But I also always told myself, some sort of prior coming to consciousness—that if a form or styles comes easily, allows me to write, than that is wonderful, to keep with that. But I cannot seem to keep with it. I feel in Heroines I developed some sort of formula of (insert autobiographical scene here) + essaying on the outside. I don't want to slip back into the roteness of needing to include the literal material self and my quotidian in an essay. And yet, I feel really drawn to actually writing the quotidian in an essay, to take what I've learned from these weird experiments on the blog.
An essay has to be more than "insert autobiography here." Or "insert piece of theory here."
Small point—every review or mention on Heroines has mentioned its "blogginess." I don't like "bloggy" as an adjective to describe writing. Queasiness. What is "bloggy"? It sounds like—"chatty." Ooh, death knell. "Chatty." And it's ahistorical too, perhaps something I've supported—when 90% of the book is not from the blog, never appeared on the blog. And—at least a good quarter of the book was written before I was even aware of blogs. I feel in such a rush to fix it every interview I'm doing I'm trying to articulate and differentiate, enough so that I feel like saying to self: Shut up already. And yet I bring it up now, because it is twitching in me. Nothing wrong with an aesthetic that's like a blog. But "bloggy"? Urgh.
For weeks and weeks I have been meditative and mindful, at least every other week, the alternating week I've been a high priestess of catatonia. I thought I had to write this essay in a depressive mode. This morning I'm trying to work on it highly caffeinated and hormonal.
Does one have to LIVE an essay before writing it?
Can an essay I write be anything more than a hot mess.
Can I as a woman be anything more than a hot mess.
What is wrong with an essay being a hot mess?
When did I become so apprehensive of failing that I stopped attempting?
I write books thinking of them as books but then when they are books I wish they were not books anymore. I write from the forces of: hate, heat, hubris. I cut my hair and wear silk scarves to cannibalize Cixous. At this point I would like to rename the blog Valerie Solanas is My Sister or Anna Kavan is My Sister but lack all ambition. I regularly suicide this blog as an exercise of shame and silence.