Before mercury, my blood used to fill thermometers.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Il meglio albergo! Il meglio, il meglio!

It is perfect that elimae is publishing my poem "Hot Light" because it explicitly references the movie the characters are making, Diablerie, and the "Synopsis of Diablerie" is forthcoming from New Fraktur. That is perfect! I say this now because the good Mr. Renner is putting it in the September issue which goes up tomorrow. Even though there is a lot of news I haven't gotten to yet because it's hanging in the balance of other things. This is plenty to be happy about.


One thing: I will be making more money now and I am going to get that Day-by-Day Les Figues membership. I want those TrenchArt titles!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Book Challenge 19.

Day 01 – The best book you read this year
Day 02 – A book that you’ve read more than 3 times
Day 03 – Your favorite series
Day 04 – Favorite book of your favorite series
Day 05 – A book that makes you happy
Day 06 – A book that makes you sad
Day 07 – Most underrated book
Day 08 – Most overrated book
Day 09 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving
Day 10 – Favorite classic book
Day 11 – A book you hated
Day 12 – A book you used to love but don’t anymore
Day 13 – Your favorite writer
Day 14 – Favorite book of your favorite writer
Day 15 – Favorite male character
Day 16 – Favorite female character
Day 17 – Favorite quote from your favorite book
Day 18 – A book that disappointed you
Day 19 – Favorite book turned into a movie

Day 19.

I'm still not out of news! Berlin Stories! The news keep amassing! Life is a cabaret!

Monday, August 29, 2011

In today's room with today's view.

This week's started off with a downturn to rival last week's radiance. I'm all right with that, because last week was still stunning, and I am still overwhelmingly happy about it all because I have it.

The first journal to accept my fiction, Sein und Werden, is published by the press ISMs, and I'm editing there now and hoping to enhance its web presence. Shine it up. I hope submissions are open. I'm fairly certain, since I'm editing something newly submitted right now, but I hope to read scores of gorgeous fiction and outfit it accordingly.

The phones in my house are set up, between upstairs and downstairs, to ring in a call-and-response manner. Whoever is responsible for this is my new arch rival.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The surrounding hullaballoo.

Things keep happening. I'm not caught up.

Last month I won $75 from Anobium Books, a very new Chicago press. I don't take charity gracefully, and to pay them back, I've joined their masthead. I'm working on networking Anobium's way into the heart of east coast bookstores and libraries. Their submissions period for issue two is ON.

Every time I think I've processed everything I am overwhelmed anew: the program schedule for &Now is out. I am so lucky to go to this. I wouldn't have the time or money if I was in school.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Set the house on fire.

This week is action-packed. I am going to focus on one thing at a time. That is my new thing, my biggest new thing: not being all over the place.

The first thing - the biggest thing, I retract my previous statement - is that I love, am all a-throb and heatedly and voraciously and viciously a fan of all the art that Kate Zambreno makes.

I like a lot of writing, I like the act of reading. I have a lot of books and I spend a harrowingly comparable amount of time reading writing online as well as in print. Of all the books I have, there is a shelving unit in my office where I have approximately five cubbies - there are twelve that make up the whole unit - filled with the books I find vital. A quick survey: Sylvia Plath is dead, Colette is dead, Anais Nin and the anonymous author of Autobiography of a Schizophrenic Girl. Anne Carson is still alive, and so is Carole Maso with two unreleased books in her queue, and Katherine Dunn had a story in the Paris Review this past year and that is all since Geek Love. Anna Kavan is dead, Kathy Acker is dead, Shirley Jackson, Clarice Lispector. AM Homes I won't buy another book from since she disowned authorship of the one I love. Mortality aside, of these, only three oeuvres get touted around by me fanatically, commitedly, inspire me endlessly: Plath, Carson and Kavan. When I read them I feel a constant yes. I feel at turns placated, understood, outdone in every capacity - it's all the other books, all the other stuff by everybody else that I read for a second, put away and write instead. When I read Plath, Carson and Kavan, it is all but then I saw the face of God and took the whole arm off.

Kate Zambreno is more important to me than them. It is different - I can enjoy an ultra-enmeshed relationship with reading Plath. I kept a copy of the Bell Jar - not my own copy - as a diary one year in college. But Kate Zambreno is making art that to me operates at that solar-white-blinding level of revelatory, and reading her - her blog, her fiction, her nonfiction - makes me feel the way I felt when I was fourteen, discovering Dennis Cooper. That was pivotal, discovering what fiction was capable of - but this was different, reading Kate Zambreno for the first time, discovering that fiction could be as staggeringly formed and speak to my experience. Which is to say: with Plath I feel the predilection for self-alienation, the apoplectic frustration with wording dread, Carson is distant and stellar and all the stuff about her father, ahhhh, and Kavan is void, the things that speak to her do so in a language that, in her translation, come across as paranoid and crazy, but her translation places her vulnerability to this, her mastery of this, at the forefront, and these are all important things to me, to see someone experience, but they are very different from me. And not that I am so insufferably singular - the experience of a girl who's been a teenage girl and been angry and had problems with the space she's occupied is pervasive and Kate Zambreno SINGS TO THAT.

One of my best friends and I went out to dinner and she told me about how, at her office, a female coworker constantly sexually harasses her, making the most audacious comments, and when my friend shut her down, there was an abrupt complaint to management that my friend dressed too provocatively. The next day, a male coworker made an unwanted advance, and when my friend, distraught, talked to one of her coworkers about it, this coworker advised her to just put up with it, since the recent managerial alert to her provocative dress would just prove that she was too much of a tart to let anyone get any work done. I told her: you need to read Kate Zambreno. This was my first impulse. This is the sign. This is all I want to do with art, that I can never do with art: say, with all conviction in every particle of my being: THESE WORDS HAVE THE POWER TO SAVE YOU.

And so when another of my best friends posted a Venn diagram marginalizing the work of Sylvia Plath that was constructed by the same individual who created one marginalizing Kate Zambreno, I - I did not say, I demonstrated, using the much more effective words of Kate and Jackie Wang how wrong that thinking is. Girl = emotional, girl = weak, girl = bad. I was repulsed. And I wanted to tell Kate Zambreno that she's my heroine, because I believe the work she does is important. And she has a book coming out this coming year called Heroines and it is the kind of book that I can't believe does not exist, that has to exist, that I am going to be giving to everyone I meet, as it looks like I might have a real, well-paying job soon it is really too soon to say and that is part of more news I plan on sharing in another post but so many books - the great great fucking miraculous King Kong Theory by Virginie Despentes that really held me and rocked me gently after my college meltdown over how my paper on feminist writing and problems of autobiography turned into a grueling, graphic justification on why such a paper should exist, and Female Chauvinist Pigs by Ariel Levy which frightens me constantly with how much I see its contents every day all around me - so many books I would like to turn everyone onto but Heroines is not just accurate or timely but VITAL. And Green Girl is coming out circa &Now when I will see Kate read and I am beside myself with excitement, for how it's all come together and I have a room and wonderful roommates and money and freedom to travel that I am celebrating with this trip. And I wanted to say something about this, and I did, and Kate had seen my tumblr, and thanked me, and said you are my heroine and linked my tumblr on her blog. And my hands are still shaking.

That is so cool.

My tumblr, my feelings about the form of the tumblr (which are lavish), and a lot of other news is forthcoming. So much. An avalanche.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

L'art est la Solution au Chaos.

Niina Pollari wrote wonderfully about the physical property of Courtney Love's singing and perpetuated the chain of Love as I spent my Friday listening to My Body, the Hand Grenade. A large part of my heart is allocated to the first half of that album, which are most of Hole's pre-Pretty on the Inside singles and the rage is bottomless.

I looked up and loved the lyrics before I heard the music because they reminded me of Sylvia Plath. I was eleven, and I learned "Cut" by heart. I never looked up the word in it I didn't know, trepanned, and the other day I was reading "Cut" while my boyfriend talked to his brother, during which he yelled, "You're getting trepanned for that," and explained it before I had to ask. My boyfriend is an amazing person.

We had just been bemoaning the telltale signs of store-death in Barnes & Noble and I bought the latest issue of Bitch wherein there is an article - "Nobody's Mother" - about the lineage of Elsie Fox -> Paula Fox -> Linda Carroll -> Courtney Love -> Frances Bean Cobain. All lyrics managed to be misquoted (except from "Softer, Softest") and the article was trashy. It flirted with the way each woman faced conspicuously the same struggle to be recognized as artists, but sopped that up with how it came at the expense of being mothers which I found distasteful. I would have rather heard more about their art. Then I ran into the Heidi Slimane pictures of Frances Bean on tumblr.


Right under a remark made by one of my best friends about how Sylvia Plath was a terrible mother.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Book Challenge 18.

Day 01 – The best book you read this year
Day 02 – A book that you’ve read more than 3 times
Day 03 – Your favorite series
Day 04 – Favorite book of your favorite series
Day 05 – A book that makes you happy
Day 06 – A book that makes you sad
Day 07 – Most underrated book
Day 08 – Most overrated book
Day 09 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving
Day 10 – Favorite classic book
Day 11 – A book you hated
Day 12 – A book you used to love but don’t anymore
Day 13 – Your favorite writer
Day 14 – Favorite book of your favorite writer
Day 15 – Favorite male character
Day 16 – Favorite female character
Day 17 – Favorite quote from your favorite book
Day 18 – A book that disappointed you

Day 18.

No no no!

Being disappointed by a book. This is rare - being repulsed or overwhelmed or alienated or elated or inspired or surprised is the usual action. I don't read for a standard reason by which a book could fail me. Rarely does prose/verse disappoint - even if I thought it'd be revelatory and it's rotten, there's something I can learn in that, or I can turn out of my failed expectations what I thought I was in for, and I've generated some of my own favorite work that way. Disappointed still is not the word but my reaction to Janet Reitman's Inside Scientology was disappointing to me - finishing it, I realized how I was expecting to delight in something lurid that would make me befuddled and appalled as if it were a checkout rag. I cried instead, a lot, and it made me feel physically bad to read the book, to reckon with the subject and the people. I was like this watching Hot Coffee, too. So reading Inside Scientology made me disappointed with myself. And a few other people.

Next month I'm going to interview some students and administrators at the local ballet school, which I've been excited to do for some time and was going to do next week, but next month is so much better. My contact, their lovely marketing director, observed that many people would be jealous for the capacity in which I am so busy right now. Right now is outrageously liminal. I cannot abide a liminal state without suffering. Amidst this, so much time and energy was consumed in the reading of Inside Scientology that its impact on my life was pretty embarrassing.

I have put off a good night's sleep for almost a month, so that is tonight's big project. I am feeling up to it with this on my side: "Funny story, Simone de Beauvoir in the Second Sex says little girls fancy themselves as sexless creatures of God, like pixies or gnomes. So my middle school nickname was foreshadowing."

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I was following the I.

The entire novel has "fictional frills and timeline-rearrangements," not just the chapters dealing with "her breakdown, suicide attempt, and hospitalization and recovery." Coming from me this may be surprising but one must be careful when writing about Sylvia Plath and Esther Greenwood; one must be careful not to overly relate the writer and her creation. There are many instances where similar, real-life experiences took place but it is not one-to-one. For example, by all reports Plath could cook quite well, whereas Esther Greenwood lists the ability to cook as something she could not do.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Make my sleep his song.


Broadcast and the Focus Group's "Make my Sleep his Song," set to Jean Renoir's "La Fille de L'eau."

And I cannot embed them, but this lovely girl with the wonderful tumblr Atelier Tovar reading Story of the Eye is the greatest thing to me, immobile with a barometric pressure headache on my first day off since October.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The throes of an invented situation.

Or obliterating discourse. Solidarity, solidarity.
"An unparalleled muse who carefully rendered complex female characters and their most intimate relationships, she left behind a literary legacy that testifies to our shared struggles and to the threadbare connection between art and life." - jacket copy from Counterpoint's 2010 Caroline Blackwood collection Never Breathe a Word

In the poet Honor Moore's 2002 introduction to a reprinting of Blackwood's novel Great Granny Webster, she cites that the novel was a finalist for the Booker Prize, but lost solely on the grounds that—according to the single man who voted against it—"a tale so autobiographical could not stand as fiction."

"…when women include themselves as a character in their own work, the work is read as autobiography. When men do it—say Milan Kundera or Paul Auster—it is read as metafiction….Men are imaginative. Women write testimony and confessional." - Jeanette Winterson's introduction to Essential Acker: the Selected Writings of Kathy Acker

In a 1968 interview with the Paris Review, in response to being asked why it took her thirty years to begin writing, Anne Sexton said "I didn't know I had any creative depths." Sexton's attending physician informed her that the value of her poems lay in what was springing forth without her knowledge—the secrets she was too damaged to appreciate, that she had any depths at all—and not the skill with which they were crafted.

"After she finished "Medusa," Plath realized how little its strategy resembled that of her other October poems. Unlike "Bees," in which apparent autobiography is really calculated melodrama, or "Daddy" and "The Applicant," in which apparent autobiography is really black farce, "Medusa" relies for success on its artful construction: an imagined narrator, placed in the throes of an invented situation, responds in direct and emotional language….At no stage in her career did Plath engage in writing strict autobiography. Yet the strained voice of "Medusa"'s narrator echoed the pain Plath felt as she wrote the poem." - Paul Alexander, Rough Magic: a Biography of Sylvia Plath
My senior thesis on the problem of autobiography in literature written by women would not have gotten an A if it hadn't been graded by a man who makes his students' fathers cry. "I had no idea that female writers faced such a problem," he explained, and I had to present a defense with all the brutal statistics. You had no idea? Holy shit.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Book Challenge 17.

Day 01 – The best book you read this year
Day 02 – A book that you’ve read more than 3 times
Day 03 – Your favorite series
Day 04 – Favorite book of your favorite series
Day 05 – A book that makes you happy
Day 06 – A book that makes you sad
Day 07 – Most underrated book
Day 08 – Most overrated book
Day 09 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving
Day 10 – Favorite classic book
Day 11 – A book you hated
Day 12 – A book you used to love but don’t anymore
Day 13 – Your favorite writer
Day 14 – Favorite book of your favorite writer
Day 15 – Favorite male character
Day 16 – Favorite female character
Day 17 – Favorite quote from your favorite book

Day 17.

Cheating: my favorite quote ever, which is not from Ada but from Decreation by Anne Carson, specifically from the rhapsody "the Day Antonioni Came to the Asylum."

It was the sound of her writing that woke me. Since you ask, this is what I remember. Her desk is just outside my room. Some days I hear sounds too loud. Some days I hear a crowd and there is no crowd.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Adult Books I don't understand.

Because they circled me so assertively on Google+, I pre-ordered the first issue of Anobium and, in doing so, won a $75 gift card to Amazon! That $75 is now Kristeva's Black Sun and the gigantic Henry Darger monograph put together by the MOMA curator that is half for me and half for my boyfriend, whose birthday was yesterday, and who also has a brand new Abraham Lincoln coffee mug waiting for him.

The Almost Uptown Poetry Cartel has very kindly made mention of me on their site. I read "Diablerie" there on Thursday at my friend Maria's birthday reading. I didn't plan on reading anything, and I jotted down the details of its publication on a torn out piece of the mss the poem's from. I didn't provide my blog address or contextualize the poem - it's proper name is "Synopsis of Diablerie" as it is the synopsis of a film - I am a closed loop.

I was roundly advised to get business cards. This seems sound. Killer watermark ahoy.

I was reading the Bell Jar at 40 essay the other day when I ran across somewhere on some social network someone saying what a drag it was to be online-friends with so many writers; writing and that culture is all they talk about, as I was about to post a link to the essay. I have in my physical, tactile life one person I can talk to and two people I know personally at all with whom I can just strike up a conversation, segue-less, about critical poetics. Or Virginie Despentes. Or buying a Colette in translation from the nineteen-sixties. Or even making a jaunty Samuel Beckett allusion. About, I don't know, the tedium of the workday. Something you'd want to be haughty and pithy about when it's over because it's awful. People not just understanding aside - I understand the culture of the Nascar fan, even if I do not get a reference, I can pick up on the context of the allusion - it's the lack of solidarity. It's nice to feel a sense of place within something, and even if it's only a procession of links, it's reinforcing and justifying the validity of something I love. All that desire for that kind of context could inspire intense burn-out, too. This I acknowledge. But I am freshly riveted.

Also: I didn't know Richard Ayoade directed a movie. Precocious British kids give me dry heaves, but my love for Richard Ayoade mandates a fair shake - typewriters and rainslickers aside, why can't one of these movies be about a weird girl who likes a standoffish, interesting boy? Or will that just be myself and Mr. Ayoade, forever. No question mark.