Also, I was going to write about how the Paris Review linked to Supervert's Reality Studio and then I discovered that a month ago Supervert linked to my "Imaginary Portrait" and I'm all out of words. Luckily everything else in this post was all ready drafted. THIS IS ME AT MY MOST JOVIAL.
Also, on Very Literary, I cataloged some of my favorite Twitter presences of writers and editors - a third of the original list.
Now, about the Black Telephone:
How is a Greek chorus like a lawyerWhen I started writing the Black Telephone - available now from Unthinkable Creatures - I wanted to work through this surge of feelings that came from working on this novel that I've been piecing together since I was fifteen and returning to the books that moved me to work on it including JT LeRoy's Sarah, and thinking about catharsis, therapy, divulging, to what degree exposure/confession has to do with how I work and why and what form enables me to do, which disintegrates for me in the essay. I took a class on the essay in school and that was a really bad couple of months. Sometimes I am overwhelmed and ashamed to consider how many really bad couple of months I've had.
They're both in the business of searching
for a precedent
Finding an analogy
Locating a prior example
So as able to say
This terrible thing we're witnessing now is
Not unique you know it happened before
Or something much like it
We're not at a loss how to think about this
We're not without guidance
There is a pattern
- Anne Carson, Antigonick
Writing the Black Telephone I was pummeled by the compulsion to back up my claims with evidence. Saying "I feel this way" was not possible, so I found quotes that would exorcise and misdirect. And my own voice does its own little feeble swarm like my friend Scott pointed out it does when I wrote an essay for the essay class when I was like, I am going to tackle the very difficult subject of my history of (these problems that are no way in the past), and he read it and the words EVASIVE AND OPAQUE were somewhere in there and he said, that's exactly what this is, this essay is evasive and opaque. I warmed up to words when I could use them to distract or dazzle or inspire whoever away from my having to state, be clear, admit. So when I read Dennis Cooper's the Marbled Swarm this year, I really felt accessed/opened/broken/revealed to myself and had to initiate some important crazy dialogues with myself. I visited my best friend and told her about the Marbled Swarm and she was like - that's it! That's you! All that stuff in that book! And we gondoliered briefly through my history of intense fixations, many of which are represented there and others that she pointed out don't make any sense and are almost more alarming for their abruptness and departure from my more standard fascinations.
It's wonderful because she's studying the law. I went home and read Antigonick. The quote at the top of this post changed my way of thinking about what I was doing with the essay and also made me think about writing before and after school. Research, and the luxury of an extant body of evidence supporting, even in glints, a claim. I wanted that really badly when I was writing outside of fiction.
The point of the essay really is how I read Sarah in high school and felt like I could tell my friends something important and it was really about the FORCE behind Sarah, Sarah is fiction and then when I read Laura Albert's Paris Review interview I felt turned inside-out. Even though what she states states the problems and not what I feel, necessarily, I had enough of an idea how to talk at that point, and the essay is about really about how badly it messed me up, when I told a friend and she didn't believe me, when somebody I trusted invalidated a secret I divulged to them. And this is not a canonical thing of my past, a significant turning point, which also made it hard to touch - my good friends didn't know that happened to me and weren't privy to the effect it had on me not because I was hiding it but because it was so much in the rhythm of how I treated myself and it was after that that I lost my willingness to do what I had been doing in school and I threw out all of that and studied writing. And there are plenty of witnesses that can attest to how my behavior once I switched my course of study was manic/strange/insufferable/haughty. Because - and this was good - I wanted to be what I did not what I said I am which I didn't trust after that. Until now, which was why I wanted to gently approach the form of the essay again.
The essay pivoted around my revealing, originally. There are many reasons I like to reveal and I decided not to do it there - per Kristen's recommendation - and I'm glad because it is an essay about difficulty and what makes it valid to me, what are my issues with validation. That's why it's full of quotes. I did go and tell my mother, then. She just looked at me until I said, "That's why I make myself be so open about everything, why I say everything, I'm just trying to make myself say this," and she cried. The reader is fortunate to know me through writing where I am way more intriguing/enigmatic - in life I am a giant statement sentence.
I am also going on vacation until Wednesday in order to calm myself and mess around with the post I've drafted, addressed to the amazing people I spoke to at Central Penn last week.