Before mercury, my blood used to fill thermometers.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A roller coaster of creative experience as if I’m making a new life for myself in France.


Horrids, at first sight, is not even a space, but a humid maze of bodies. London becomes for Ruth a series of grubby rented rooms the color of dud avocados. But while shopping in Liberty, Ruth beams when the clerks at Liberty call out and say, "Oh, you look like a little Parisian girl!" In Frances Ha, Frances (who was one of the "green girls" in her childhood ballet troupe) goes to New York to follow her dreams, which she scores to songs of the French New Wave while she sees her dream disintegrate in the reality of the city. Likewise, now that Ruth has relocated from Chicago to London, she has had to push her dreams elsewhere. She casts her gestures as those of a French New Wave gamine slogging tragically through Paris, redeemed by the fantasy that someone has found her significant enough to document.

I wrote about the space inside Kate Zambreno's Green Girl (rereleased by Harper Perennial!) and the space it creates and infiltrates in readers at the Fanzine. If you loved the 2011 Emergency Press release of the novel as urgently as I did, this is not only a perfect time to revisit it, but it's also not the same book in the way that one is, presumably, not the same reader. Or it gives the pleasant illusion that one has changed for the better as much as the text has. This is a very small part of its impact, though; I go into greater detail on its merit in the essay.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Blue hydrangea, cold cash.

Gentrification of the Mind (Sarah Schulman), the Art of Cruelty (Maggie Nelson), and Airless Spaces (Shulamith Firestone) will each demolish a reader all on their own. Taken all at once, talk about blurring the world.


...if you correct dancers in terms of their technique, the thing they have worked so hard on, this can be very wounding to them. "But if you give them a metaphor they go home and figure it out, and they haven't gotten a complex about it."
- Joan Acocella on Suzanne Farrell in the essay "Second Act"

Roistering summer insomnia is in effect. I'm up late again watching Rose, c'est Paris again and again. One of my favorite scenes is close to the beginning, when B. is pasting up missing notices of her sister, Rose, and the way she moves, the way she ascends a ladder, make her seem as if she is filling with air and floating off. My favorite alias of Rose's is Marcelle Souveste. I love the identical twins and the bouquet of aliases.

There is one single copy left of my Birds of Lace chapbook, Come as Your Madness.

Gypsy Rose Lee writing the G-String Murders (Life Magazine)

My book Lessons for Girls is in the research phase. The track is laid. One of my favorite things to have emerged from working on an in-depth, book-length study of Girls is noticing this conversation between the two books that buttress the plot at the opposite ends of the first season: Listen, Ladies. Leave Me Alone.

Meanwhile, I am carving out pockets of time to exercise. I like to wind around and walk, but have not been able to seduce myself into any activity besides dance, a term I am really abusing here. I contort, spin, stretch, punch, kick. Writing a book is hard. Assuming the responsibility of so many words is hard, where they are directed at writers navigating the lessons that critical reactions teach them. I need a metaphor to take home.