1. In 2004, Eileen Myles gives a talk called “Everyday Barf.” I know nothing of this.
2. In 2008, Dodie Bellamy publishes Barf Manifesto, a chapbook collecting two lectures she’s written/delivered in homage to and appropriating in certain ways the style of “Everyday Barf.”
One of these lectures I have the opportunity to attend. It is scheduled for 8:30 a.m.; it is winter in Chicago; it is snowing. I sleep in.
3. I come across Barf Manifesto two years later by accident. Am thrilled by Bellamy’s defiantly loose and idiosyncratic approach to the essay form. (It is my first brush with Bellamy. Probably if I had gone to the lecture, who knows where I’d be different.)
4. Reading Bellamy’s response to “Everyday Barf,” I realize I own a copy of Sorry, Tree, the collection of Myles’ poetry in which “Everyday Barf” appears. I own this book by accident because I won it in a raffle. I read “Everyday Barf” and the rest of the collection, which I’ve since lent to a friend who needs to give it back to me; am bolstered by the reminder that Myles exists in my world and lifetime.
5. I go see Eileen Myles read in November 2009. She Is Great. Afterwards, go for dinner with friends, eat too much, go home, barf a lot, involuntarily. In a move that is often but not always unusual for me, I post personal information to my Facebook page about this uncommon incident: the barfing (I do not do it often). Trembling with the thrill of public confession accompanied by the immediate gratification of amused and supportive “likes” and comments, I comment and recomment on my status update, narrating a simultaneity of barfings, a layering of all of the recent and various barfings I’ve experienced (my own few, my oddly numerous encounters with the barfings of others). Next day, cringe,
6. Shortly thereafter, spurred by these electrolyte-deficient Facebook postings, I begin writing an essay for Mildred Pierce after the essays in Barf Manifesto which are after “Everyday Barf.”
7. Shortly thereafter, I chance upon Kate Zambreno’s blog, find her doing the same sort of thing!
8. Am initially crestfallen, like knife to heart, betrayed by shattered unreasonable hopes/illusions/etc, then realize no, I have never been original; there is an answer, which is to bring Kate Zambreno into the essay, particularly her v. fascinating thoughts on bulimic versus anorexic writing.
9. Begin internet-stalking Kate Zambreno. Turns out we attended many of the same panels at &NOW and probably sat in the same row at the Gurlesque panel (though on opposite sides of the room). Turns out she lived in Chicago while I also lived in Chicago. Turns out like MISSED CONNECTION. One day, Kate Zambreno, we will together spew.
BARF BARF MANIFESTO MANIFESTO (working title) forthcoming, Mildred Pierce Issue 4, release date possibly May 2010.
This sort of kindred, trembling, fear, dizzying I spoke of yesterday, no? The anxiety, then the ecstasy of influence? A sort of collaboration, much like Bellamy feeds off Myles (yes, much like, she says, much like). It is all this mutual feeding off of each other and then barfing, our bulimic communities. Or: a generation? community? of women writers inspired by Bellamy's Barf Manifesto. We cannot be the only ones. What do we do when we meet a convergence of tastes? Throw a party? a panel? a review? an online femmefesto? More, more ecstatic essays, nothing dried & academic, promis.