Tuesday, September 7, 2010
I am feeling much more rejuvenated but even more ill at ease. This weekend I went to a modern dance performance at an old ice house in Akron and ate Chinese food with the curator of the art museum here and her artist-spouse. Also met a very nice video artist from Seoul who is a new-hire. Her work deals with cameras as sensors to create an interactive environment, one piece dealt with butoh, at night I am reading/grimacing over William Vollman's work on Japanese femininity and butoh, but I did not say, "Hey, I'm reading some white Western guy wax way too fucking much on butoh, in a book that would make Edward Said like want to come back to life in order to write a cutting takedown in the NYRB." That night and the weekend all very expansive. Usually social situations make me feel like I want to vomit, hungover like Suzanne Valadon. But not this one. And then all weekend I caught up on work and sleep and made love ardently.
But today after coming home from teaching in Cleveland I attempted to work on the rewrite of the first chapter. It is making me feel itchy. I feel I have to pull the journalist-girl back out of the hat and I don't know how to, to write these neat little bios of the women/the writers I reference so wildly. What to do. I feel the anxiety is keeping me from writing. And instead I work on the OTHER work, working on manuscripts for Nightboat or schoolwork or the such. I have decided this weekend to apply to a creative writing (student) Fulbright in Paris to work on a long-stewed project on the women of Breton called I HEART ANDRE BRETON (I cannot bother to make the heart symbol on Blogger), which will be part essay also dealing with the Surrealist notion of derive (I cannot bother to use accents in Blogger) and then part fictionalized monologues of Breton's wife, Jacqueline Lamba, a painter herself who later had Alzheimer's, then Claude Cahun, the androgyne poet-photographer famous for her autoportraits who is rumored to have had an infatuation for Breton (and Breton certainly had a weird boner for her), and then Breton's fictionalized Nadja, his wandering femme-enfant later institutionalized. I am getting a letter from the wonderful translator at the Sorbonne who wants to translate O Fallen Angel, about how I can be involved in the Paris community, which makes me want to go regardless, because it's a longshot as I don't have the language nor student affiliation.
Speaking of derive, this weekend I read All the King's Horses (semiotext(e)), the delicious roman a clef written by Michelle Bernstein, the wife of Guy Debord, which was inspired by Francois Sagan's Bonjour Tristesse as well as Les Liasons Dangereux (my French is fucked fucked fucked). The tale of a libertine-girl who allows her intellectual activist husband who's always wandering off on walks somewhere to let in new ingenues into their marriage, the two girl characters, the wife-narrator and the girlfriend, reminded me much of the figure Jean Seberg often plays or the Zelda figure in Fitzgerald it really asks but doesn't answer the question of the girl-libertine. And with the stuff on the French Rivera and the love triangle with a sweet impressionable girl it really reminded me of Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night.
In the elevator today at Cleveland State two women kept on commenting on my "curly pixie" and asked me whether I curled it (I wanted to say, I'm just Jewish, but did not). Moments like this make me always feel like I will always be viewed, at least on the outside, like a blank girl. One of my students told me as we were waiting outside in the hallway that I could pass as a student. Sometimes I am ancient. Sometimes my youth chokes me. I wasn't dressed very femme - in the same slouchy clothes I've been wearing everyday. I am thinking about what this means to be an object, how this affects those who write, who want to be author.
I am a student. I am not enough of a student. I am caught somewhere in the in-between.
My intro sucks so horribly. So horribly. I will drink now a wine named after a pun and try to relax, because I cannot write well when I'm not relaxed.
Is there anything else?