Saturday, January 1, 2011
Holy fuck. I need to begin reading, very very soon, for the thing. Today all day I compiled: a) a list of restaurants I can eat at here, with my sometimes insane-asylum vegetarian diet, and there's some very good restaurants, even though they're far away and in strip malls, so far I have eaten: organic Indian and Persian and French to great success and b) a list of books to read for the book. And it all goes in cycles, the stuff I'm reading for the book. I'm not really reading, AT ALL, I'm making lists of reading. I woke up this morning with the Baronessa Elsa on my lips, thinking of the Baroness Elsa (I love these images of poor starlet trainwreck Brittany Murphy posing as the Baroness in some magazine shoot). So I need to read Amelia Jones' Irrational Modernisms, which I think weaves in the subjective (auto-) with the objective (the bio-, but is any bio objective) and also Irene Gammel's recent cultural biography of the Baroness, and then I'm reading online that Djuna Barnes commissioned the Baroness to write her memoir so she could write her biography, which she never finished, and then reading how a former lover of the Baroness wrote a series of novels about her, which is so Zelda/Scott it's amazeballs, really. And then the Twittering of her memoirs. This is all just one figure! And then I need to read the Djuna Barnes bio her nasty former assistant wrote about her, and then the legit one, etc. And then all of Elizabeth Hardwick's essays, to try to think about this women who wrote about these other women, etc. And then of course the biography of Robert Lowell, as that's the only biograph info I can find on Hardwick is her husband's bio, the biography of Lady Caroline Blackwood, Robert Lowell's second wife, and then her novels that the New York Review of Books also publishes, editions like Hardwick's Seduction and Betrayal and Sleepless Nights, and I plan to put them next to each other on the bookshelf, the former mistress and first wife, like I plan to put the bio of Assia Wevill next to The Haunting of Sylvia Plath. These mirrorings, these dybbuks. I act out on my bookshelf. But I make lists but do not read. I read today some of the biography of Clarice Lispector that Kate gave me. I underlined a quote she gave in a newspaper about why she was so famously reticent in interviews: "They wouldn't understand a Clarice Lispector who paints her toenails red." This felt real and true to me.
I think maybe I have to read about 100 books in the next two weeks. Is that insane? That seems like too much, especially since it's taken me days to read anything and my concentration's shot because of the move and I'm still on the Kindled romance novels trip even though I swore I'd give it up in the New Year (my Amazon page is so fucking confused, it recommends me heaving bosoms and biographies of cultish modernist figures and like the complete works of Walter Benjamin. Treat yourself: The Duke of Sin or Bunker Archaelogy. How schizo is that.). How can I concentrate to get this all done? How can I get into that frame of WORK? A few friends who are writers said to me lately that I am very disciplined - in truth, I used to be disciplined, and I completed things, but the past six months to a year, my discipline has been shot to hell.