Friday, August 19, 2011
Has anyone read Maud Newton's thing in the NYT mag (available online) about how David Foster Wallace's essays, their casual, informal language, are in some way the ancestor to the blog? I just read it and I want to talk about it. I disagree really that DFW is the link to a lot of the writing online, at least that I admire - or I think stylistically his essays might be, in terms of formal innovation, or perhaps blogging's highly self-conscious nature. I don't think any of that though is a bad thing. At all. But when Maud Newton is talking about the casual language of the internet, which she sees borrowing from or heavily influenced by DFW's "rhetorical postures," a sort of folksiness, I didn't get it. Or I agreed but I see it in a different way. What she is describing I would call instead writing like a girl. And why is that bad? If the alternative is rigid academic objectivist prose, I'd rather writing be casual and unformed and vernacular. I don't think there always needs to be an argument made - sometimes I think intellectual writing can be discursive, can dance, can present dialectical ideas without having a "thesis" or "conclusion." And there's really great criticism happening online, personal, ecstatic, messy criticism, whether Jackie Wang or Roz Ito or Dodie Bellamy or everything up at Montevidayo or many other spaces.
This is me doing my best impression of Clara Bow, and I'm probably too old to pose like this. I used to have a best toxic girl-friend who I would pose for countless photobooth pictures at the Rainbo in Chicago, and we were so aware of our to-be-looked-at-ness, we posed in a particular way, I think this is me rewording a Barthes quote. I conjure this up in Green Girl. This is me after going to the Chanel counter, where the wife of one of John's colleagues works and yes I sometimes go in order to chat with someone about girly things. She painted my mouth a Clara-bow and put gobs of eyemakeup on me and I bought the red lips (coco line) and the lipliner and bought an eye liner from Sephora and I have actually been leaving the house like this, when I leave the house, like I'm trying to be all silent film star. John's like, It's a nice nighttime look. I have been thinking of getting a job at the Chanel counter in lieu of others but that would be hilarious - publishing a novel about working at a make-up counter, then getting a job at one, like a cheesy headline, and to me perhaps that would be too much Veronica Lake folding towels at the Martha Washington. Or Frances Farmer and the same in the Seattle hotel. Not that I'm either of these, neither starlet, nor muse. I think that's rewording a Robert Lowell line about Lady Caroline Blackwood. I have been thinking lately in my ill health how makeup has become this elaborate protection and barrier for me when I occasionally try to exist in the outside world. This is me in my citrus silk kimono from Anthropologie that I basically live in when I'm at home (my nod to the post-crime Papin Sisters, yet here I am attempting the polish, not the inner unravel). Yesterday went for more tests. All this testing. Heroines is almost done. I go to New York next weekend. My sister's about to give birth. I am still not reading. I am watching countless episodes of Entourage, especially the ones with Sasha Grey, and I write a counternarrative. I am building so many books without any builder. I am writing notes like Camus- all these ideas for novels and books I have no energy lately to write. No energy lately for everything. Let's talk about your depression the doctor said yesterday. Of course I'm depressed I say. I'm always depressed. It is de facto that I'm depressed. But this fatigue - this crushing, numbing fatigue - it's not depression. But of course I am still acting. I purposefully didn't wear my 4-inch platform sandals to the doctor's office, because I wanted to be taken seriously in my role of sick person. I will probably erase this post, like I did my last one.