Actually, only Animal Shelter came in the mail, and it came in the mail some time ago. A week ago, maybe.
This, from Guy Hocquenghem’s “The Future Belongs to Couples”:
Even communes, brief, pastoral, bearded ideologies, were nothing but a breeding ground for couples, a more intense way to confront coupledom. Because coupledom, that problematic figure, is nourished predominately by hatred, and minute habits transformed into “deep” discussions. All the polls confirm the place of psychology for “being-in-twos.”
I’m busy being-in-one, which feels more like being-in-many rather than being solitary. More people to see, more choices, more situations, more lovers, more responsibility. Hocquenghem’s article is hilarious, irritating and somehow endearing. Couple as contagion that makes the future. I haven’t read Lee Edelmen’s No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive (2004 feels disturbingly like ancient history), but I now realize I need to read it for what Edelmen has to say about gay couples and parenting.
A friend recently reminded me of how, in my early and mid-20s, I subscribed to the idea that all kinds of people could be my lovers, even if I wasn’t actually sleeping with them. I like this idea.
My attempts to avoid cheese are not going well. Regular milk has been easy to give up.
I want. I want. I want. What I want is. I want. I'd like. I don't want. I don't want it. I want you. I don't want. What I really want is. I want, and I'd really like. I'd like, and I want you. I want you.
to be finished with grading. to be thinner. to be rich. boring and banal.what many people want, clearly. to feel no jealousy. to feel jealous. This feeling of wanting to punch your face in—.to be worried when you read this. No, no—that. to make giant lima beans with stewed tomatoes and pesto. to rip off all my skin and roll around on the carpet, to be attacked by dogs, or wild boar. to be gored—just a little—by an animal with horns, to see how brave I am. to know that I am noble and tragic and handsome.
(I want. I want everyone. I want. I want. I want. I want & I want you. I want you. I do not want. I would like. I want everyone.)
to go back to bed. to have health care. to drink & then put on a padded suit and be attacked by dogs. to do yoga. to (re)read all of your books. to do all these things in Barcelona & to be there with me. out of my house. want a house. to have a permanent tangle in my hair on the top left side of my head from spending hours in bed beneath you. to have access to a vegetable garden and to have radishes available to help with hangovers.
“We are living in a culture entirely hypnotized by the illusion of time, in which the so-called present moment is felt as nothing but an infinitesimal hairline between an all-powerfully causative past and an absorbingly important future.
We have no present. Our consciousness is almost completely preoccupied with memory and expectation. We do not realize that there never was, is, nor will be any other experience than present experience.”—Alan Watts (via kateoplis)
“I actually attack the concept of happiness. The idea that - I don’t mind people being happy - but the idea that everything we do is part of the pursuit of happiness seems to me a really dangerous idea and has led to a contemporary disease in Western society, which is fear of sadness. It’s a really odd thing that we’re now seeing people saying “write down 3 things that made you happy today before you go to sleep”, and “cheer up” and “happiness is our birthright” and so on. We’re kind of teaching our kids that happiness is the default position - it’s rubbish. Wholeness is what we ought to be striving for and part of that is sadness, disappointment, frustration, failure; all of those things which make us who we are. Happiness and victory and fulfillment are nice little things that also happen to us, but they don’t teach us much. Everyone says we grow through pain and then as soon as they experience pain they say “Quick! Move on! Cheer up!” I’d like just for a year to have a moratorium on the word “happiness” and to replace it with the word “wholeness”. Ask yourself “is this contributing to my wholeness?” and if you’re having a bad day, it is.”—Hugh Mackay (via reservingheartbeats)
I’m working on a spin-off of White Girl for a performance at &NOW with formidable fellow poet/artists Becca Klaver, Marisa Crawford, Kate Durbin, Tim Jones-Yelvington, Danielle Pafunda, and Carmen Gimenez Smith. Here’s the performance description:
Off the road, behind closed doors, late at night, and all over the internet, the teenage girl learns to speak, to write, and to make. Alternately resisting and indulging the materials and tools of a hyperrational, commercially saturated, world-wide-webbed social reality, she uses tarot cards, Tumblr, fashion, and her own bedroom walls. As her body is marked by race, class, age, pregnancy, and/or illness, she holds onto the behaviors, languages, and affects of girlhood. She knows how to codeswitch—to act, dress, talk, and feel like a girl, or a woman, or a man. In this slumber party ritual, we will conjure the girl. As we move from sleeping bag to lectern to Internet to ouija board to Q&A, we will interrogate who or what is speaking when we speak, possessed by our own ongoing girlhoods. We will create a space in which teenage girls’ and writers’ uses of occult practices collide, recalling the compositional strategies of Yeats, H.D., di Prima, Merrill, Plath, and Dickinson. This ritual recognizes girls as sorcerous subjects whose practices of radical apathy, noncompliance, superstition, magic, and other-worlding resist the logics and power structures of the rational world. In letting her speak through our bodies, we become the girls we already are.
After talking with Becca Klaver yesterday, I’ve decided that I’ll probably do a spin off of White Girl for the performance, since the project is designed for spin offs. Creepy White Girl is an obvious choice for a slumber party performance about possession.
As is often the case, my drowning dreams turn into to another version of flying dreams.
I lived in a lovely but slightly decrepit British manse, and one of my neighbors was a lovely but slightly creepy decrepit man in his 70s. My brother (who was not in fact my brother but a vague, generic looking “outdoorsy” man) warned me against interacting too much with my neighbor. Despite this warning, I accompanied him to a wedding ceremony. Somehow, the ceremony took place in a whirlpool (or gulf), and the wedding party floated in the middle on a raft. As we waited for the ceremony to begin, uninvited flying and swimming witches began to arrive in the thousands. Perhaps the old man was responsible for their arrival, perhaps he was not, but he gave me a chant (which I do not remember), and so I chanted this until all but 13 of the witches had gone and the wedding party had dissolved. In chanting the witches away, I ended up at the center of the whirlpool surrounded by the remaining 13 witches who began a tribunal to decide my fate. I escaped by being sucked down into the whirlpool and, seriously, riding away on a luminescent green and blue narwhal.
Something in my notes about swooning (a la Barthes) as oblivion/non-site, and how swooning, then, is clearly "exactly like an airport."
"Everything follows from this principle: that the lover is not to be reduced to a simple symptomal subject, but rather that we hear in his voice what is "unreal," i.e., intractable. Whence the choice of a "dramatic" method which renounces examples and rests on the single action of a primary language (no metalanguage). The description of the lover’s discourse has been replaced by its simulation, and to that discourse has been restored its fundamental person, the I, in order to stage an utterance, not an analysis. What is proposed, then, is a portrait—but not a psychological portrait; instead, a structural one which offers the reader a discursive site: the site of someone speaking within himself, amorously, confronting the other (the loved object), who does not speak.”
So it is a lover who speaks and who says:
"I am engulfed, I succumb …"
s’abîmer / to be engulfed Outburst of annihilation which affects the amorous subject in despair or fulfillment.
1. Either woe or well-being, sometimes I have a craving to be engulfed(1 Werther). This morning (in the country), the weather is mild, overcast. I am suffering (from some incident). The notion of suicide occurs to me, pure of any resentment (not blackmailing anyone); an insipid notion; it alters nothing (“breaks” nothing), matches the color (the silence, the desolation) of this morning.
Another day, in the rain, we’re waiting for the boat at the lake; from happiness, this time, the same outburst of annihilation sweeps through me. This is how it happens sometimes, misery or joy engulfs me, without any particular tumult ensuing, nor any pathos: I am dissolved, not dismembered; I fall, I flow, I melt. Such thoughts—grazed, touched, tests (the way you test the water with your foot)—can recur. Nothing solemn about them. This is exactly what gentlenessis.
2. The crisis of engulfment can come from a wound, but also from a fusion: we die together from loving each other: an open death, by dilution into the ether, a closed death of the shared grave. (2 Tristan, 3 Baudelaire) Engulfment is a moment of hypnosis. A suggestion functions, which commands me to swoon without killing myself. Whence, perhaps, the gentleness of the abyss: I have no responsibility here, the act (of dying) is not up to me: I entrust myself, I transmit myself (to whom to God, to Nature, to everything, except to the other). (4 Ruysbroeck)
3. Therefore, on those occasions when I am engulfed, it is because there is no longer any place for me anywhere, not even in death. The image of the other—to which I was glued, on which I lived—no longer exists; sometimes this is a (futile) catastrophe which seems to remove the image forever, sometimes it is an excessive happiness which enables me to unite with the image; in any case, severed or united, dissolved or discrete, I am nowhere gathered together; opposite, neither your nor me, nor death, nor anything else to talk to. (Strangely, it is in the extreme action of the amorous Image-repertoire—annihilation as a consequence of driving out the image or f being identified with it—that there occurs a fall of this Image-repertoire: for the brief interval of a vacillation, I lose my structure as a lover: this is a factitious mourning, without work to do: something like a non-site.)
4. In love with death? An exaggeration to say, with Keats, half in love with easeful death: death liberated from dying. Then I have this fantasy: a gentle hemorrhage which flows from no specific point in my body, an almostimmediate consumption, calculated so that I might have the time to abate my suffering without yet having died. Fleetingly I establish myself within a false conception of death (false the way a key is “falsified” by warping): I conceive of death beside me: I conceive of it according to an unthought logic, I drift outside of the fatal couple which links life and death by opposing them to each other.
5. Is the abyss no more than an expedient annihilation? It would not be difficult for me to read the abyss, not as a repose, but as an emotion. I mask my mourning by an evasion; I dilute myself, I swoon in order to escape that density, that clogging which makes me into a responsible subject: I come out: it is ecstasy. (5 Sartre)
Rue du Cherche-Midi, after a difficult evening, X was explaining very carefully, his voice exact, his sentences well-formed, far from anything inexpressible, that sometimes he longed to swoon; he regretted never being able to disappear at will. His words were saying that he meant then to succumb to his weakness, not to resist the wounds the world inflicted upon him; but at the same time he was substituting for this failing strength, another affirmation: I assume toward and against everything a denial of courage, hence a denial of morality: that is what X’s voice was saying.
- - - Footnotes
1. Werther: “In such thoughts I am engulfed, I succumb, under the power of these magnificent visions … I shall see her … Everything, yes, everything, as though engulfed by an abyss, vanishes into this prospect.”
2. Tristan: “In the blessed abyss of the infinite ether, in your sublime soul, boundless immensity, I sink and am engulfed, unconscious, O bliss!” (Isolde’s death).
3. Baudelaire: “Some pink and blue evening, we shall exchange a single impulse, a kind of long sob, heavy with farewells” ("La Mort des amants").
4. Ruysbroeck: “… The repose of the abyss.”
5. Sartre: On swooning and anger as evasions, The Emotions.
- - -
From Roland Barthes “A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments”, translated by Richard Howard.
“The aim of the poet is to inform or delight, or to combine together, in what he says, both pleasure and applicability to life. In instructing, be brief in what you say in order that your readers may grasp it quickly and retain it faithfully. Superfluous words simply spill out when the mind is already full. Fiction invented in order to please should remain close to reality.”
I attended your MFA show two nights ago. I apologise to an extent: with so many artworks on display it was difficult to digest any of them. That situation was exacerbated by the fact that so few of the works seemed to have it in them to behave destructively…
“I recognize pain in the faces of so many people, and in the work of so many people. For me it’s not about reconciliation so much as recognition – I don’t feel you can reconcile such events. I’ve felt touched by work that addresses pain – it’s almost a texture. In writing about pain I’ve felt I’m opening out something I could never reconcile – a kind of conversation I knew I couldn’t end, but could begin. I’m interested in moments that hold the confusion of our pain – the worry and the fear – and yet show how we continue on. That’s why I’m fascinated with Beckett’s plays: he can tick-tock his way through the difficulty of pain and remain in it. Because pain also seems to remain difficult, I feel it’s a narrative lie to create a structure that closes it off, resolves it.”—Interview with Claudia Rankine (via suzannescanlon)
Mary Zournazi: So how do your ideas on ‘affect’ and hope come together here?
Brian Massumi: In my own work I use the concept of ‘affect’ as a way of talking about that margin of manoeuvrability, the ‘where we might be able to go and what we might be able to do’ in every present situation. I guess ‘affect’ is the word I use for ‘hope’. One of the reasons it’s such an important concept for me is because it explains why focusing on the next experimental step rather than the big utopian picture isn’t really settling for less. It’s not exactly going for more, either. It’s more like being right where you are - more intensely.
“The Idea is always a scene of pathos which I imagine and by which I am moved; in short, a theater. And it is the theatrical nature of the Idea from which I benefit: this theater, of the stoic genre, magnifies me, grants me stature. Bu imagining an extreme solution (i.e, a definitive one; i.e. a definite one), I produce a fiction, I become an artist, I set a scene, I paint my exit; the Idea is seen, like the pregnant moment (pregnant = endowed with a strong, chosen meaning) of bourgeois drama: sometimes this is a farewell scene, sometimes a formal letter, sometimes, for much later on, a dignified reencounter. The art of the catastrophe calms me down.”—Barthes, Roland. Howard, Richard, trans. “Ideas of Solution.” A Lovers Discourse. Trans. Richard Howard. New York: Hill and Wang,1977 p. 143. Print.
On the solstice, I sat in Cheesman park chanted 108 rounds of surya namaskar mantra while the sun went down. It took more than an hour. The weird hives I have all over my stomach (ahem, solar plexus / naval) are worse than ever. According to my notes, the solar plexus is roughly between T8 and T12—the thoracic vertebra where the spinal cord begins to branch out into the cauda equina.
I have been meditating every day after dinner and again briefly before bed and in the morning. When I work with a mantra, my thoughts continue, but they move to the background.
Dreams of an unsubtle, obvious direct body. This summer as a summer in Beijing or Singapore.
Stupid dreams of having the same conversations with X, who I don’t even really know. Also, “It is normal for everyone’s anatomy to be quite different.” “Where should I feel it?” “Where do you feel it?”
X wrote me an email full of tender but unasked for advice.
I lived in Chattanooga, except that Chattanooga was a cliff-dwelling community and also like LA. I rode in the passenger seat of a white moving van with a poet friend as we swerved around curves. A long conversation in someone’s home about bookshelves—how to build them and arrange them, comparing other people’s bookshelves and then competitive conversations about the relative happiness of bookshelves and home spaces. Later I walked out to cliffs where birds in cages boarded. It was a safe but precarious place. Although I walked through, it was “closed,” so I wasn’t supposed to pick up Lester. He was there, healthy and happy, but in too small a cage, so I put him under my shirt and took him home.
In bed with someone I knew, though I don’t now remember who they were. I woke up, and they were there, looking amorous, so I said “please go away or go to sleep.” I got out of bed and there was a long packing sequence; I worried about excess luggage because the plane was one of those small propeller planes I few on in PNG and the Solomon Islands. This dream had a long water sequence, which is typical of my dreams. I revisit certain dream lagoons, oceans, lakes and rivers on a regular basis. This one was a particular lagoon—the water is warm and tropical but not clear, and there’s an island. On the northeast side of the island is a surf break and a colony of sharks. Just as someone was about to be eaten, they escaped. But then a man was murdered in a campy but really disgusting horror movie sequence. The murderer had a sport fishing boat and caught the victim—a man—with a huge sport hook. The murdered victim was then somehow vacuumed out and put in a small, plastic barrel.
Cut to a sequence with my friend M. We were in a road race running along pathways next to canals, and eventually we got on a boat. M and I got in his car and he drove/flew it into a house.
Today I sat in the park and strung a new set of mala beads in the sun. In the playground behind me, a little girl screamed at her mother for a solid forty minutes: “Mama, I need you.” “Mama, I hate you.” I’m using a combination of red and yellow jasper beads with yellow thread. Thread the bead and chant “om shreem,” tie a knot and chant “om shreem.” Of course, I kept fucking it up. My mind would drift off and I’d be delivering a comeback or speech to someone who wasn’t there and so would tie the knots too loose or too far apart.
A woman in my yoga teacher training program attended a mala workshop on Friday. I didn’t go, but she gave me information about where to find the woman who led the workshop. I’m skeptical of ritual but also interested in it, so yesterday I went to Tibet Imports on 8th avenue to visit Sarita Shrestha and buy beads to make a mala. I’ve used prayer beads since I was in high school. My mother gave me my first mala, a very beautiful Baha’i set made from antique Chinese glass beads. On my first trip to Beijing in 1994 I bought a yak bone mala—each bead is hand-carved into a tiny skull. I’m disturbed that my 15-year-old self was so drawn to it. I remember the man in the shop wanted to sell me a jade bracelet, and I kept on saying in my bad Chinese that I wanted the mala, and he kept responding, in English, “not for you!” I did buy it, and it’s the mala that I’ve used for my intermittent mantra practice ever since.
Bone malas are meant to remind us of impermanence and death—the very things I’ve been meditating on this week. All fear is fear of death, etc. But recently I’ve been trying to cultivate more sweetness, and since I’m attempting to establish a meditation practice, a new mala seemed like a good idea.
At Tibet Imports, Sarita Shrestha asked me a few questions about my life and then did a quick Vedic astrological analysis. I know almost nothing about Vedic Astrology, but she said that I was in the midst of a difficult transition (“look, see, Jupiter is all over your chart!”) but that also I was about to enter into a period of travel and communication (“you are going to do a lot of talking and be very shiny—look at the sun here, here and here”). She suggested that red and yellow beds would be best, to emphasize the sun and the manipura, or solar plexus chakra. This felt right to me, since the manipura is associated with transformation—both the literal transformation of digestion as well as spiritual transformation. And also my favorite color in high school was yellow.
New Agitprop Space, Art Spaces, Museum Spaces, Small Spaces
I’m thinking about the upcoming reading with Carrie Lorig and Joe Hall in the new Agitprop space, which may or may not be called Agitprop, and also thinking about a conversation that David White & I had a few months ago about art spaces and museums and how clusters of smaller, multi-use spaces might be (to us) more interesting than a larger, space. And less expensive, of course.
And I’m thinking about how SFMOMA is closing for expansion and the Grupa O.K. proposal for a museum series on the Open Space blog and the recent post from Byron Peters, Matt Post and Xiaoyu Weng based on a conversation responding to the whole series.
This, especially, from the end of the post:
We would, by contrast, pose the possibility that “expansion” might take a different form entirely. If, as Terry Smith offered in “You can be a Museum, or Contemporary…”, “the remodernist modern/contemporary museum continues to serve contemporary artists by steadfastly demonstrating the look of somewhere not to be,” perhaps the goal might simply be to redistribute the museum’s immense energies somewhere else. This could, in the very least, amount to an increased advocacy for spaces for art free of gift shops, of art-as-tourism, or comprised of something other than dizzying storage facilities for privately-owned value. In other words, with the museum as an expanding frame of reference, we might look to an imaginative demand as sort of counter rhythm, an equal and opposite force to ‘productive’ expansion in general. As Marcus evinced, and we agree, “to resist the encroachment of capital in the present climate, therefore, means harnessing the museum’s resources against the logic of productivity, elevating time-insensitive activities above the “proper” (i.e., productive) use of space.”
What is to be done? We will make two modest proposals, which might begin to undo the logic of privatization we describe above, and to hold the museum to the promise of its public relations. First, the museum should abolish fees outright for admission and membership, as, for example,the Dallas Museum of Art has already done, and expanding SFMOMA’s Art for All proposal to the entire institution.
And second, the museum should make permanent its temporary program during closure, of off-site projects and support for community partners—and indeed should extend its resources, expertise, and collection further to otherwise underserved and sorely underfunded arts institutions in the Bay Area. Enacting these proposals would begin to realize a “community ownership of cultural riches” that will otherwise remain a convenient rhetorical pose. This would be an expansion worth embracing.
"The necessity for this book is to be found in the following consideration: that the lover’s discourse is today of an extreme solitude" (1)
Roland Barthes writes this in 1977, but it sounds like a description of every song by every troubadour ever. One lover must be absent for lover’s discourse to happen. Traditionally, you don’t chant a chanson as long as your Lady is present and loves you. You only write post-breakup, after she has forsaken you and you are an economically disenfranchised knight.
"Once a discourse is thus driven by its own momentum into the backwater of the ‘unreal,’ exiled from all gregarity, it has no recourse but to become the site, however exiguous, of an affirmation" (1).
So the lover’s discourse is a place where declare and propose the truth of something.
"…instead, a structural one [portrait] which offers the reader a discursive site: the site of someone speaking within himself, amorously, confronting the other (the loved object), who does not speak” (3).
10 years later, R Howard Bloch publishes “Medieval Misogyny,” and then eventual a book, which I read in 2003 or 2004 as part of a class on Medieval Women with Kelley Wickham-Crowley when I did my MA at Georgetown. I wrote a paper for her about the Lais of Marie de France, subjectivity and pain.
From the first Bloch’s article, with the subheading “Woman as Riot.”
"So persistent is the discourse of misogyny—from the earliest church fathers to Chaucer—that the uniformity of its terms furnishes an important link between the Middle Ages and the present and renders the topic compelling because such terms still govern (consciously or not) the ways in which the question of woman is conceived by women as well as by men. Misogyny is not so much a historical subject as one whose very lack of history is so bound in its effects that any attempt merely to trace the history of women-hating is hopelessly doomed, despite all moral imperative, to naturalize that which it would denounce (more on this later)."
Sosibos the Lakedaimonian, by way of proving that the fig-tree is a discovery of Dionysos, says that for that reason the Lakedaimonians even worship Dionysos Sykites (of the Fig). And the Naxians, according to Andriskos and again Aglaosthenes, record that Dionysos is called Meilikhios (Gentle) because he bestowed the fruit of the fig. For this reason, also, among the Naxians the face of the god called Dionysos Bakkheos is made of the vine, whereas that of Dionysos Meilikhios is of fig-wood. For, they say, figs are called meilikha (mild fruit).
He was said to have discovered all tree-fruits, amongst which apples and figs are particularly mentioned; and he was referred to as “well-fruited,” “he of the green fruit,” and “making the fruit to grow.” One of his titles was “teeming” or “bursting” (as of sap or blossoms); and there was a Flowery Dionysus in Attica and at Patrae in Achaia. The Athenians sacrificed to him for the prosperity of the fruits of the land. Amongst the trees particularly sacred to him, in addition to the vine, was the pine-tree. The Delphic oracle commanded the Corinthians to worship a particular pine-tree “equally with the god,” so they made two images of Dionysus out of it, with red faces and gilt bodies. In art a wand, tipped with a pine-cone, is commonly carried by the god or his worshippers. Again, the ivy and the fig-tree were especially associated with him. In the Attic township of Acharnae there was a Dionysus Ivy; at Lacedaemon there was a Fig Dionysus; and in Naxos, where figs were called meilicha, there was a Dionysus Meilichios, the face of whose image was made of fig-wood.
Sir James George Frazer, The Golden Bough, Chapter 42
And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree. (Isaiah 34:4)
And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. (Revelation 6:13)
Many figs just fell on my head, and it reminded me that I have a project about being hit with fruit and throwing fruit. And Jessica Smith reminded me of this section from The Bell Jar:
“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”
(The summit of Stonewall mountain—a not very exhausting hike)
We work too hard We’re too tired to fall in love. Therefore we must overthrow the government.
We work too hard We’re too tired to overthrow the government. Therefore we must fall in love. — Rod Smith
The old Spooks By Me is now sitting in an xml file on my hard drive, and may return again when I can figure out how to import those posts into Tumblr. Wordpress became too much of a technical pain to use, so I’m not going to use it anymore.
Rod’s poem has been quoted a lot recently (see An Army of Lovers by David Buuck & Juliana Spahr, Brian Ang’s Manifesto #3: Poetry & Militancy, etc. etc. ). I relate to the part about being tired and working too hard, to the circuitous nature of the poem, the idea that love and overthrowing the government are connected and possibly even substitutions for one another. The idea that certain kinds of love tend to occur in certain kinds of governments and social structures and communities while other kinds of love are not allowed.
But mostly the tired part. Anne Boyer, I know must be tired, too, but how do you write so much? Or Kate Zambreno, how do you write so much? I’d like to lay down on my couch for days and listen to the great blue herons on the Cornell Lab Bird Cam while drifting in and out of sleep, except that there’s no way that could possibly happen, ever. And then I’d just be sleeping not writing and reading. Perhaps some kinds of writing can only happen with exhaustion.
MARY. Those marked * Shelley read also.Posthumous Works. 3 vols. Sorrows of Werter. Don Roderick. By Southey. *Gibbon’s Decline and Fall 12 vols. *Gibbon’s Life and Letters. 1st Edition. 2 vols. *Lara. New Arabian Knights. 3 vols. Corinna. Fall of the Jesuits. …
“To me, the value of artist-run institutions is not so much in the models they establish for a more democratic society as in the everyday enactments of such a society through art, and in their capacity to engage fellow citizens in the difficult work of addressing one another and not some chimerical oppressor.”—
Provan, Alexander. “All for One: What Makes A Successful Artist-Run Institution.” Frieze, Issue 153, March 2013. Web.
“Anne Boyer: a lifetime of fits of intense, impractical desire to foster _all_ the children, aggravated by any exposure to lost, unparented, or harmed children — or, I imagine in a more feminist world, there would be a clearly articulated theory of this sometimes overwhelming desire to mother who is not (by law or biology) “yours”—https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=10151358999565923&id=748475922
Ross, indeed.. this is what i posted on tumblr about rateings on the Beach Sloth Scale: ‘i actualy kind of believe this, as i believe “alt lit” is more based on the community rather than qualities found in the writing, and i think beach sloth may be the person who is most comprehensively conected across the various “alt lit” sub-communities’
so i agree: (1) “alt lit” is a specific comunity more then a type of writing.. (2) if your gonna try to describe it based on a characteristic other than the specific community ties, the strongest shared thing is just an embrace of the internet. in 2011 i was pushing the term “internet poetry,” but it didnt stick that much, and i lost enthusiasm for it, now “alt lit” is sticking pretty hard.. “alt lit” was a term coined by Cory Lumpenprole in 2011, i think he was using “alt” in the same way as hipster runoff used it, just describing indie youth culture, hipster stuff, etc., he also referred to soy milk as “alt milk” i remember. so Alt Lit is literature for the alt hipster youth, thats how i interpret it. it’s not at all precise or clear cut as a label, but labels for art things rarely are. i think its inevitable and positive that people see a pattern tho and want to have a name for it, alt lit is just what has stuck, i think its about as good as anything.
The closest that most of us come to a direct experience of the centerlessness of capitalism is an encounter with the call center. As a consumer in late capitalism, you increasingly exist in two, distinct realities: the one in which the services are provided without hitch, and another reality entirely, the crazed Kafkaesque labyrinth of call centers, a world without memory, where cause and effect connect together in mysterious, unfathomable ways, where it is a miracle that anything ever happens, and you lose hope of ever passing back over to the other side, where things seem to function smoothly. What exemplifies the failure of the neoliberal world to live up to its own PR better than the call center? Even so, the universality of bad experiences with call centers does nothing to unsettle the operating assumption that capitalism is inherently efficient, as if the problems with call centers weren’t the systemic consequences of a logic of Capital which means organizations are so fixated on making profits that they can’t actually sell you anything.
The call center experience distils the political phenomenology of late capitalism: the boredom and frustration punctuated by cheerily piped PR, the repeating of the same dreary details many times to different poorly trained and badly informed operatives, the building rage that must remain impotent because it can have no legitimate object, since – as is very quickly clear to the caller –there is no-one who knows, and no-one who could do anything even if they could. Anger can only be a matter of venting; it is aggression in a vacuum, directed at someone who is a fellow victim of the system but with whom there is no possibility of communality. Just as the anger has no proper object, it will have no effect. In this experience of a system that is unresponsive, impersonal, centerless, abstract and fragmentary, you are as close as you can be to confronting the artificial stupidity of Capital in itself.