Listening: I have been listening to a strange melange of things ranging from the first Black Rebel Motorcycle Club record to Erik Satie to the Wipers to the Replacements to old-school Aaliyah. Also, my music diary mix from June:
It features the Black Keys, Madonna, Santigold, Florence & the Machine, Nick Drake, the Walkmen, Fiona Apple, Grimes, Peaches and the Animals. These kind of mixes features both songs I’ve been listening/loving with stuff that actually surrounded me in life, so it always has an odder feel — but I like that often.
Watching: I rewatched Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, sort of for eye candy/moveable feast reasons; that’s such a girly movie, and sort of fits into this whole “female subjectivity” strain of thinking I’ve been doing lately. (More on that later.) I’m re-watching some “Daria” episodes as well, because can you ever go wrong with that? Not really.
Reading: I’m reading my own manuscript pain-stakingly for errors. It’s like my novel just sucks up all literary activity in my orbit. I have more Steinbeck and some Ray Bradbury waiting for me, though, and I’m dipping into all the Anne of Green Gable books casually. And I re-read that Adrien Brody story by Marie Calloway after Liina namechecked her in the comments to the “Sparks: Female Trainwreck Week” post.
Wearing: I took a week off from fashion this week because IT WAS TOO HOT TO CARE. I really just sweat through everything. It’s horrific and disgusting.
Eating: It has been too hot and I kind of lost my appetite for food because of it. This is why I’ve never liked summer: I can’t wear the kinds of clothes I love, and when it gets too hot my appetite disappears and nourishing myself is like this huge chore. I have been making a lot of smoothies, though, and putting avocado on anything humanly possible. That’s my summer-coping strategy. Oh! I did eat a delicious margherita pizza the other night. The heat made me forget.
Thinking: OK, so re-reading the Marie Calloway piece has been an interesting experience, and a great prism through which to look at feminism, literature, and “performance,” especially vis-a-vis in relation to the whole Cat Marnell thing happening in the Internet media lately. (Which was like last week or so, but is already like “forever” in Internet time.) I find Marie Calloway generally more compelling than Marnell because she’s ultimately a creator of art, though perhaps beauty coverage can one day be a viable vehicle for well-developed feminist thought — who knows? What interests me, though, and what I’m still teasing out, is her way of detailing the nooks and crannies of a certain kind of female subjectivity, one that fills in the empty spaces — between action and thought, men and women, body and body — with the subtleties of sex and power(lessness) as played out in one “character”‘s very intricate, sometimes narcissistic yet often insightful thoughts. It’s sort of a fantastic literary representation of how sex is a mediated act, in which an object becomes subject (at least in her head) and in some way defuses that relation (and least from its point of view). I like how it questions assumptions about the confessional and women’s writing. I also think it’s a genuinely vulnerable, moving piece in parts, and I’ve been really interested lately in exploring vulnerability on a personal and kind of cultural level.
And yet, and yet, and yet: every girl who’s been on the Internet since 1996 (like me, eek) has read something like this on Livejournal before, so it’s interesting to contemplate why this piece and why now? Don’t have an answer to that, not quite yet, but it’s an interesting question to mull over. Where would the Internet be without female exhibitionism? And: I can’t help but contemplate the piece via my own evolving sense of feminism and what, for a lack of better word, I’ll call enlightenment, though I’m anything but. I recognize the power and validity of getting an unvarnished female subjectivity out there, especially regarding sexuality, and something about this piece evokes both participating in the strange power play of sex and the ways the narrator exists mentally outside of it, still able to critique where pleasure is derived from in both poetic and disturbing ways. (I sent the piece to one of my (male) best friends and he wrote back nervously, “Do girls really think like this during sex?”) But lately I like the idea of a kind of feminist dignity, which is admittedly a bourgeois, middle-class concept. But still: I think there’s a lot of power in discretion, privacy, self-containment, and self-possession, and ultimately being a trainwreck can be politically valiant but is ultimately self-defeating at the end. (Not that I’m saying Calloway the author is a trainwreck — she seems too canny to be truly off the rails.) But I am older and it has been a journey to come to that conclusion and to be able to choose dignified responses to life more innately so that they feel more and more like instincts — so there is that as well. This is just a long way of saying that I dig Calloway’s overall “project” but I hope it evolves and that she personally finds some contentment and peace of spirit, if she wants it.
Dreaming: Solid, positive responses. A really great bike. A trip far away.
Feeling: Happy, busy, tranquil, loved.
Anticipating: The next time it rains. More weekends. The week is like a sea for me to cross in order to get to the islands of quiet and happiness that a weekend is!
Loving: Oh, boy, there is so much to love! Just a few: when heat waves snap, Pacifica’s Waikiki Pikake perfume, swimming in the river, riding around on bikes at night, seeing the fireworks so close, having a day off, small road trips down country roads, running, new babies in the family.
Writing: I banged out a story that tries to meld snarky blog girl anti-poetics with a contemporary fairy tale narrative, but I’ll need some time to figure out if it’s really working. Still, it was a valiant attempt, and a lot of fun to write. Now: what is your favorite modern fairy tale written in the first person? This is for research purposes. Please tell me below in the comments!