Nourished by the womb, muscular features, subtle curves, thighs that touch, able and active, straight and white teeth from years of braces and regular dentist visits, cavities from years of neglect, breasts sized 36B, perfect feet according to my Nana, elegant neck, White skin with irregular tan lines from the relentless California sun, green eyes, unruly body hair, regular digestion, moles, scars, marks, the promise of lines and wrinkles, tired eyes, observed annually by doctor visits, observed tenaciously from a hospital stay, medicated, tremors of anxiety, active tear ducts, hydrated by clean and safe water, long hours at a computer, long hours in the yoga room, assaulted, threatened, despised, adored, loved, admired etc.
“Perhaps we need a moratorium on saying ‘the body’. For it’s also possible to abstract ‘the’ body. When I write ‘the body’ I see nothing in particular. To write ‘my body’ plunges me into lived experience, particularity. I see scars, disfigurements, discolorations, damages, losses, as well as what pleases me….”
Things that make me feel
happy at ease:
My cat, my partner, sparkling water, gardening, reading (sometimes), watching a movie (but only the first 30 minutes), xanax, driving with the windows down, music (recently: Daughters), therapy (sometimes), sitting on my patio, cooking, talking on the phone with friends, sitting on my patio with friends, shopping, putting on a pair of sunglasses, hot showers, Instagram, amy schumer…
The list is rather small, undependable and unpredictable, but I’m on a quest of discovery…
So the poet is truly the thief of fire, then.
He is responsible for humanity, even for the animals: he must make his inventions smelt, felt, heard: if what he brings back from down therehas form, he grants form: if it’s formless he grants formlessness. To find a language – for that matter, all words being ideas, the age of a universal language will come! It is necessary to be an academic – deader than a fossil – to perfect a dictionary of any language at all. The weak-mindedthinking about the first letter of the alphabet would soon rush into madness!
This language will be of the soul for the soul, containing everything, scents, sounds, colours, thought attaching to thought and pulling. The poet would define the quantity of the unknown, awakening in the universal soul in his time: he would give more than the formulation of his thought, the measurement of his march towards progress! An enormity become the norm, absorbed by all, he would truly be an enhancer of progress!
This future will be materialistic, you see. – Always filled with Number and Harmony, these poems will be made to last. – At heart, it will be a little like Greek poetry again.
Eternal art will have its function, since poets are citizens. Poetry will no longer take its rhythm from action: it will be ahead of it!
These poets will exist! When woman’s endless servitude is broken, when she lives for and through herself, when man – previously abominable – has granted her freedom, she too will be a poet! Women will discover the unknown! Will her world of ideas differ from ours? – She will discover strange things, unfathomable; repulsive, delicious: we will take them to us, we will understand them.
Meanwhile, let us demand new things from the poets – ideas and forms. All the clever ones will think they can easily satisfy this demand: that’s not so! …..
“That the individual will become ‘brave enough to let his feelings develop’ in the absence of an object—toward a possible object, as it were—and by doing to commit himself, or rather, entrust himself to the inevitable elusiveness of that object. For the adult, it seems boredom needs to be the more permanent suspended animation of desire. Adulthood, one could say, is when it begins to occur to you that you may not be leading a charmed life” Adam Phillips
The trick about writing from bipolar disorder is not to write within bipolar disorder and not to write against it.
Writing within it has the tendency to be over-indulgent.
Writing against it has the tendency to be redemptive.
Both of these things are dangerous paths.
Speaking of tendencies, Eve Kosovsky Sedgwick (hero alert!) wrote a book called Tendencies. I read the chapter entitled “Queer and Now” a couple of weeks ago for class and in it she rehearses an argument made in her popular essay, “Epistemology of the Closet”:
Both the act of coming out, and closetedness itself, can be taken as dramatizing certain features of linguistic performativity in ways that have broadly applicable implications. Among the striking aspects of considering closetedness in this framework, for instance, is that the speech act in question is a series of silences! I’m the more eager to think about performativity, too, because it may offer some ways of describing what critical writing can effect (promising? smuggling?); anything that offers to make this genre more acute and experimental, less numb to itself, is a welcome prospect.
Which is to say that for me, being bipolar is a lot like being queer (which I identify as). Both are a closet, and both effect the act of coming out, which as Sedgwick says, are [merely] a series of silences. Coming out only effects other closets (cf Judith Butler). By saying “I am _______” I am also saying “I am not _______,” only more reticently.
May the writing that happens here be a critical discourse, writing neither from within, nor against. May it effect tense silences that are then broken. May it be experimental and acute in the practice of coming out, over and over again, realizing always that the “I” that writes here is merely a slippage of subjectivity that never becomes realized. Amen.
I am (uncharacteristically) awake. It’s 1:39am. It’s just me and the cat.
[unsubscribe now! it’s going to be a long night.]
But enough about that.
The first thing about lies is that I do it a lot. To the world around me, I have the flu at uncharacteristic frequency. [Flu] usually stands in for [depression] or [panic] or [severe irritability] (also known as [hypomania]). So it goes. My goal in life is to find a status wherein 1. I no longer have to lie and say I have the flu and 2. I no longer have to come out to anyone about being bipolar (or whatever term they’ll think of next to characterize aforementioned symptoms. Some already call it “Lauren”). Most people regard my coming out with sympathy. They call it brave and vulnerable. But it’s a shitty thing to have to do. And I don’t like it. I form these ideal situations at regular intervals. Some I try out and then fail at miserably. That’s what happening with school right now (and by failing at school I mean I’m getting A’s, naturally. Failure is more tenuous than a mere grade).
– move to Paris, learn French and work at 0fr
– move to India, study ashtanga, come “home” and start a Mysore program
– quit school, move into the city to a commune and become a master gardener
But I digress…
The second thing about LIES is that it’s a journal of material feminism with one edition published in 2012 (and a second one on the way this year!). The first essay is called “Undoing Sex: Against Sexual Optimism”. It’s all I’ve read in the journal because of the rush it sent through me, frightening and uplifting. In said essay are quoted: Gayle Rubin, Karl Marx, Max Weber, Lauren Berlant, Mary Daly, Sara Ahmed and others to name a few of the references as well as my heroes. But I’m wasting time. Must go read more! I’ll be back with a more comprehensive review. In the meantime, visit their tumblr.