I’m not a prole by virtue of upbringing, education and unemployment, so I really got it in memory of John. I do like it, even if I don’t agree with all of it. I supported the Kickstarter and it arrived yesterday and it’s gorgeous.
Yesterday the weather was so yeesh Paul and I mall walked at Brentwood instead, and I came home with more soap and more undies and much sorer feet than normal since we normally walk on more yielding substances than the terrazzo floors one finds in malls. I picked up a dark chocolate Sweet Georgia Brown for Jeff.
THE FOLLOWING RANT TRIGGERED BY THIS.
The novels I am working on honour and name some women’s experiences that don’t get spoken of much in fiction, and while I meant to write something overtly feminist and goofy (there is a LOT of goofiness in all of the novels, also stuff that’s really sad or formal or media-crunchy or just kinda sideways to the normal flow of contemporary novels) I wanted to deconstruct a lot of issues I find with fiction.
The first novel is written almost entirely from the points of view of the main characters. They lie, they address the camera with every show of sincerity, and in some cases they go off into wacko country to expose themselves and their feelings to demonstrate how real and how weird they are, on purpose, kinda like a performance piece that you can’t look away from despite how terrible it is. Later, you hear from a sympathetic female character that she doesn’t believe a word that our heroine wrote on the subject of her relationship with the lead alien, to which her sad response is, “I can’t believe the things that really happened,” which is me saying that erasure happens at every level of human life, fictional or not. Not everyone in your lifeboat is your friend.
What we are willing to consider unbelievable defines us. When we open the floodgates to unmediated human experience and see with our x-ray eyes the patterns and radiating webworks of connection and alienations, our prejudices will define what we see, our linguistic traffic patterns will define how we talk about it OR IF WE CAN TALK ABOUT IT AT ALL and what springs into the foreground for me as a writer is how crabbed and censored and tied in moneyed, legalistic, sexist knots all of my life is, including, overwhelmingly, most of the media I consume.
I am over the side of a little boat, trying to get a big damned net off a whale that has begged for my help BY BEING IN FRONT OF ME AND NEEDING MY HELP.
And if I’m really lucky, I will experience that moment of success. I’ll get the net off ONE WHALE. The whale will leap into the air and take me to the place of gratitude that belongs to all thinking creatures – at least the mammals.
I am trying to free language so that we can speak about things that mean something to us. Women, men, everybody. We are all in a net of clunky concepts and ambiguous words. It’s my job to jump over the side and free the whale.
So no, I’m not going to be a revolutionary militant, but I’m going to hold myself to my goal. I want my readers to laugh and cry and think and shake their fists. And when they are done, to think about their own lives, all the risks untaken and all the kind words left unsaid, and all the fucking homophobic narcissistic sexist racist assholes who, every time we rub up against them, take a little of our skin and humanity with them.
My son said that the idea of reading ‘a book about alien pregnancy’ made him squick. Paul laughed uproariously. Nine months in my body, but disgusted by pregnancy, was his comment. What a kid. The pregnancy is less than 10 percent of all the words in all three books but see what he has chosen to believe defines it. And so, in the words of the black activists I follow on twitter, this is me shaking my damned head. (SMH)