I am sensing a sort of communal malaise about this online notebooking experience - maybe I'm imagining it. I am feeling it too. Sometimes there seems to be so much dialogue and activity and feverish writing in this public space, and sometimes it seems to retreat. Perhaps there's an ebb and flow to this sort of writing in public. I have been thinking of this rhythm outside of this space, off-stage so to speak, for the book. A book that is in some ways an ode to this sort of messy, immediate essaying. An ode to the outsider. If I can manage to write it as I've thought it fluidly, sometimes, in my head.
I was just in New York this week, and now I am back in North Carolina actually in bed exhausted to the point of feeling almost broken, as we got up at 5:00am to make the public transport to JFK. Oftena feeling of depression sets in when I leave to come back here, or a place like here, the place I lived before, but today it was almost like a green blank slate, warm and womblike. I need the retreat now like I need it sometimes here. And yet the compulsion to see and be seen guides my desire to be - out there - to be a person, a name, a face, something. To wear one's clothes and know and be known. Strange that most of the time I see no one but John but on these short trips I see so many I would love to have long luxurious conversations with.
I walked hard these past few days, as I always tend to do in New York - stomping around until I cannot stand up anymore, almost as if to make up for too much time spent inside. So much art - the only show that was extremely revelatory for me was the Glenn Ligon at the Whitney, which was mind-blowing and radical and so textual and urgent. I am seriously considering trying to go to art school -not for writing - I don't want to do that, to study that on that level, as for me I feel it would deflate the real intense joy and discovery and fucking up and failure I feel from the process, at this stage I am with the process (and this is just so specific and personal to me). But the thought - of more formally making textual things that are framed differently, of realizing myself as a performance artist,, having already studied so much of the theory and history, of working in a different space and for a different audience, also while writing, is starting to feel like a natural and really organic continuation of where I'm going now. I have so many ideas now for projects, but what I will have to overcome is my lack of technical training, although the work I'm interested in isn't really about the technically proficient (but of course I will have to learn things, and take some basic art classes I'm assuming even to get a portfolio to apply to schools). Also thinking that there's nothing that gets me off like seeing art, that that is all I think about and take pilgrimmages to, and the thought of doing that, and struggling with that, while also being a writer, fills me with such a sense of, almost, truancy, a wonderful truancy, an escape, a hatch, or a window. And I only want to push myself to do things that make me want to vomit, in a good way, not out of dread, but a fear that is really an attempt to open up the self.
I was thinking this week seeing art in New York - including the Francis Alys show, which was totally underwhelming, maybe because I saw a show of his at the Ren in Chicago that was very very good and this show felt messy and over the place and not really hitting at the impact or experience of his work - about curating and collaborating as a form of artistic practice. Also with the Glenn Ligon show as well. And last night the Prose Event #2 - with Amina Renee and Danielle, all three writers who have such sensitivity and insight and depth with both their practice as well as the works themselves, all three activist-curators as well. The reading was wonderful, because of them, and afterwards we talked about the flaneur haunted and resurrected and newly gendered from modernism, and how all three of them write the banal and the quotidian in such urgent and revelatory ways. And as an introduction Rachel Levitsky said something about the writer Gail Scott being in the house, and I thought she meant, of course, spiritually in the house, like under the sign of, as her work My Paris is really the vanguard of this question of essay and fiction, as well as the urban female flaneur, which not only is Green Girl hugely inspired by but also Mad Wife which has now become Heroines the essay-novel-that-is-a-novel-but-is-not-a-novel but no I realized later that she meant physically, she was visiting New York, - and I got to meet her afterward and I felt very fangirlish afterwards, and we talked about the possibility of there being a Prose Event in Montreal. Which I went to once as a child, and I long again to circle around those cobblestoned streets.