Well, actually, I'm sitting at my desk, so it's from the sick desk, I guess. I was sick yesterday, one of those purging-type sicknesses. Kevin was working at the desk, and I'd be lying in bed, or on the couch for variety, saying to myself, no you won't throw up, you won't throw up, and I'd take deep breaths, try to relax, and this would go on anywhere from one to 10 minutes, then I'd shuffle to the bathroom, which, anyone who has read my book The Letters of Mina Harker knows, is behind my desk, at least the toilet part is. Kevin would have to scoot in his chair for me to get by, then he'd go stand in the kitchen or sit in the living room and wait for me to finish, then he'd go back to the computer and work. Over and over again, all evening.
Finally, around 10:30 my body seemed to have calmed down a bit, and I said let's watch a movie, something "light." The first one we turned on was The First Traveling Saleslady (1956) with Ginger Rogers. It was god-awful. Ginger played a feminist turn of the century corset designer down on her luck. The movie/Ginger proposed that the wearing of corsets was a feminist activity. Ginger wrote a song that Carol Channing sang while wearing a corset, proposing that if you tied the corset so tight you couldn't breathe, it pushed everything around so that you looked so good your "man" wouldn't cheat on you. Ginger played the part of the feminist corset maker with a silly high-pitched voice. I got up and threw up and when I returned I said I couldn't take any more. So then we switched on Bride Wars (2009), with Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway. It had the advantage of being so inane and predictable that it was a good movie to throw up to. I'd get back from the bathroom and say, "What happened?" And Kevin would say, "Nothing."
I decided that if I was going to revive this blog, I'd give it a new look, so this is the new look.
I've been reading Ariana Reines' new blog. It's fascinating, reconfirming my belief that Ariana is a genius. People are enamored of her, I feel, because she so fully embodies whatever mood she's communicating, be it ecstatic or depressed or abject or steamy. Reading her—or being in the same room as her—there's this burst of aliveness you can't keep your eyes off of. As far as the blog goes, I'm struck by what powerful effects, so resonate and multi-layered, she's able to achieve by using very simple, straightforward language. This is something I've also frequently admired in Kathy Acker's writing. In one blog entry today, Ariana tells the story of the bundles of pinewood she brought back from Haiti. The passage ends with, "The burning of sweetsmelling wood by a woman who lives between toilets and a motorcycle mechanic is something very dignified and generous." She builds so gently towards this, it comes as a small shock that took the top of my head off. Is "took the top of my head off" an American idiom? It sounds funny, like a memory I made it up.
When I read Ariana, I want to write simply; when I read others I bemoan my own simplicity. I guess I want to absorb whatever writing I admire. And I suppose I do. Writing absorbs the world and spits it back out in the most surprising ways.
Here's another photo I downloaded for the SFMOMA blog but didn't post. My file is labeled "beat generation." The blonde woman on the far right, wearing the fabulous sunglasses, is Nemi Frost.