Water continues to comfort me.
my sister has a blog!
Water continues to comfort me.
my sister has a blog!
Jenny Holzer’s famous truism “Protect me from what I want” renders in a very precise way the fundamental ambiguity of the hysterical position. It can either be read as an ironic reference to the standard male chauvinist wisdom that a woman, when left to herself, gets caught in the…
And I am merely a shadow hunched
Above the arrowy, still strings,
The maker of a thing yet to be made;
The color like a thought that grows
Out of a mood, the tragic robe
Of the actor, half his gesture, half
His speech, the dress of his meaning, silk
Sodden with his melancholy words,
The weather of his stage, himself.
— Wallace Stevens, from section IX of “The Man with the Blue Guitar,” The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens (Vintage, 1982)
jonathan lennard for the face, july 1985
susan stewart “on longing” 1984
much of my writing deals with the “felt lack”. i guess i have often thought of this “felt lack” as a sort of (existential) grief that is fueled by our inability to know our selves outside of language, culture, society, etc. a sort of “loss of self”. lacan refers to the space where desire is born as the real and to the world that we “live” in as reality. because the real has a felt presence in our everyday experiences, while simultaneously being almost impossible to connect with through the tools given to us / taught to us byreality (language, narrative, etc.), there is an inherent gap or hole in which desire is born. i know absolutely nothing about susan stewart, although i plan to read more after seeing this, but i wonder if she would argue that the idea of the real is itself a nostalgia narrative. whether or not she would argue that there is nothing outside of culture and language and structure, i like to think that in an anthropomorphic sense, which could itself be defined as a destiny to think, speak, and act in narrative time, it becomes very difficult to see outside of the narrative or the methods for narrative-making that we have, but that this does not mean that there is nothing outside of it. there is only nothing outside of it in the sense that nothing is the word that we have to define lack or unknown or an inability to communicate the idea in language.
it becomes difficult to separate our thoughts from the thoughts of others and our stories from the stories we’ve been told. at the same time, the most interesting spaces or gaps arise where language does not do the feeling or experience justice. an obvious example of where this might occur is in the terrain of emotion, which is an extremely complex intersection between self (physical, mental) and culture (Other, environment). in writing, art, and music, not to mention the ways we choose to live our lives / attempt to look at the world, we can try to connect to the “felt lack” or the real. we can address and play with the nostalgia narratives that haunt us using their own mediums or modes. not only this, but we can address the grief that is almost constantly felt in our interactions with the world.
our desire “to understand” is an overpowering and all-encompassing reality. if as children, while we were being indoctrinated into the methods, structures, and systems of language and discourse and knowledge, we were simultaneously being asked to confront things that we didn’t understand and to accept and sit with this feeling of “not knowing”, “not being able to explain”, and possibly never being able to “understand”, we may learn the patience and acceptance that is required to live “happily” in this world. the systems we have created for understanding do not and cannot explain everything. science, language, numbers, and history are all structures that we, as humans, have built to uphold our explanations. what lies between the words and the answers and the solutions are the frustrations, the mysteries, the unknowns, and the inexplainables that fuel our desires, griefs, and so on as people living on multiple levels of existence at once.
that said, i really love susan stewart’s words and ideas and yeah„, i plan on looking into her work more. nostalgia trap
She painted. She had a little success. She died. I should hate her story but it seems to me exemplary. She made exactly enough space in her life to set her easel down. The push for honesty in her work is amazing; the way she painted the light hitting the side of a brown teapot, or the slope of a mansard roof. I look at her sad, frank-eyed portraits of herself and of other women, and think if that is what the truth looks like, then she was painting a losing game.
But she did not compromise. She worked with her elbows stuck out, jabbing them both in the eye: on one side her brother Augustus, with his lifestyle and his fame and his sentimental line, and on the other, Auguste, the genius, his lecherous old hands coaxing flesh from stone.
She stood in the middle, looking straight at her subject: Gwen.
"My hero: Gwen John" by Anne Enright
I want to write a story about going to look at a house. About buying a house. About falling in love with a house. About falling out of love with a house. About hearing the highway in the distance for the first time much too late. About feeling ashamed. I want to tell the story of how much a house meant to me. About needing a better house—a bigger house; a cleaner house; a quieter house; a kinder house. When I was a child, a house meant a family and I was so wrong, but I still didn’t have a family, at least not what I thought a family should be.
I’ll probably write that story because I know the place and it would be about a place first and foremost. I know real estate magazines like hitting a cigarette and I know sunspots like happiness you remember that you never knew. Last night we went to this dark spot out far on Delphi Rd. with lots of 28 year old Olympia people wearing black and Djing witchy noise and serving cocktails with real cucumbers, etc. in Solo cups. It was a very cool spot and for some reason I didn’t feel too intimidated by the crowd—mostly younger men with long, greasy hair eating freshly killed legs of lamb—what more can you ask for? There were a couple of kids there looking petrified at the darkening sky set to the music of what I would’ve imagined as hell. I kept wondering what their memories would be of this event—it seemed impossible that they wouldn’t have any, it was so sensational, and plus it felt sticky, like a nightmare at times.
I wondered if they’d grow up to revere well-kept houses and drinking single beers for taste like I did. Of course, I had to go through my phase of not giving a fuck which of course came at the exact worse time and so I didn’t end up graduating high school. I guess I’d still like to stand up for myself and think more in the realm of high school came at exact wrong time and not the other way around.
Anyways, nobody really talked to me other than the girl I came with and a couple of people I knew from work, but it still felt nice to be there—loosening I suppose.
photo of a self portrait of drawing a self portrait on the last morning of twenty-two
last day of twenty-two
this is good / angel olsen