Most of the time, I am not all that bothered about my smartphone and being constantly able to go on the internet, other than to look up the words I don’t know in the books I’m reading. However, it’s kind of useful in restaurants when you don’t know what ‘cep’, ‘onglet’ or ‘boudin noir’ are. I guessed all three wrong! And then I ate a duck scotch egg with a runny middle, devastatingly marred by lemon flavoured mayonnaise. Why, gastro pub, why.
— Renata Adler, Speedboat
Sylvia Plath: motivational laptop wallpaper AND hair inspiration.
Things that have happened in my life recently (of cultural or personal note):
- Saw Compliance, felt jaded due to too much prior Haneke viewing. Was mainly happy when the couple next to me walked out when things got gross: the guy was very fidgety, was wearing a bulky leather coat (inside!) that was restricting my arm movement, and he kept talking to his girlfriend/partner (I imagine mostly “Shall we leave”). Following the walk-out, I felt smugly superior for not walking out, if that is in fact an achievement
- Wept extensively over the first official feedback I got on my master’s, felt better three days later, realised I was totally transferring other shit onto it and wished I was more self-aware
- Read Leaving the Atocha Station, felt annoyed, read We the Animals, felt persuaded of its greatness by the end, am about to read Battleborn, am scared it will put me off writing by being really good
- Persuaded my mother to buy me How Should a Person Be instead of an Easter egg; half-regret that now, but can still buy half-price Easter eggs for myself next week, to eat whilst reading it
- Started watching Felicity with my boyfriend; squealed in excitement (together, but maybe at slightly different pitches?) when Felicity got with Noel properly, in the first season, which we are still watching
- Decided I don’t like Geoff Dyer after I was painfully awkward getting a copy of Zona signed after a reading, telling him I was totally going to watch Stalker but hadn’t got round to it but I tried to watch Solaris three times! (etc) to which he responded with a deeply puzzled, somewhat pitying expression
She went to a café opening on a Sunday afternoon to meet her ex boyfriend, who said he wanted to be friends, to sustain their relationship in a platonic fashion, because people managed to do that on TV and so why shouldn’t they do it too? There was a band playing at the café opening, one that he liked a lot and had seen in the past, before and after he knew her, but never while they were together. Before going she sent a friend a text message asking whether she was doing the right thing but the friend didn’t reply, and just before arriving at the café she wondered why she sent a time-sensitive message to someone who never replied to anything in a timely fashion. It was raining when she got there, but the band were playing under a sheltered area and she sat down in an aluminium chair that felt light and like it might fall out from underneath her. Her ex boyfriend was sat at a picnic bench eating a cheese toastie that looked very thin and unappetising, and he said to her between some songs, there’s food in there, pointing towards the tiny café, and she said she’d already eaten, that she’d made that carrot and lentil soup he used to like, but the band had started playing again and he couldn’t hear her, and so she turned to look at the band, which was mostly made up of handsome young men, playing a song that sounded like world music to her. She waited for her face to settle into a suitably relaxed position but it refused to do so, and so for the duration of a song she worried about whether she was unintentionally grimacing, and when it finished and the audience clapped, her hands making a quiet clap rather than her usual loud clap (where she cupped her hands in just the right position to make a ringing noise that travelled and made her laugh, her laugh also being deliberately loud because she was always hoping that someone would see her in this life of feeling invisible), she got up from her seat which scraped on the floor in a sound reminiscent of a goose honking and went inside the café to hide and be dry and to buy a coffee. On the menu, which she had to move around people to see, causing several different girls to say, oop sorry! when she tried to get past them, the coffees were not listed in a conventional way, instead saying small coffee or large coffee, with frothy milk or without. She stood and looked at the blonde girl behind the counter whose hair was in a plait down her back and the girl ignored her for a while and then eventually looked at her and said, oh, were you waiting? and she said yes, a small frothy coffee please and the girl frowned and said like a latte? as though it was a strange request and she felt as though she was going mad, seeing things on signs and bumping into people and scraping chairs and ordering everything wrong. The band was still playing so she sat back down, with her coffee in her hand, a few feet away from a band member with dark brown hair who was alternating between a tuba and a clarinet and she thought he was very good but could not smile and could not move her feet up and down to the music. Her ex boyfriend starting whooping along to the music and when she looked round he was sitting with one of the girls from inside the café, and from their proximity she guessed that their relationship was not one of simple friendship, so she looked back at the band and let her face drop and closed her eyes and listened to the music, which was relentless by now, the percussion driving the tune, the female singer’s voice winding her way around the instruments and the song in a language that might have been Spanish, who knew? Well, she supposed, the ex boyfriend probably knew, and she would bet a significant amount of money that the girl underneath his arm knew too.
I made my therapist belly laugh today and it felt like a real achievement.
I feel immeasurably better about my dirty celebrity magazine habit now.
At a reading Sharon Olds did at my college recently, she said that her poetry is “a quest for an identity that’s bearable to the self”. Also her ideas come from her diary: sometimes she calls it her journal, “but really it’s a 16-year-old diary diary.” Thing I am learning: lots of women writers are really funny.
Such a fangirl of her now.
— Quoting someone else quoting someone else. (What Tumblr is for?) Heroines seems pretty vital. Also been reading interviews with Stacey Richter and thinking about how important it really is to be able to express things in a lofty, learned, lucid way, (all the l’s!) and whether it’s ok to be like Richter and just say, “I think beauty is consumed by capitalism in such a natural, complete way that no one notices or comments anymore–which sucks”, which sounds a lot more like something that would come out of my mouth than anything Zambreno-esque, referencing Deleuze/Pessoa/de Beauvoir etc - but there are connections there. This is all coming out of my fear of expressing an opinion, naturally.
— This profile managed to entirely freak me out.