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- Mr. Becker's Classroom Malachi Ritscher Blog Free
- Mr. Becker's Classroommalachi Ritscher Blog
- Malachi Ritscher Video
- Mr. Becker's Classroom Malachi Ritscher Blog Archive
Hello. I am Mr. Becker, the principal at Congaree Elementary School. I am very excited to begin another school year here at Congaree. Let me tell you a little bit about our theme for this school year.
“Dream it! Believe it! Achieve it!”
In order forour students to learn, we will need to look closely at the standards and teachour students to think, reason, and problem solve in real-world situations on adeep level. To accomplish this,we will all need to 'dig deep' with a determination toreach each student at his or her academic ability. We will 'cultivate with care' sothat the opportunities for learning each day are supported with compassion and encouragement. We may then 'expect growth.'
Thiswill challenge our understanding of teaching and learning. It willrequire we approach problems from a different angle. It will mean weconsider the process and not just the answer. It will mean putting whatwe do in a real-world context rather than learning in isolation. And itwill take lots of perseverance from both the students and the adults in theclassroom and at home.Therefore we askfor your partnership.Please stay inclose contact with your child’s teacher.The best way to communicate is in your child’s agenda or through class dojo.You may find you child’s teacher’s emailaddress on our school website under “Faculty & Staff.”
Metacognition is when we think about what we learn. In other words, when I learn something, what does my brain do, what do I think about, how do I learn it? Sometimes we have to go through the steps one by one. Sometimes we have to see the big picture before it makes sense. Sometimes we have to go back and read it again (research indicates good readers go back and re-read all the time – that’s what makes them good readers). When we think about our learning, we pay attention to what we do when we learn, so that we can do it again with other information or skills that may not be as easy to grasp.
Kate Zambreno goes for the throat. Or at least her language does, in the manner of those who came to wreck not by demanding, but by will. Her debut novel, O Fallen Angel, (which won the Chiasmus Press ‘Undoing the Novel’ contest) arrives in the grand spirit of Acker, Artaud, Burroughs, but where these are A and A and B, Kate is Z in full: her own, slick, squealy, and of another light. As well: Fun, funny, fucked, freaklit, surprising, terrifying, gorgeous. Her words are a meat we surely want more of, quickly.
On the event of her book’s release (which you can pick up now through SPD) (and read an excerpt of at The Collagist) (and see read live in Chicago this Saturday at Quimby’s), Kate and I spent some time discussing via email her new book, her influences, art, language, terror, cliches, Playboy, Bacon, body fluids, and all things therein.
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Mr. Becker's Classroom Malachi Ritscher Blog Free
BB: The copy of the back of O Fallen Angel says it was inspired by Francis Bacon’s Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion. The images in that painting are quite striking, esp. in that I didn’t look it up until after the text. The orange and white contrast, with the odd body shapes on pedestals as if vivisected and mutated bits of humans stuck on gross smooth forms really resonated in retrospect with the three rotating voices of your text, and made me realize a lot about it in seeing, applying the imagery to the residual effect of your words. I wonder if you could talk about how that image struck you as a way of opening the door here, what effect it had in a process sense, and perhaps how it continued to inform the structure or tone of the book.
Kate Zambreno: I’ve been really haunted by that triptych. For a while I lived in London, really when I first started writing I worked in fiction at Foyle’s bookshop and read all of this experimental fiction for the first time—Ann Quin and Elfriede Jelinek and all the Peter Owen books, Jane Bowles, Anna Kavan—and ran the cult fiction section. I would go to the Tate Museums to the Francis Bacon room in the Tate Britain where they had that first major triptych. I worshipped and gawked at that first triptych, that orange gruesome horror it filled me with such violence and ecstasy. Those three gruesome distorted bodies, the open mouths in Bacon, the silent scream. I’m really interested in the silent scream how we are muted in society, Bacon’s mouths, Helene Weigel’s mouth wide open screaming an empty loss in Mother Courage, Munch’s Scream. I guess that’s some of what I was writing towards in O Fallen Angel, what I’m really always trying to write towards, those who are dumb and deaf but inside writhing with unwordable agony, and are diagnosed as selectively mute, those who lack language so they commit violent acts, they are only given language that is banal and well-behaved , the need to burn burn burn but they cannot so they set fire to themselves, they self-immolate (as one of my characters does literally and the other does symbolically). The spectacle of this, of the wound, to borrow an idea from Mark Seltzer’s cultural study of the serial killer. And we gather around this wound, this trauma in our talk-show society, but then we also suppress it, the anguish, sadness, we medicate it. I also really love how much a reader Bacon was and we both share a passion for the Greeks, the Greek tragedy really inspired O Fallen Angel, especially The Oresteia, the choruses threaded, some of the imagery, and Malachi is a Cassandra figure, ranting, raging, never believed.
Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion
And I guess I’m writing towards these figures, pondering Bacon’s figures, often when I’m writing I have all these visual images that inspire me around me, for O Fallen Angel it was various Bacon images and then some paintings by Marlene Dumas and then Durer’s gorgeous severed wing, which kind of was repurposed for the cover. I’ve been reading Deleuze on Bacon, especially the Hysteria chapter, which brings in Artaud, D&G’s inspiration for the body w/o organs and Beckett, both writers who wrote the silent scream, who were struggling against muteness. And I am really interested in the idea of writing hysteria, not only writing to the Bacon figures but also Freud’s hysterics like Dora kicking and screaming, and I love what Deleuze writes about the nervous systems of Bacon’s figures, also their cruelty, and in many ways O Fallen Angel is a very theatrical book, a very cruel book, and my three figures are hysterical, full of such anguish and violence, really such open throbbing wounds, such nervous systems. And I think of the mutiny against muteness in Thomas Bernhard, “the words that we hang on to because we became crazed by impotence and are made desperate by madness.” The epigraph to O Fallen Angel is from Buchner’s Woyzeck, “Every human being is an abyss. One grows dizzy looking down” a very Bacon image, us being fragmented, frenzied, hollow, and the play is basically about a guy who becomes really paranoid and kills his wife, and throughout the play he keeps on going to this doctor who just tells him to be an upstanding man of society. Which kind of connects to the other big influence on the book, Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, and my Malachi is the Septimus Smith figure, and my Mommy is Clarissa, and they are all hysterics, Malachi traumatized from the war, Mommy and Maggie traumatized by existence and the last two medicate their unhappiness and kitschify their thoughtstream. And you know what I really like about Bacon’s title is that it’s “A Crucifixion” not “The Crucifixion” and I guess I see my Maggie and Malachi being criminalized, crucified. And both works are set during war, and are about a war, being blind to others’ suffering, my Malachi self-immolates in protest of the war, which is inspired by a real person, Malachi Ritscher, who did just that in Chicago, although my fallen angel is and is not Malachi. And Maggie enacts her own war, her traumadrama, on her body.
Before writing the book I watched Last Tango in Paris, which is alluded to often in O Fallen Angel, Maggie’s penchant for Marlon Brandos with stringy hair, for these completely destructive abject love affairs, and at the beginning of the film Bertolucci shows two Bacons side by side. And I was really disappointed by the film, I didn’t get enough of her in it, maybe (although I just found out the other day that Agnes Varda wrote the woman’s dialogue, so maybe I should go back and reappreciate it) but so much of it seemed not really erotic, that’s just me, I far prefer Night Porter, however kitschy it is, to me it’s a better film about masochism and cruelty in love, how we cling to those who destroy us. But anyway since then I’ve been kind of obsessed with the idea of writing writhing Bacon figures in a room, clawing, cruel, craven, and of course the idea of a triptych, as O Fallen Angel is three figures as well (Mommy, Maggie, Malachi) and they rotate in kind of a rhythmic way. In O Fallen Angel I don’t have my figures really interact, they’re really isolated, in the current text I’m writing, another triptych, another family romance, there’s more love or at least touching, even if it’s violent touching or cruel touching (which kind of actually follows Bacon’s trajectory in his paintings, from figures alone in a room to figures kind of communing although still in isolation). But besides the figures in Bacon, these portraits of human suffering, I’m really interested in the spaces of Bacon, these claustrophobic, contained cells. The idea of cells we are trapped in, these small rooms, small minds, our bodies. Also the ambiguity of the cell. Is it a torture chamber? A hotel room? I love that uncertainty. And in O Fallen Angel there’s Mommy, the hysterical housewife, kind of a Jeanne Dielman figure, trapped in the house, she is literally the house, and then there’s Maggie, who’s kind of straitjacketed by her diagnosis on the DSM-IV and mind drugs, and Malachi, my martyr-terrorist, who is trying to be free of the confines of society. Both Maggie and Malachi are trying to be free. But also trapped by the cliches of language.
Mr. Becker's Classroommalachi Ritscher Blog
BB: Interesting to read here about your dealing with the cliche of languages at the same time while handling such ornate and interesting imagery. I was struck in the book by the way that carried through, in that it’s a very clean and spare language most of the time, but handling some very heavy and haunting images. It seems like something that had been cooking in your oven a while and then came out crystalline. Is that true, or just an impression resulting? What were your habits of particular time and setting and making over the time the book was composed?
KZ: I’ve often been so jealous of this model of the writer as one frenzied, one possessed—like Nietzsche, or Flaubert (Madame Bovary was a huge influence on O Fallen Angel, Flaubert who despised cliches, characters that were cliches, but also voluptuously loved cliches). I go in phases. Sometimes I am really frenzied. O Fallen Angel did just kind of come out of me—it’s funny you noticed that. It was the easiest thing I’ve fucking ever wrote, although it is drawing on ideas and in a way rewriting characters I’ve written before or characters that have been sitting in my mind for a while. I think all of my writing is just rewriting, retracing obsessions—maybe a lot of writers are like this. Also, I think it was an easier project than others I had taken on that I had basically figured out while I was writing it. I for once had a structure that was confining, contained, I had the triptych, I had these three characters haunting me—Maggie is in many ways a grotesque carciature of another character I had written before, Ruth in an unpublished novel Green Girl, a sort of postfeminist libertine who’s also quite passive and tragic, sort of like if a Jean Rhys heroine was alive now or Clarice Lispector’s Macabea. I also stole some of my former college journals for Maggie—a few scraps here and there—and I just gagged on how silly I was then, how green, there are a lot of really smart self-aware people at the age of, say, 21—I wasn’t one of them, I hadn’t yet come to any sort of consciousness. And then I had been obsessed with writing monologues of contained women, hysterical portraits, and Mommy was my attempt at this, she is Dora’s mother suffering from housewife psychosis, my Jeanne Dielman, my Molly Bloom, my Winnie in Happy Days (I am hoping to write more of these, actually). And then Malachi is directly inspired by two characters—Septimus Smith in Mrs. Dalloway and Malachi Ritscher, a Chicagoan anti-war protester who self-immolated off a highway. They are all my hysterics, my fallen angels. And so yeah it was a bit of a possession, it became at times an incantation very repetitive and rhythmic. The writing was in a way automatic. I wasn’t aware of what it was, or whether it was successful. Because it came out of me so easily, like a fever dream. Like I had been planning it for a while, but I wrote it in a couple weeks, and edited it over a summer. My other manuscripts have taken years, are still unpublished, have been rejected countless times. But I just wrote this and didn’t know if it was good enough and sent it off to the Chiasmus contest, I had once read this short story “Loving Dora,” by Lidia Yuknavitch, the publisher of Chiasmus, also an FC2 author, and thought if anyone would get the text it would be her. It’s a weird thing. How easy it was. Compared to my other projects.
BB: I love the notion of the funny unfunny funny again. I feel like often readers are so used to the grotesque being morbid or nasty that they can’t take it in the laughable way, that these jokes must come from pain and so are therefore painful. This happens a lot in my own writing: I think I’m putting down something that is cracking me up and when I read it to others or in publication the jokes get so buried in their context that people forget that laughter is even allowed. That is the best laughter, to me, the no laughter that is deleted laughter, because you are afraid. I see that all over your book, especially given the gift of you saying so: “Maggie is into Xtreme Love like Xtreme Sportz. Maggie needs to wear kneepads because of all the rugburns.” This happens too to the Von Trier and to Bataille (I find him hysterical, even when talking about fucking underage girls), and yet there is a remove there, maybe because the face is not in the house. It makes me wonder, then, about how a book is surrounded by the self, and in leaving the self takes on a wholly other air than if those words were somehow presented in the author, as it is in the author’s mind. This doesn’t happen very often, maybe with like people who remove so much context in presentation that you have to laugh, such as Harmony Korine, or Andy Kaufman, but I wonder how you see your author body in relation to this text? We’ve talked a bit before about bodies, and how gender functions and is or is not important, and especially in relation to this book I wonder if you are interested in talking about gender roles, the two females and then the (I assume) male Malachi, and how maybe that dissolved context of the body can be given back into a book once that book leaves the author. I’m not sure if this is a question, or how to proceed, but maybe talking about how you see the book as an object outside of you now, and that transfer of feeling in people taking things you meant one way another, especially in these roles, would be interesting to hear more about?
KZ: I love freaking people out, the discomfort, the stillborn silence, and I feel I have way more license or permission or freedom to do that in writing than in person (maybe gender has something to do with it in life I feel more of a pressure to be nice? to be polite? to be good? so perhaps my writing for me is an attempt to flee the tremulous glossed smile). I had a pretty strict childhood, Catholic school, must make A honor roll, no ink on the plaid skirts, must keep between the lines, I was an ulcerous highstrung child because of all this, and I knew nothing about music, because I was basically always under house arrest, but some people have said the book is kind of punk rock, and I think, yes, a certain strain of my writing can be a form of rebelling or like the body artists of the 80s sort of flinging body fluids as ink onto the readership. I am reading a book about Marina Abramovic and she had a very strict mother as well , maybe there’s something to that, a sort of rebellious push against the family I’m thinking of Artaud as well, always, Artaud. One of the reasons my blog is called Frances Farmer Is My Sister, Frances Farmer had an oppressive mother, who was always pushing her, daddy Hollywood was always pushing her, and then she just snapped, went feral. But yes writing kind of fulfills the gross-out girl stand-up comic in me, or the performance artist, the Lydia Lunch or Karen Finley (Finley who blurbed the book, I asked, trembling, she typed me something on her Blackberry, she is from the Chicago suburbs like me, maybe why I’ve always identified, although Evanston is a far distance from Mount Prospect in many ways). In my new text l I have been laboring and laboring on it, but then I’ll write a line that really grosses me out and sickens me—although never close enough to Dennis Cooper transgression or Karen Finley transgression or what you pull off in your work—and then I’m absolutely delighted. I love that line you highlighted “Xtreme Love like Xtreme Sportz.” I always crack up when I say it, but I kind of read it very slow and sternly…that is a total example of a line that I find funny but people feel freaked out and want to call a 1-800-Therapist for me, because of course I’m Maggie, which I’m not, not totally, I mean, I’ve never smoked crack, that’s one thing Maggie does that I haven’t, I won’t get into lists of other things, I mean, do we really need a compare and contrast? Although I think characters like Maggie or my new Monkey in my work I’m writing are kind of ids for me, like Janey Smith was Acker’s alter-ego—they’ll say obnoxious taboo things that I sometimes am too political or polite to say in real life, kind of the unrepressed me, also the former me that I’m making fun of. I haven’t read Bataille on teenage girls! I think Roman Polanski is really funny when talking about fucking teenage girls—that line quoted in Playboy—everyone wants to fuck teenage girls! It’s funny in that it’s totally sick. What I love about Bataille is how his theory his erotic/pornographic stuff sometimes reads like purply-prose Harlequins—I love he’s such a wanking fangirl when writing about Wuthering Heights in Writing and Destruction.
Okay. Back to your question I wonder if there is something gendered in readers automatically aligning me with the character of Maggie and thinking Mommy is my mother (she isn’t, I had a very different mother), the work is really more of a social biography than pure autobiography, I mean, Gustave was Emma, yes, but he wasn’t really, he didn’t have the burden, people didn’t say, “Gustave, did you really try to take poison as a desperate cry for help? Gustave, did you really toss your wedding bouquet into the fire? Gustave, it’s really a shame you didn’t keep up with those piano lessons.” O Fallen Angel isn’t autobiographical in the way Piano Teacher was autobiographical for Jelinek—oh man that’s the best mother-daughter relationship ever represented in literature, the sadomasochism of such love, that scene where Erika just climbs on top of her mother and starts making out with her, like wanting to hate fuck her mother, wanting to climb back into her womb….But anyway I use autobiography but in a very refracted way in my writing. I am interested in these toxic girls, but they’re often based as well on many girls/women I have known, roommates, past intimates, students I’ve observed casually etc. I think the other fallen angel, Malachi, is just as much me or more me as Maggie is, and I think that’s where gender comes in, yes at times from the inside of creating but from the outside of reading, maybe in how readers might approach a book written by a woman, as purely autobiographical, I mean, I relate probably even more now to Malachi’s feelings of impotent alienation, and wanting to unravel in the street, wanting to stand in a street corner and scream and scream and yet I am strangely muted because no one is listening, but I (mostly) rein in that aspect of myself in order to be seen as normal in society. Again a mirroring with Mrs. Dalloway, Woolf is way more Septimus Smith than Clarissa Dalloway, she was afraid of seeming mad she didn’t want people to think she was mad so she refracted her autobiography in this traumatized soldier. And is Malachi really mad? I am reading Artaud’s essay Van Gogh, the Man Suicided by Society, while alternately trying to write this: “And what is an authentic madmen? It is a man who preferred to become mad, in the socially accepted sense of the word, rather than forfeit a certain superior idea of human honor.” That is what Malachi is to me, and I identify more with that, the outcast, than with Maggie, also a victim of the DSM-IV, a Dora. So when I write characters I do channel them, it is frenzied for me, I become them, I live their lives while sitting at the desk, this has been dangerous for me in the past, I was doing all this research on film sirens who went mad or were seen as mad and institutionalized, actually when I wrote Malachi I was writing Gene Tierney as well, the actress who was in Laura, and there’s eerie parallels between the two pieces, but I sometimes become these characters in a way, Baudelaire writes, “I have cultivated my hysteria with jouissance and terror,” like Vivien Leigh who began to dissolve into madness after playing Lavinia in Titus Andronicus, the tongue and hands cut off, after playing Blanche she too began to troll around red light districts, Flaubert too was the hysteric, Fitzgerald, Eliot, Miller, Breton, they all were the hysterics but they projected that onto their lovely madwomen wives or mistresses who became their fictitious creations. And so a woman is seen as always close to the body from the outside, I must be Maggie, maybe I am Maggie, I am the madwoman, pathologized, I don’t just write a madwoman. So I am not always gendered I guess when I write, I am more of a body dissolving into other bodies, past the limits of my body, I do agree with Woolf that the best writing is in a way androgynous. A woman’s body that is given back to me aware and uncomfortable in the author photo, in all the publicness that goes into publishing, the reading of the work. A story I tell in the Semiotext(e) book that I haven’t finished yet is that I was teaching a public seminar on “Women Modernists and Madness,” I was all dewy and delirious on Djuna Barnes’ Nightwood and Jean Rhys, and I was teaching Good Morning, Midnight, and I had just taught Dalloway, which of course was all the old biddies and young trixies wanted to read, because they had heard of Woolf, you know, and read it at their sisters schools, and it was such a chore having to treat Rhys glorious Rhys like some gruel I have to force down their fucking gullets, and someone said of GMM, “I don’t know. I just feel like Ford Madox Ford put a pencil in her hand and said ‘Write. And I’ll just edit it a lot.’” And Blake I was murderous fucking murderous. These texts I carry around with me like under my skin, Good Morning, Midnight is way more of a part of me than O Fallen Angel, which felt like an accidental birth, especially this one text compared to the more precious stillborn babies for me that are not yet published, something I excreted at one time and now I have to carry around these shiny excretions in a box and shill them on the street corner, my baby-bodies, and I have to vomit out the words again and vomit out words in this interview and for fuck’s sake you are asking me so many questions! I have no idea why anything I’m saying is remotely interesting! I am being so vomitous! But I cannot help but vomit, vomit, vomit all the guts out. And everyone says to me “Congratulations” and I can’t help thinking of the lines from Hiromi Ito’s Killing Kanoko “Congratulations on your abortion.” Repeated ad infinitum. But I guess I do desire word-abortions book-babies that are stillborn monsters with three hairy heads. Although don’t know if I’ve managed ever to create such a book-baby. Maybe in the future. I think too this public thing is strange and alien to me an abduction-birth because I’ve taken only one creative writing class, ever, and it was a disaster. I wrote about a seedy living room den for girl-hookers who sat around and watched cartoons speechless while waiting to go out with clients and everyone in the class was kind of horrified with me, and were all shitty that it wasn’t realistic, and the ones who thought it was realistic wanted to stage some sort of Dr. Phil intervention with me, the ones who thought that the girl was me, which maybe she was, maybe she was, maybe she wasn’t, maybe she was, but it’s not a question some writers get.
BB: As a closer, would you tell us about your recently announced book based on your blog writing, and other projects in the pipeline or in your head browser? Powerhouse.
Malachi Ritscher Video
KZ: Four months ago I started my blog Frances Farmer Is My Sister randomly the day after my 32nd birthday, which was also New Year’s Eve , because I was now living in Ak-ron Ohio, because I was reading Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer for the first time in eons a book I read first when I was 21 out of school doing the midnight shift at a greasy spoon in love with a boy who was basically mute and we looked like twins and we would fuck and then eat burritos from Chipotle and he would snort coke off his Wilco CDs and we had a dog named Rex and I was certain I was going to have comely babies with him suppressing any other feeling of wanting anything else. And I remember being confused and horrified and compelled by all the sex stuff in Miller but years later I had dismissed Miller as a pig and now I was reading him and chasing it with Guyotat and chasing that with some Bataille, and felt like I needed to essay, I felt compelled to essay, to be all Montaigne, so I started writing the first in a series of way way too long essays over the next couple of weeks about the literature I was obsessed with, the artists and literary figures I was obsessed with, everything I was reading. And I had been working on a book for years called Mad Wife – a sort of fictional notebook about a woman writer who’s haunted by Jane Bowles, Zelda Fitzgerald, Vivienne Eliot, Sylvia Plath, who feels like she’s the reincarnation of them, like Anne Sexton thinking she’s the reincarnation of Edna St. Vincent Millay, also inspired by The Yellow Wallpaper and Gail Scott’s My Paris and Ingeborg Bachmann’s Malina, and so I begin to write about these women on the blog as well, in my mind sort of as process for Mad Wife, and I also began to write about my experiences publishing, my thoughts on trying to get published, and that’s when I began to articulate more of my aesthetics, that was in a way oppositional, I began to in this public forum try to negotiate my relationship with the French feminists, with also the American feminists, with the New Narrative writers, with Cixous’ La Genet, with Dodie Bellamy’s Barf Manifesto, I wrote a long essay on anorexic versus bulimic writing in contemporary poetics…And it all became sort of spurting forth and I was ecstastic about it, all I could think about was all of these long weird formless essays I could write on the blog. And Chris Kraus at Semiotext(e), who I had sent my novel Green Girl, my existentialist novel about make-up that’s very inspired by Two Serious Ladies and The Hour of the Star, who rejected it but blurbed O Fallen Angel, Chris contacted me about two months in and asked whether I wanted to turn some of the longer essays into a book for Semiotext(e)’s Active Agents series, the one that just published Eileen Myles’ Iceland and her Video Green, so exciting to me because I had just reread Aliens and Anorexia, and what Chris is doing in that book is so brave and raw and emotional and mindblowing. The timing was also kind of funny because at the same time I again got rejected from English Ph.D programs, the second year in a row, the feeling that I was an outsider to both creative writing and academia, and then, of course, sort of glorifying in that exile…So I have to write the book this summer. It’s not going to be bloggy. It’s going to be using some of the essays as raw material, extending them into other essays. I’m terrified. Some times I feel—yes! I get it ! I feel very empowered and sure of myself, and then other times I feel very cowed by not being an academic, by not using the correct language, mostly I babble, my mode of reading is masturbatory—did I already write that? The book is supposed to be a vulgar, angry, hopefully at times quite funny American version of Cixous’ Laugh of the Medusa. With my own posse of criminal or outlaw texts or figures, my feminist version of Miller’s Cunt Portraits. I don’t know. I have spoken too much about it. In that I feel funny putting that much weight on it but it’s a big deal to me, and I’m still about 59% sure I will fuck it up (note to self: interviews on HTML Giant should not be used as therapy).
Mr. Becker's Classroom Malachi Ritscher Blog Archive
My other stuff? When Chris approached me only two months ago I was working intensely on Mad Wife and Under the Shadow of My Roof, my incest text, another triptych. Shadow is a family romance/love triangle inspired by the Fritzl case. It’s a spatial as opposed to temporary triptych as in the daugher/mother stuff occur on the same page, a lot of it is about writing a family as a house, also a commentary on fascism, on priest abuse, on Abu Ghraib. There’s the Monkey-daughter, and it’s her notebook throughout most of the thing, Monkey disassociates often into all of these characters, often literary prostitutes, she imagines herself a Sadean libertine cum performance artist, and there’s also Mr. Von R and Mrs. Von R, the matriarch/patriarch. I think I’m a lot more humane to the hysterical mother figure in this work than in O Fallen Angel, I love her more, I read about 200 romance novels to prep for her character, and I have to say, reading those romance novels was the closest I have had to reaching ecstasy in so long. They’re like Valium. They’re amazing. What else? I still haven’t published Green Girl, the novel I worked on forever, or Book of Mutter, my hybrid long monstrous essay text dealing with my mother and also Marilyn Monroe, Henry Darger, the actress-director Barbara Loden, Frances Farmer, (where the title of the blog comes from, I’m big into naming writers as my mothers and sisters, stealing from Artaud, maybe because these writers/figures are a sort of family to me), others. So part of the work is trying to publish, trying to revise. Although at this point I have sent the works out everywhere, I think each have been rejected at least 60 times maybe more. I think Green Girl might have been rejected 100 times. There’s always other things in the pipeline, too many. Eventually taking time to rerewrite my monologues of film stars. A work called I Heart Andre Breton, about Claude Cahun, Nadja and Jacqueline Lamba. I want to figure out how to write plays. In Chicago where I’m from a group of writers I know want to start a theater company and we’ll all write plays and act, maybe put up a Thomas Bernhard play or a Jelinek play or a Sarah Kane play.
[You can pick up O Fallen Angel, now, at SPD. You’ll be glad you did. Also look for a collection of Kate’s essays forthcoming from Semiotext(e)’s Active Agents series next year. Chicagoans please check out the reading this Saturday at Quimby’s as noted above, also including readings with John Beer, Jeremy Davies, AD Jameson, Daniel Borzutzky, James Pate, and Megan Milks.]