Friday, February 16, 2007

mat[t]ers in writing

Wars. Threesomes.
Drafts. & Mothers

Heriberto Yépez (Factory School)

There is a topos here of gender and genre whose every turn is self-aware, determined and overdetermined. You arrive somewhere and find the writer is already there looking back at you. It is a familiar feeling but this is a new version of that. He comments and you move on but something else is happening here. This self-awareness seems to work through a kind of narcissism where there is no self left to reflect. It is as if only the characters can write.

“Did I write too much? Did I lose interest in life because I basically live inside texts? And did I fabricate stories about alcoholism, drugs, sex, threesomes, to have something else in life? Something other than texts? Was it the money I stopped earning once I decided to become a full-time writer? Was it something else? But I don’t see anything else, except matters in writing. You do the deciding. Decide what kind of character this guy is. You decide.

You decide the story of my life.”

So there are mothers, lovers, brothers and others. They occupy rooms, blocks, cars, streets, sheets, countries, motherlands, borderlands, frontiers. There is a lot of location, a lot of identity. In and among the identities is a sense of blame and hatred both of self and other, anger and indifference and something like love, a lot of that.

“And in the happiness of the three of us we would discover the music coming out of the wood.”

There is physicality, much of it feminine. (Femality?) There is sex. Current and in retrospect. Historical sex. Not all of it consensual, not all of it political but often both.

There is a fun writing exercise involving periods. “You bleed it.”

The book is satisfying. You read it and you want to read it again right away. It is self-explanatory and self-annihilating. It seems plain and frontal and yet with a quality of hiddenness. There is something like confession but then, again, it turns back on itself. Borges is evoked, Stein, Don Delillo, Celan, Michael Palmer, Pessoa, Freud and Derrida. There are scholars.

There are many first names of women but Stein is the only last name I could find. (Can that be right?)

It is a novel. A poem. A fiction or memoir. There are dialogs and broken lines and words. The words stop the continuity and then lead it on. The technique is familiar and well done, new and old. The form is not in love with itself but in love with its problems – being at more than one place at the same time, having an innocent cynicism, an idealistic fatalism. Hope.

Things are asserted and then brought into question. The answers are applicable and well-founded but they are not solutions.

“No event can come back. That’s a final border, the only true border that exists. He is looking for it. He finds the event horizon in the girl’s eyes. I think he’s a romantic. I think he’s wrong…”

If your Spanish is a bad as mine you can’t believe your good luck in this being in English. There is Spanish and English. A passage by Reinaldo Arenas is presented in Spanish and then English. The word mother becomes the word padre. So you think about it. Lines from Celan appear in German and then in Spanish:

“Deiner Mutter Seele schwebt voraus.”

“El alma de tu madre va flotando delante.”

The language is its own story. The story goes on. It makes you think of everything. The movement is both narrative and word-to-word. It works. It is about.

“about writing as discovery, light anew, a new yes to life, yes again and again, yes anew, yes of me and you.”

“And about months.
And about fertility.
And about opening up.
And about middles.
And about vaginas.

You go along with it and your soul floats ahead.

Laura Moriarty

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Reading a recent article somewhere on craft it occurred to me that

there is no A Tonalist line.

Working in an environment in which you are (I am) surrounded by books is good because you don’t have to buy them to feel you are in relation to them. They hover in their infinite possibility. But sometimes you do buy them.

Books I have recently bought:

Incubation: A Space For Monsters by Bhanu Kapil. An SPD staff member missed his stop on the bus when he became engrossed in this book. It was my staff pick at the last Open House and I think on-line. (More about this.)

Wars. Threesomes. Drafts. & Mothers by Heriberto Yepez. Haven’t read it yet but it looks great.

“Now I am here. In the future of color.” Bhanu Kapil

There is no.

I have been blogging a lot at another location called Ultravioleta Documents. The docs are mostly written by the characters of Ultravioleta and are a sort of notebook toward the sequel. (UV itself is waiting for its second printing.) UV Docs includes letters, shopping lists, poems, news items and other detritus along with Ultravioletan visuals gleaned from anywhere. Also recently Alan Halsey has graciously supplied images with which the characters are now collaborating.

I am reading for the Belladonna series in New York on February 13 with Deborah Meadows who has a new book involutia.

“So risking confusion, we must.” Deborah Meadows

Laura Moriarty