I wanted the characters to be willing to casually say “fuck” and “omg” on the page of a book not to get a rise but because this is how we really speak. I wanted to read about academics doing something else (having affairs, writing dirty emails, browsing YouTube) to avoid doing the work they’re supposed to be doing. Like so many of us do. Like you might be doing now.
I was really energized and wowed by Emily Gould and Ruth Curry’s curation of their ebook venture Emily Books– my favorite types of novels, the ones that cannot be categorized, a curious blend of fiction and nonfiction — like the bonkers and amazing Making Scenes by the pseudonymous Adrienne Eisen; also I’m Trying to Reach You, Barbara Browning’s multimedia noirish conspiracy set in the world of performance theory published by the always amazing Two Dollar Radio; and Tamara Faith Berger’s brilliant and philosophical erotic novel, Maidenhead, put out by Toronto’s Coach House. Emily Books also featured my good friend Suzanne Scanlon’s Promising Young Women, published by Danielle Dutton’s exciting Dorothy Project, a series of fragmented, poetic portraits of girls in a psych ward, pieces marked by Suzanne’s really gorgeous, wry, erudite voice.
I have a lot of empathy for stalkers. We all tend to use the term with irony now, because it’s become so easy to access information about people, or even contact them, we all do it more than we used to. It can be creepy of course, but can also indicate a kind of care.
The Internet works like the subconscious - I’m sure somebody’s said that already, it’s so obvious, I just can’t think who it would have been. The point is, this is how dreamwork works: you wake up and think, “Why the hell did I dream that my 2nd grade teacher was masturbating my dental hygienist?” If you were in analysis, you’d probably be able to figure it out if you really wanted to, just like you could probably eventually figure out why YouTube thinks some SpongeBob SquarePants video is related to Natalya Makarova dancing the dying swan. I do like to understand some of the connections, and for others to remain mysterious. This is how I feel about my subconscious as well. And I never really find it a waste of time. If you think about it, you always find something out. Gray seems to be wasting a lot of time, but in his quiet way, he’s figuring out how to deal with the fact that the people we love die. I really don’t think that’s a waste of time. Also, for the record, I really don’t think looking at art (MJ, Pina, Merce) over and over and over, trying to understand what it’s trying to tell you, is a waste of time. I think it may be the most meaningful thing we do. I tell my graduate students this all the time. Don’t let anybody make you feel bad about this.
looking at art over and over = don’t let anybody make you feel bad
watching a cat video over and over = well, it depends