Things I’ve Tried To Write About Tonight:
- the concept of home
- how I cried today
- a friend I am no longer friends with
- how everything changes for forever
- my stomach issues
- the act of taking a bath
- rural living
- women who are doing amazing things
I’m not having very much luck. I think today is one of those days where I could have cried for three hours or I could have written a decent blog post, but I already cried for three hours so now the blog post is sort of fucked.
The good news is that since I wasn’t able to come up with any of my own brilliant words, I’m now going to recommend you take the time you had set aside to read my blog and go read something else! Specifically, please read this essay by Claire Vaye Watkins, On Pandering.
Let us hear the stories we are telling ourselves about ourselves. Let us remember that we become the stories we tell. An illustration: I was talking with the writer Elissa Schappell about how much we are both anticipating Carrie Brownstein’s new book. I asked Elissa what she made of this new trend of memoirs by badass women: Carrie Brownstein, Kim Gordon, Sally Mann, Amy Poehler. Was this trend the result of Patti Smith winning the National Book Award five years ago? Was the trend indicative of a new wave of feminism? Elissa interrupted me. “You keep using that word,” she said. “Trend. It’s not a trend. We are here now. We’re not going anywhere. We are here now.”
Let us embrace a do-it-yourself canon, wherein we each make our own canon filled with what we love to read, what speaks to us and challenges us and opens us up, wherein we can each determine our artistic lineages for ourselves, with curiosity and vigor, rather than trying to shoehorn ourselves into a canon ready made and gifted us by some white fucks at Oxford.
(I will start us off by spending no more of my living breath apologizing for the fact that no, actually, even though I write about the American West, Cormac McCarthy is not a major influence of mine.)
Let us use our words and our gazes to make the invisible visible. Let us tell the truth.
Let us, each of us, write things that are uncategorizable, rather than something that panders to and condones and codifies those categories.
Let us burn this motherfucking system to the ground and build something better.
It’s totally fucking brilliant and I would say, confidently, that not since Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things To Me have I felt an essay to be so monumentally life-shifting. Every single person in the world should read this essay. You’re welcome.