The name for my new project that explores my brief time in Columbus, Ohio, THE YEAR OF VAGINAL THINKING is a bit misleading. For one, I actually spent two years in Columbus. For another, the definition of VAGINAL THINKING is both vague and ambivalent. Sitting down to figure out what VAGINAL THINKING entails, I come up with the personally contradictory notions of unbridled pleasure-seeking and wholesome centeredness Earth Mother Style. Maybe because both of these definitions of VAGINAL THINKING are perceived through male lenses of female archetypes, maybe this testifies to why exactly I’m not sure that my (two) year(s) of thinking in Columbus were VAGINAL.
What this really means is that I’m foraying into the autobiographical. What is the modus operandi for my female Tumblr peers, Internet writers and semi-celebrities (Kate Zambreno, KaraJ, Marie Calloway) is incredibly difficult for me. Maybe it’s because I’m yet-to-be Super Educated, Super Transgressive or Super Published and that’s why I don’t think anyone will be Super Interested in my tiny life, especially because it’s in a not-New-York city featuring not-celebrities. But it’s also because I’m closed off, and deep personal reflection happens on my on terms, quietly, and even those that know me best have to coax feelings out of me using sugar cubes like I am a skittish pony. (I am).
When we look back on 2012, I think we’re going to think of it as the Year of the White Girl. The TV shows GIRLS and GALLERY GIRLS, the rekindled obsession with Internet writers like Marie Calloway. These Girls-capital-G are not bad. They are interesting; their stories are interesting; they are talented. They also don’t need to be representational just because they are girls-lower-case-g and their aren’t a lot of girls-lower-case-g in popular media or literary discourse.
But let’s start here: I just finished reading Chris Kraus’s I LOVE DICK, the favorite tome of all the aforementioned writers on justifiable narcissism. I like that book; I think it’s important. It discusses a lot of important problems that female artists face—not only in representation, but in discourse and perception. What I DON’T like about this book is that it’s about a specific kind of woman (or person, for that matter) and that everyone else—townies in upstate New York, people not academically or artistically inclined, black people—are relegated to roles of HICKS or GHETTO. When a writer argues against the marginalization of one group of people then proceeds to marginalize other large swathes of human adults, doesn’t that maybe negate the argument yes maybe?
The problem with narcissisms, and I think narcissism pluralized is a really good way to encapsulate the various types of navel gazing—the self-hating, the self-reverential, the self-revolutionary—but the problems with narcissims at large is their narrowness. To paraphrase a part in I LOVE DICK, Kraus talks about why women may have a hard time writing fiction because they find that their own personalities are so fractured. Which, yes. But then she says something in a very 90s-personal-is-political fashion about making this female experience relateable so that aspects of that narcissism become unifying or empowering. Which, the Year of White Girl does not do, at least for me. Over here. Super broke and wrapping up my years of VAGINAL THINKING in Columbus, Ohio.
But on the other hand: In I LOVE DICK, Kraus says, “‘Dear Dick,’ I wrote in one of my many letters, ‘what happens between women now is the most interesting thing in the world because it’s the least described.’” And then she proceeds to write a lot about her interactions with men. What I think is great about Tumblr culture is that there is a lot of “most interesting” stuff happening among women and exclusively among women. What I don’t like is that it’s too exclusive to include me or a lot of other women I know.
And here is the point… I will be presenting my experiment in personal narrative at this Ear Eater in Columbus at the Roy G. Biv gallery. THE YEAR OF VAGINAL THINKING is oral storytelling and group narrative; an exploration of perspective framed by my arrival and departure in Columbus (and that’s where the narcissism comes in). Up until the reading I will be posting audio clips on this Tumblr that will become a large part of the piece. For the rest, I guess I’ll see you in Columbus, you fucking New York assholes.
This session of EAR EATER is a sweet grappling back into the EE archives, along with a performance/presentation by the Lit Mistress herself, (Cassandra Troyan), as to all the myriad reasons why one should invest in the vitality of the curated word.
#17 will take place in the beloved hometown of the poetry hostess; Columbus, Ohio at ROY G BIV gallery.
PLUS! Live words from Ryan J. Eilbeck, Natalie Shapero, and Tatyana Kagasmas.
Located in the Short North Arts District of Columbus OH for 20 years, ROY G BIV is the longest running gallery in the neighborhood. The gallery is located on the corner of Starr and High.
997 North High Street
Columbus Ohio 43201