I’ve been writing for the past few hours in one of those rare, uninhibited spurts where something inside of me shuts off and so the actual writing process is uninterrupted by “oh jesus that’s awful.” It’s something else. [The kind of fish that have to hop out of the water to fuck.] Lately I have to draw for 10 minutes before any words come. Which means that maybe this narrative sequence I’m working on will become a comic book poem. Maybe I’ll put in all those collages and pen sketches I’ve been doing in between the poems or maybe I’ll break all the lines, push them into everything else. I’ve had a hard time imagining words without images, and vice verse, lately everything I make comes out like a mash.
A really distinct memory just came back to me. Something I haven’t thought about for over 5 years but now that I’m reconnected to it, it seems odd that I would ever have forgotten it. It’s the cover of this book about 1960s Japanese theater posters. Deep blue and drippy technicolor. Psychedelic bodies. What was the title? (Angura, apparently. Thank you google). I was obsessed with it in high school–but how did I discover it? In the memory, I’ve found it in my high school library–in the section about Asian art, maybe? It seems so improbable that my very conservative high school would have this sort of book, but for whatever reason, I can almost see myself paging through it in a very specific row of the library. Cross-legged on the grey carpet. When did I start to realize that posters–that enticing mix of text and printed color–could be “real” art? If the book wasn’t in the library, where was it, how did I find it.
1. Have the song “Roving Woman” (Connie Converse) stuck in my head. There’s something vaguely summery about the song — maybe it’s because I imagine the “roving woman” to be Corinne Corinna. Corinne, Corinna taking off on a too-bright-afternoon, her truck bristling down a weedy road. (Grass, goldenrod, cornflower). “Poker is a game/ladies shouldn’t play,” Corinna drinks and roams, doesn’t do as “she is told to do.”
But it’s actually winter — the streets in Ile-de-France are lightly marked with snow and small bits of ice — and I want to listen to music that makes me feel dry.
2. Last week I watched Double Indemnity for the first time with Elliot. We had hot toddies with clementines & left one shutter open to a very grey and blue Paris. As I got drunker, I got more and more obsessed with Barbara Stanwyck’s sweaters and all the undergarments that must have sculpted her into that perfect pin-up shape. That, and the fact that the main male protagonist, Walter, basically kills a man because of her feet in a pair of frilly anklets & kitten heels turned him on.
As a side note: in my head, the sweater in this still is angora & of course that thought is totally unfounded since old films are usually too blurry to pick up nuances of textures. I think I just want to write “angora sweater” // I think I am attracted to the idea of women in angora sweaters.
3. #605 Emily Dickinson
Experimenting with recording my own voice//experimenting (not entirely sucessfully) with Dickinson’s dashes.
So I’ve been maintaining a private tumblr blog for about 2 months and I’ve decided to just start publicly blogging there. Mostly because the layouts on tumblr are prettier than the ones on wordpress:
Disco is such an absurd musical genre that it seems to be the most appropriate recourse from all the bureaucratic bullshit I have to attend to in the next few weeks. I will be shocked if I make it through to the end of May without breaking down and buying a long wavy haired wig and a hot pink sequined jumpsuit. I am also considering leopard print fuck-me pumps. Or maybe zebra print, what do you think?
It all made sense when I got my period this morning.
Side-note: Why do we use verbs like get, have, avoir (in French) for our periods (règles, in French, always plural & it literally means “rules”)? I don’t think you can really “have” “a period” because a “period” is something that is being shed, a lining that is discarded. It is a process in motion (blood coming out the vagina & running down legs) not a static object you possess.
I mostly love this. Do you want to talk about it? And speaking of Arielle Greenerg, do you want to talk about the gurlesque?
a pocketbook: a purse of tubes: (rose cream)
in the stand of thin air: (omelets/pockets
of coyotes) grinning accountants write:
Katie Yates Katie Yates your sweet new book:
design for dreaming (the gold change of girls):
Katie Yates: a register of mountains:
what sends the angels driven into snow?:
is it grease for Katie?: a bottle of:
spray: of non-stick for Yates? giver her your card:
Katie Yates (caveshow), book girl, contact me
“As long as one has some sense that each thing knows its place
All is well, but with the arrival and departure
Of each new one overlapping so intensely in the semi-darkness
It’s a bit mad. Too bad, I mean, that getting to know each just for a fleeting second
Must be replaced by imperfect knowledge of the featureless whole,”
-”Grand Galop” John Ashbery
Did you know that, in French, there are 2 precise terms for “owl”? “Chouette” refers to owls without those little ear crests whereas “hibou” refers to owls with little ear crests. [It's surprising that I was unfamiliar with this distinction until recently.] For example, the majority of the birds in this illustration are “chouettes” save for the 4 at the bottom and maybe one near the upper right hand corner. Those ones are “hiboux.” All of them are “owls.”
Speaking of owls: instead of drawing one today (which is what I typically do when I freak out), I called Pam-Mom on skype and cut my hair while she cheered me on (“CUT THERE” “YOU’RE BEING TOO CONSERVATIVE” “DON’T STOP” etc. etc.). This is why, one day, I will get “Pam-Mom” tattooed in fancy cursive letters.
Someday soon, I will return to writing blog posts about poems and art that I like. I might also scan the X-ray of my lungs the French government gave me as well as some drawings in my journal.
But right now, we need to talk about hair. I’ve been going through my biannual hair crisis, which is almost always linked to my sometimes-more-than-biannual gender troubles.
To preface: I absolutely want to emphasize that I get a very real, deep pleasure from the theatricality of excessive, exaggerated femininity–hence my longstanding appreciation of silent film stars and drag queens. The rituals (putting on make-up, pulling my tights as taut as I can, coordinating fabrics, etc.) associated with this sort of gender expression are incredibly important to me. I love these rituals not because they let me parody oppressive gender roles–for me, identifying as femme has little to nothing to do with satire–but because on a very basic, practical level, I get a sort of hedonistic delight in so deliberately and consciously constructing myself. Am I silly if I get a rush from pretty old dresses and bright red lipstick? Maybe I am. But more often than not, going through the motions of these rituals lets me reclaim femininity as a conscious choice and helps me redefine my body as a space of personal pleasure. To illustrate this more clearly: when I still had severe problems with anorexia and bulimia, dressing up was sometimes the only way I could feel comfortable in my body. It was a kind of retreat from the ravages I was putting myself through.
Put simply, I started doing this for myself because I loved how playful and creative it made me feel. I still do it because it continues to make me happy. I think there’s something subversive about that.
The problem is that sometimes being hyper feminine makes me feel like shit. Some days it just doesn’t give me the same kind of thrills it gives me on other days. I can’t really explain why, but I know I’ve always been like this. As a child, I alternated between phases where I loved wearing fairy tutus and frilly communion dresses and phases where I just wanted to wear dungarees. I grew up watching Shakespeare plays and always, always loved Rosalind because she seemed so effortlessly herself as both Rosalind and Ganymede. I know that all this sounds so reductive and essentialist, but that is honestly what my experience of childhood was like and no amount of enlightened gender consciousness can change what I was when I was younger.
I don’t know what any of this means anymore. I’ve been reliving a lot of old, painful memories and everything just makes me even more confused. I don’t know what the fuck I am or what I should do about these different impulses.
A week or so ago, a man who works at the quick stop next to my apartment very insistently followed me from the métro to said quick stop, begging me for my phone number. I had a pile of glitter in my hair and he told me that I was pretty. I feigned a more exaggerated American accent and pretended I didn’t understand him. The next day I was supposed to go meet some friends but was feeling too crazy to socialize. I kept fantasizing about cutting all my hair off, cutting it short like Annie Lennox or Jean Seberg. I imagined what this sort of haircut might look like with my dresses and I imagined what it might look like with more masculine ensembles I don’t own. All of the images in my head were so gratifying that I was very close to getting a scissors and doing it myself.
This is way longer than I expected it to be, so I guess I should get to the point, which is, should I cut off my hair? A part of me feels conflicted and guilty about all of this & I really don’t understand why that is. Maybe I should wait to cut it off until I understand what is going on with me? I’m very, very, very attached to my curls and I think it’s because they let me play up different kinds of femininity that I truly love and enjoy. But a part of me also wonders what it might be like if they were gone, just for a little while.
If I were to cut it off, I think I’d end up cutting it a bit like this:
Would that look weird with curly hair? I have no idea. Which is why I am asking for a little bit of input. I apologize in advance for being so melodramatic. I know it’s just a haircut, that hair can grow back, that I don’t have to fix myself to anything. I know, I know, I know, but I can’t help being neurotic about this.