Tuesday, November 24, 2015

'Might Boredom Be My Form of Hysteria?'

It seems correct I think that having not logged into Blogger for something like 2 years I have either forgotten how to use it or the medium itself has forgotten how to be used - it seems only right to attempt to write in such an ephemeral and outmoded form, since that is the only thing that holds my interest nowadays - is it a failure, is it going to drift away, has it gotten so small to be on the verge of disappearance... To blog is seemingly not at ALL like riding a bike - I have completely forgotten how this works. This sense of the private in public. I have forgotten what it's like to have readers. Have I been asleep for two years? Have I written anything? How am I somehow still here?


I think I have clung so much to Bartleby lately because it is a story of antagonism to professionalism and New York, it is the New York no, the refusal of concepts of success and industriousness, of participating. And that Bartleby refuses to tell anything about himself, which is a desire of mine, (the dream to write a book about nothing, as Sofia writes me). And that Melville, I read online, wrote it after the failure of his most recent book, its dismissal in the press, and so I like to think of it as a portrait of a failed writer as well. Last week there was the big reading of Melville's Moby Dick at the Whitney, I was asked once to do it when I moved here, and I said no, because I said, I have never read the book, which I'd like to, perhaps when I retire soon to a farmhouse in Massachusetts, since moving here I am asked often to do events, of some character or another, usually interviewing authors, usually involving my gender and its various discontents, and my strategy is usually to say no to everything, and then occasionally, say yes, and for the ones I say yes to I dread and drag my feet and usually cancel at the last minute, but sometimes show up and am quite competent and professional, although sometimes like Barthes bored and paralyzed at the panel, while the next day I wilt all day to attempt to restore any semblance of my self. Luckily since I say no to everything I'm usually not asked to do much anymore, even though I live in Brooklyn I've never been asked to do the festival, here, I found myself complaining to Sheila about this this summer and she responded, quite rightly, that if I was asked I would say no, and would be irritated. But as I was waiting for my daily identical bagel order at the cafe just now, jittery from a morning of too much coffee and a surprising burst of writing, I mused to myself that there should be some sort of alternate public reading of Melville's shorter, other work, only nobodies should be asked to do it, it will be sponsored by no one, everyone will cancel at the last minute or not show up because of nerves, we will not be able to locate a space except at the back of a bookstore that doesn't carry our books, we will all refuse to read or somehow sabotage the performance, there will be no one in the audience.  Really, since no one will read, and no one will attend, it's best, really, at this point and time, to just indefinitely cancel it.


I love how outmoded the blog has become, how nostalgic and quixotic this meandering long-form. I like that this is so long that no one will read it. The same conversation where John asked me if I had read Bartleby, I told him my favorite discovery of yesterday, was writing the word "digressions," and thinking instead "depressions," and I wonder how that would look as a form - a "depression," a kind of digression, sinking deeper and deeper, would I have found then, the ultimate melancholy form.

- I am the Daughter of Winfried Georg Sebald