Saturday, January 31, 2009

Work Progress Report

Hour three of transcription. Close to the end, I think. I'm at:

Can you talk more about “being in the sublime?"

...

Sometimes I feel guilty for liking more men writers than women writers, as if I am betraying my gender. It reminds me of grade school, when I wanted to play soccer with the boys at recess, but I was always getting picked last for the team, probably not because I was a girl, but because I was no good at soccer. Still, it hurt to be left standing there with the chubby boy, the other one no one wanted. So I tried street hockey. Again, no good. Then, in fourth grade, we got to choose an instrument and I chose the double bass because it was bigger than I was, and when I carried it around, adults would kind of smile at me, like, oh look at the skinny girl with asthma, she's about to be crushed, but I was first chair in orchestra and that felt good. I guess what I admire in writing is a kind of masculine energy. I don't like writing by women about victimhood and fragility, and even as I'm writing this, I'm sure there's a lot of that in my own poems, but I like to think I counter it with enough vengeance and ferocity. This is all to say I love Dorothea Lasky, who happens to be a woman, whose poems are like teratorns and not nightingales, unless the nightingales are in the jaw of a teratorn, think about that for a sec.

...

K: Can I tell you something? Did you know my teacher says a man can get married to a man?

Me: That's true.

H: BUT THEN THEY CAN'T HAVE BABIES

Me: You're right, men can't have babies.

K: And did you know a woman can get married to another woman?

H: ONLY WOMEN CAN HAVE BABIES

3 comments:

Tortilla ex Machina said...

Have you tried Middlemarch?

Leigh Stein said...

I have not. Maybe I should? I like how you asked if I "tried" it, instead of "read" it, like it's some exotic food.

Tortilla ex Machina said...

I guess that was a slip. Although I do think that it seems like something I had to 'try' at first rather than read. The whole metabolism is slower in novels from that period (as you know) and it kind of takes an adjustment. And I would imagine that it might be hard to read when you live in NYC, with the world buzzing so loudly outside, asking you to do other things. Then again, it might be just the thing.

I do think that it's one of the most beautiful books ever written. And with some extraordinary female characters and modern aspects and insights of relationships that I can think of, as well as rolling boil dramatic tension & a wonderful understanding of love. Sometimes the oldies surprise me like that – like Tolstoy's KREUTZER SONATA (this was written.. WHEN?...yesterday?) or Dickens' HARD TIMES. It's almost jarring.

That being said, I should mention that I know almost nothing about modern literature. So maybe modern isn't modern at all. I am a modern dunce, or could be.

NO matter–please do try MIDDLEMARCH. Or read it, either way. It's wonderful. And don't worry about the provincial English politics parts – you can breeze through that stuff and it won't really matter and it's not really much.

And good luck with your novel – I am looking forward to reading it.

Ricky