I finished reading Citizen by Claudia Rankine, and I still have chills from the time I spent with this book. Perhaps most astonishing to me (though I will say that the essay on Serena Williams as black body truly shook me to my core)—among the many parts of this book, with its various forms and genres, a text of total multiplicity—is the idea that Citizen was written as a lesson. I think it becomes one in part because language is so accessible, as it speaks of racial discrimination in the white imagination with such transparency—horrifying instances of racism that the poet recalls, as Wordsworth said, “in tranquility.” In many ways, because language is laid out quite clearly on the page, you’re the reader held at point-blank: what will you make of this information, the necessary revelations that “expose what is really there,” as Marjorie Perloff praises at the back of the book: “a racism so guarded and carefully masked”?
Rankine writes, “[H]ow you feel is how you feel even if what you perceived isn’t tied to what is … / What is?” It’s a lesson that doesn’t know the answers, or perhaps it does yet it cannot fathom our questions about what we’ve been referring to all this time. And I’ll never forget how language held me here: “[O]f course, you want the days to add up to something more than you came in out of the sun and drank the potable water of your developed world—” when I wanted to understand how it’d end. Rankine devised a lesson that doesn’t transact, it only stands there, demanding you to take up and carry the weight which is both historical (the “historical self”) and personal (the “self self”)—there is no alternative route, after all. She said so in the very beginning. “Yes, and though watching tennis isn’t a cure for feeling, it is a clean displacement of effort, will, and disappointment.” Citizen is unforgettable.
I have gone back to writing, but how long will it take to finish anything again? (Will I finish anything ever again?) I just started on The Hour of the Star by Clarice Lispector. Perhaps an answer is somewhere here: “—to all those who reached the most alarmingly unsuspected regions within me, all those prophets of the present and who have foretold me to myself until in that instant I exploded into: I. This I that is all of you since I can’t stand being just me … I meditate wordlessly and upon the nothing. What trips up my life is writing. [emphasis added] And—and don’t forget that the structure of the atom cannot be seen but is nonetheless known. I know about lots of things I’ve never seen. And so do you. You can’t show proof of the truest thing of all, all you can do is believe. Weep and believe.”
My eldest brother is off to London this week, I’m hoping it’ll be my next travel destination, too.
Better recognition, more opportunities.
The body wash I’m currently using smells way too much like peach.
Something that falls between a cardigan and blanket.
The cappuccino in Craft—the stronger, more concentrated one—still tastes as good as when I had it almost everyday.
Still trying to figure things out. Still trying to be more forgiving of myself that I don’t know how.
- An interview with Maggie Nelson on KCRW’s Bookworm as she talks about her new book entitled The Argonauts
- My favorite YouTuber lately has been Ashley of makeupTIA, and hers is such a lovely and relaxed YT channel!
- This new Kate Spade planner—I think I really, really, really want a planner for 2016
- Darling Magazine, and all the ways I can get a copy of their latest issue
- I also think I’ve been spending too much time on LinkedIn