a brief update

so i guess the world fell apart, huh

things have been very very bad here, actually. i am actually incredibly depressed and lonely and the thought of doing anything or being anything is just – hard. it’s so hard. i was getting to the point of being okay and then All Of This happened, and now i just am not doing well. even the hobbies i have, i get halfway through and just – why bother? why try? everything is just bad forever? which is not the right way to think about it, but – everything just seems so pitifully useless.

anyway. i hope you’re all doing better than i am.

books: “trick mirror” by jia tolentino, “nine perfect strangers” by liane moriarty, “ghost wall” by sarah moss

trick mirror

ugh jia tolentino is such a good writer tbh, when i got my new yorker subscription the first thing i did was read her entire backlog in like two nights. i’ve been following her work since jezebel and it’s really exciting tbh!

anyway i really enjoyed this book of essays, and i liked how much ambiguity is in it, including tolentino’s own pov — it’s interesting to see someone write about internet feminism and her mixed feelings about it from someone who is an internet feminist and who acknowledges that she’s doing in many ways the same thing she’s criticizing.

i think my favorite bit was the part talking about the current spate of celebrity feminism, where difficulty in women becomes laudable in and of itself, and how much that refracts and warps feminism to suit the aims of the speaker. it’s something i struggle with a lot, actually! i have seen some very talented writers who i mostly like and want to agree with like — i’ve seen a straight-up defense of monstrous mothers and how it’s feminism, actually, to not love your children, and how unfair criticism of abusive mothers is since motherhood is a trap, and i cannot overstate how much it fucks me up to see that and how much it hurts to have my own abuse dismissed as not, like, REAL problems because a REAL feminist would Understand.

anyway: good.

nine perfect strangers

this was — fine, i guess. i thought the central conflict would be something less utterly, cataclysmically stupid, and — maybe i’m still startled from the whole sarah dessen thing, but i’m super unimpressed with the really meanspirited “and the DUMB WOMAN who called me UNFEMINIST loses ALL HER MONEY AND DIES ALONE” thing

ghost wall

i really liked this; captures that abuse “god stop antagonizing them” feeling admirably. i — am not Arty and wish there were quotation marks anywhere, but i still really liked this a lot.

book reviews: the witness wore red, the ballad of black tom, transcription, lot, provenance, the raven tower, wilder girls

long time no write, blog. things have been weird and difficult recently and updating this has seemed literally insurmountably hard, but i also didn’t stop reading in that time, so we’ve got a backlog — reviews under the cut.

Continue reading “book reviews: the witness wore red, the ballad of black tom, transcription, lot, provenance, the raven tower, wilder girls”

book review: “her body and other parties” by carmen maria machado, “the memory police” by yoko ogawa, and “the white book” by han kang

things are really hard right now. more details when i feel up to it, but in the mean time: here are three excellent books i read.

“her body and other parties” is a series of short stories. many of them are horror, and also many of them made me laugh. the weakest i think was the one about law and order (the tv show), mostly because i know very little about law and order and have never been particularly moved to see it. otherwise, a lot of genuinely creepy and fucked up shit, with — i guess it makes sense, considering machado has a wife, queer* characters as ordinary and unremarkable.

i tore through “the memory police” in like two sittings. the plot is about an island where things are disappearing; most of the citizens forget the objects that have disappeared, but some people don’t. the main character forgets, and she and an old man collude to hide someone who remembers. this may not sound like a compliment but is: the book felt like it was feeling out the edges of something very large and difficult while being really satisfying in and of itself. i enjoyed this immensely.

“the white book” is by han kang. i — don’t think i disliked “the vegetarian” for entirely fair reasons; i’d been pitched a very, very different book than i got. this one i went into with way fewer expectations and — again, this isn’t going to sound like a compliment but totally is; i felt physically cold during this book. it’s about the narrator’s older sister, who was born prematurely and died soon after birth; the whole thing is the imagined perspective of the older sister, set during winter.

* re queer: i am still working on my feelings on this tbh. this was a go-to slur for close family members; honestly that fucked me up less than the endless #discourse about — yes, it is fucked up to tell someone else they can’t identify as queer, but also the amount of “how dare you imply calling people ‘queer’ as an umbrella term is not always great, only terfs have a problem with queer, it’s not a slur and also simultaneously it’s Powerful” (i am 0% exaggerating; i have had people imply heavily i must be misremembering or bad at reading or something. i am not.) is honestly the thing that made me really reluctant to use it for a long, LONG time — nothing like being told explicitly my life experiences are wrong to make me thoroughly uncomfortable, you know? ambiguity is one thing; the absolutely ott insane lashing out towards those of us who have absolutely experienced it as a slur fucking sucked. i don’t really know how i feel about it still, but actively avoiding (i.e., blocking lol) the Extremely Online who refuse to believe anybody would ever call someone “a fucking queer” has made me a lot more receptive to it.

i’m also coming up recently against certain limits of language and getting frustrated with it; i could really use some ambiguous or hidden or obscured language right now. “queer” seems to be the — i guess least not what i don’t want? i don’t know.

…anyway that’s sort of a whole weird backdoor into some of the Unfun Shit that’s been going on, so, you know.

food stuff: stuff with food

(tw disordered eating, food talk)

i went off brain meds, which has been a really weird and confusing trip; a big thing is that i don’t… quite know what my appetite is doing, actually.

i accidentally tripped a food tripwire i didn’t know i had and started restricting really weirdly, so i’ve been trying ~intuitive eating~ and trying really really hard not to worry about exact numbers. somewhere between maybe T levels chilling out a little and possibly the brain medz and maybe exercise or what i’ve been eating? means that my usual level of appetite has lessened in a weird way — i still get hungry all the time, but i get full much more quickly, and i’m still adjusting.

honestly, eating is a huge pain in the ass. being able to just subside off of nutrient slurries would be ideal, but also super wouldn’t be, so — guess i’ll eat as best i can and hope for the best 8′)

the thing is — i am fundamentally too fucked in the head to have the sort of relationship i would like to have? i’m afraid of people, i want to have sex with someone but the thought of actually doing it is terrifying (not least of all bc — not only do i have non-standard meat, i also actively don’t want to use it in certain ways that are pretty universally understood to be typical, and like — so far i’ve had one relationship with someone who didn’t, like, rape me or anything lol but sure didn’t take me seriously when i said not to touch me certain ways, and another where the person would have taken me seriously except i was literally incapable of depriving them of use of my body however they saw fit bc I Can’t want things like that and just kind of dealt with feeling bad), i literally can’t trust myself to not be a stupid idiot, and on top of that i’m too much of a fucking coward to just — do it

honestly if i want this so bad, i should get just get drunk and let someone fuck my body until i get over myself lol, at least then i’d have experience; who’s going to want some fucking ugly freakshow with a bad personality AND absolutely 0 understanding of how to fuck? and if i can’t do that i should at least have the good sense to stop fucking wanting it, or at least stop talking about it in public, because literally nobody wants to hear endless whining when you’re not gonna change and never gonna change!!!!!

for your reading pain

here are two things i read recently that gave me an emotion; you may also feel an emotion as well.

motherless by choice“, by katie naum

There is no easy way to say, “I’m estranged from my mother.” It’s even harder to say, “I’ve cut my mother out of my life,” clarifying that you are the one who has severed the bond. Say it to anyone, friend or stranger, and a certain light you hadn’t even noticed fades from their eyes, every time. Smiles falter or grow forced. Mothers give so much to their children that a justification for estrangement must be staggering: some monstrous abuse that outweighs all the love and self-sacrifice inherent in parenting. Only someone selfish and heartless could cut off a mother who loved them — right?

strike with the band“, by kate wagner

One day, around the beginning of my junior year of college, it occurred to me that I wasn’t going to make it. I had already developed carpal tunnel and tendonitis from years of improper violin technique taught to me by my rural music teachers. I was out of money to go to festivals, and I had no way of making lasting, important connections in a field where who you know matters more than anything else. I had no serious job prospects, nor any hope for job prospects. At work one night, the falseness of the “work hard and you will succeed” ethic washed over me: the truth was the music world was a two-tiered system, and I was in the second chair. Hungover, in the comfort of a dark recording booth, I began to cry. Few things are as life altering as realizing your preferred life is unalterably a fucked impossibility.

a minor post surgery note

i had some bonus bleeding on the right side of my chest and there is a hard little lump of tissue there and it’s going to be there for a while

and every now and again i’ll lean up against something and it’ll stick me in the hard lump and i will not really notice until i straighten up again; it is IMMENSELY weird feeling!

(the scars themselves also have some mass and i still have some numb spots otherwise, but this is a whole section where the pressure and texture of my body is still foreign and weird feeling and: it’s SO weird. it’s so weird!!! bodies are so weird!!!)

weird shit i bought in the hopes it would make me feel better while looking for a job:

  • extremely minimalist running shoes (fix your form, fix your ENTIRE life)
  • tickets to japan for new year’s (if i don’t get a job i might as well be sad in japan, right?)
  • cat toys (a big hit)
  • cat harness (a complete and utter failure that nubs didn‘t forgive me for for like 48 hours)
  • so much takeout (too exhausted after talking to 3/4/5 complete strangers, some on the phone, a day to cook)
  • tatcha facewash (it’s fucking good)