this weekend, in addition to presenting at the Queer Studies Conference, i went to a book release party for Eileen Myles’ The Importance of Being Iceland, and Maggie Nelson’s Bluets. They gave a short reading, which was really a thrill; everyone packed into this concrete and plaster gallery listening to the new work, swigging their beers between heartfelt “mmm”‘s and delighted laughter.
Though I haven’t read these books in their entirety (i keep my fingers crossed that the time when i am able to afford to buy books is fast approaching), I feel close to them; Bluets because Maggie was my mentor at Calarts, and Iceland because I worked on sections of the text with Semiotext(e) Press.
the conference was also a treat! i got to see some old friends, attend a few engaging presentations, and give my own paper.
i have struggled with balancing my scholarly practice with my creative practice. it seems that whenever i prepare and give a conference talk, this struggle is brought to the fore. since focusing on primarily creative work for the last two years at Calarts, i have found it difficult to go back to my reading and writing practice as an academic. when i was working on my MA, however, i always believed critical and creative writing/thinking were not all that different.
but i think i was wrong.
in creative work, i am guided more by metaphorical connections and linguistic turns to shape my writing. i ask myself, “what does this PIECE want?” whereas when i work on a critical piece i ask, “what do I want to say?” if my creative work makes an argument, it is a consequence, not a purpose. if my critical work tells a story, it is because i forced it into the argument, not because it is inherent to the thesis.
practice, practice, practice. that’s what i’m told it will take to write hybrid work. i want to hover between all these different discourses, swing back and forth, visit one for a while and then slither back to my other home base.
i hope that the presentation i gave at the conference works with and between my various literary allegiances. see forthcoming post for the paper.
furthermore, i have a firm aversion to overly jargon-y academicized language. while i can appreciate the desire and need for inventing new words to accommodate new meaning and ideas, and while i know the importance of using precise and specific language, it seems to me that the use of highly condensed language to communicate large ideas in this context is rather counter-productive because rather than ideas being communicated in an exact and precise manner, meaning is obscured and sometimes lost. Especially in an aural presentation, i don’t care how fluent one is in the language of critical discourse, how can one possibly follow a theoretical line of inquiry/argument without the luxury of being able to re-read the same sentence five times in a row?