The wounded woman gets called a stereotype, and sometimes she is. But sometimes she’s just true. I think the possibility of fetishizing pain is no reason to stop representing it.
But what if some of us want to take our scars seriously? Maybe some of us haven’t gotten the highbrow-girl memo—haven’t gotten the text message from our boyfriends—about what counts as bathos. One man’s joke is another girl’s diary entry. One woman’s heartbreak is another woman’s essay. Maybe this bleeding ad nauseum is mass-produced and sounds ridiculous—Plug it up! Plug it up!—but maybe its business isn’t done. Woman is a pain that never goes away.
Sleep is invisible and inconsistent. Aping death, sleep in fact prevents it; at the very least, sleep deprivation leads to premature demise (and before that, failures in mood, metabolism, cognitive function). All animals sleep, and it makes sense for none of them, evolutionarily, since it leaves the sleeper defenseless to predation. Sleep is common, public, a vulnerability we all share—even as sleep also brackets the sleeper in the most impenetrable of privacies. Nothing, everyone knows, is harder to communicate than one’s dream.
Last week, we discussed how Teju Cole has mastered literary Twitter, and that was before we knew that he tweeted a 4,000-word essay on immigration. “A Piece of the Wall” is composed of 250 tweets written during a seven-hour period and starts with: “I hear the sound of faint bells in the distance. It is like a sound in a dream, or the jingling at the beginning of a Christmas song.”
I’ve thought about writing her. But what would I say? I’m Jennifer Berman, too?
Quirky best friends never go on jogs. They just talk and talk and talk, quickly and in different voices, until an indulgent eye-roll from the protagonist sends them on their way. On the transcriber’s shitlist, they rank somewhere between one of Aaron Sorkin’s voluble policy wonks and a Cockney street urchin in a British police procedural.
"There are so many cool things going on in Spokane now that I have this overwhelming urge to attend a tractor pull.” Jess Walter has written an addendum to his essay “Statistical Abstract for My Home of Spokane, Washington.”
Through such experiments, Lee seems preoccupied by the need to make this familiar form something different from what we think it is, so that it can more capably capture a reality that has fast been veering into the unreal. It’s not just that the world outside the novel has made this jump, but also that we cannot evade the world’s strangeness when the storytellers, and the characters into which they breathe life, increasingly come from such different perspectives.