Sometimes I Feel Like A Fatherless Monkey

July 25, 2009 § 1 Comment


Venturing into the online world again, and feeling a little staggered: so many people, so much energy and hunger…artists, writers. All the talk of social networking and promotion, platforms, pratfalls, performing monkeys, it makes my head spin—I’m so not good at it. Yet there’s a definite pleasure in seeing how uninhibited everyone is, unlike the nearly chaste writers of my youth, afraid to be too eager, waiting for the powers that be to anoint them. (I waited too, waited long, unaware of the subtle art of kissing ass. Too proud? Too shy? Too dumb? Take your pick.)

If I didn’t need money, I’d say fuck the powers that be and publish everything myself online, let the readers find it whenever. A hundred or a million readers, who cares? Do I want to sell a million copies of anything? Other than for the royalty checks? I think it would wack me out. This culture has gotten too far ahead of me: I can’t imagine riding the wave anymore. I lost my moment, the 80’s, when I knew everything that became hot before it became hot but was just too unsure to write about what seemed my own private peculiar obsessions or interests. Now, the public discourse…there’s just too much of it. I like finding the good stuff, but it reminds me of trying to find a bra or a lipstick in Bloomingdales, wandering around the first floor, the lights, the music, thinking I might never escape.

My mother once asked me on the phone, “So how’s your little life?” and I don’t know how she meant it, affection or truth-blurted-out, or both, but I opted for the truth-blurted-out interpretation and was happy enough to admit that yes my life was little and it was, at that moment, fine. I’d wanted to make it big to impress everyone, but really that’s tiring.

I feel deep and quiet joy walking around the park, the tree-lined streets of the Village, and sometimes at art galleries. Literature? Maybe the chorus has gotten too loud. The muscle-stretching workout of writing something good, the pleasure of others liking it, these remain real, but literary status has become a toxic idea, and I’m not sure if that can change anymore.

I want to write a novel about Persephone in Hell. There are just so many hells to choose from. I liked Homer’s version better than Dante, I’m crazy about the Orpheus and Eurydice myth, but Persephone Queen of the Dead is the one I remain interested in. What it’s like, going from a being mama’s girl on a Greek hillside covered with flowers to kidnap and marriage to the cold and strange, the not-kind, not-Satanic, seemingly clinically depressed Hades?

It resonates in me deeply, this myth, yet when I think of the novel, it gets all chick-litty, frothy and cute dead jokes, and I think I have to go back and read more Anne Carosn and Louise Gluck. And further back to Christina Rossetti and Murasaki Shikibu. I have to  think about my cats, condemned for life to my apartment, the Stockholm syndrome, erotic attachment that has resulted.


Writers aren’t exactly people…. they’re a whole bunch of people trying to be one person.
~F.Scott Fitzgerald

All my best thoughts were stolen by the ancients.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

There are days when solitude, for someone my age, is a heady wine that intoxicates you with freedom, others when it is a bitter tonic, and still others when it is a poison that makes you beat your head against the wall.~Colette


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