There’s more excellent stuff from Kate Zambreno re: the importance of boredom here. I am really interested in this idea of resistant reading, flipping—also the right to say that you love something without having read all of it, without being an expert. I’m a little overachiever-anxious about this. I never want to say oh, I loved that book unless I can follow it up with at least a few minutes of the kind of talk that would impress my English profs. Which is stupid! I can love a book and not know what it’s about, why not, I love plenty of people who mystify me.
In the comments there’s talk about reading as “imbibing” (specifically about Kathy Acker whom I haven’t read but will) and so resistant reading is: “sort of like Chris Kraus’ idea of anorexia as an active stance, using a trope of female passivity as a tool of subversion.” (I haven’t read Chris Kraus yet either, I haven’t read anything, Jesus.) But I’m not going to write about my food issues today, at least not directly, even though they are seriously relevant to everything.
A long time ago, when no one at all read this thing and I cared a lot about “accessible” feminist blogging and thought that good writing ought to be persuasive (hahaha! I am so unpersuasive. The only thing I’m good at is talking about my own irrationality), I wrote this thing about Sleater-Kinney and why I care so much about them. It’s a pretty awful piece of writing and I wouldn’t link to it except that I love embarrassing myself. But I still care about this point: lots of SK’s stuff and in particular their entire first album is about screaming no at everyone (see, also). And saying no is a good skill, of which the glossy self-help feminists to whom I for whatever reason used to link all the time would no doubt approve. But it’s an exhausting position, it’s too pure, and I don’t want to hear about it from anyone who isn’t also very familiar with saying yes to all the things that will fuck you up. Which is why ‘Youth Decay’ is the most important SK song: because I know the answer to was I born to accommodate? and so do you and it feels really good. But not good in a glamourous self-destruction way. Good like wasting your life. It’s got nothing to do with you. Am I rotting am I rotting am I rotting am I rotting out, that monotonous wail, it’s not building to anything, it just keeps going. I’m so fucking bored with hurting myself.
Starving is disgusting and self-indulgent and it’s all about a totally dislocated and ugly moral code (being hungry is the only thing that matters and it doesn’t have anything to do with anything past the limits of your skin—being good is completely isolating) and everyone can see it on you. But it also shows how hard you’re trying to be good and how far you’re willing to go to please the world. Being bored, when you’re young, when you’re a girl, when you’re supposed to be charmingly vapid and mostly concerned with buying vapid things that make you more charming, is not dissimilar, right? It’s also unappealing and also selfish but it shows that you’re doing it right, you’re doing everything they want you to do, you’re perfect. You’re a walking display of how gross it looks to be perfection incarnated!
Anyway, you knew I was lying when I said I wasn’t going to talk about my food issues, I’m not even apologizing.