…the ‘self’ doesn’t exist outside words? The parts that can’t be
articulated – that’s not a ‘self’ really, or is it? More like a rubbish heap of everything and nothing, completely contradictory and mutable, and mostly pointless.
That is what Leena said in response to a bit I wrote in my last blog post. I like it when people comment and disagree, because it gives me something extra to write about. But getting all high-falooting about writing makes me itchy. It is one more way that writing is bad manners. You should do it on your own and you shouldn’t talk about it too much in public.
Chris was writing about wondering if Nadine Gordimer knows what felching means. Wondering if selves exist without being written makes me want to say something like that. I remember ‘supervisions’ at Uni, sitting in a room with eager, well-read people saying clever, well-articulated things. It was quite like watching someone give someone else a blow-job. I remember having to press my teeth together very tightly because really I wanted to say: for fuck’s sake shut the fuck up! we’re nineteen! where’s the beer and shagging you’re supposed to get at Uni? (which of course I never did).*
By the way: if you figure out a way of saying that, in about three thousand words, during your Tragedy Paper exam, you get a first. Its a true fact.
So I struggle to hear myself say anything else about writing selves and selves writing, except I think that language makes people into people, and thought processes aren’t complete for me until they are typed out. I don’t know what I think until I see what I say, which is something I am quoting from a bit of advice that Emma once gave me. And I think the parts that can’t be articulated – the ‘rubbish heap’ is what I am most interested in. There’s a big gap between what we think of ourselves and what other people think of us, and an even bigger gap between that and what we are. I like that gap – Leena’s dark, pointless, jumbled rubbish heap. It is the place that my good writing exists in – at least some of the time.
None of which is relevant, but which is a small reply to Leena. I think. And contained no swearing or tearing at my cardigan.
*I never did say anything like that, I mean. I tried, and failed, to be earnest. The beer and shagging are my business – but it was The South and they do things differently there.