Last night I wrote a love poem to you. Maybe I'll post it later.
Here are some more thoughts on suicide and art/poetry:
Invention of Morel is a wonderful novel by Adolfo Bioy Casares (deemed perfect by Borges) about a man stranded on an island with other people who don't notice/respond to him. Soon he finds out that they are only images - images that have captured all five senses of the person - the machine that does this wasinvented by Morel and turned the Island into a museum of ghosts. The people died after the machine captured them. Morel and his friends died in order to livr forever. The book & concepts were sick, and it played with the old superstition that images capture the soul. (Belived by the Amish, in India, by some very very fanatic chassidic Jews).
I thought this was such an interesting idea, and after reading it I connected the idea - killing one's self for immortality - back to I Love Dick. (But of course.)
In ILD Chris Kraus talks about how she isn't a torture victim or anything like that - all she has to offer is her own self as a sacrifice, and she's relevant because of her specificity. I like both of these ideas. 1. The idea of using one's own life a a case study. (Which at times is questionably ethical and not very nice. I'm thinking of Allison Bechdel's book, Are You My Mother? And how she would record the phone conversations she had with her mother, and her mother didn't know.)
2. Specificity making old ideas and overused concepts relevant and fresh or, worth noting. (A while ago I wrote an essay for myself in my notebook about this. I said how the very thing that delegitimizes science [subjectivity/specificity] is what legitimizes art. I think this analogy works well, but I also went my whole life without learning any science so I could be wrong about subjectivity not being legitimate enough for research, but I'm pretty sure that's a thing.)
I connected all this to Girls as well, Lena Dunham's show about bitchy white girls. (I do like this show!) There's nothing remarkable or extraordinary about the show's subject matter. (Relationships, struggling with identities, the clash between who you are and who you want to be) but what's remarkable about it is it's specificity. And the fact that it shows normal girls that we all know, which is refreshing. But Lena Dunham is essentially taking the specificity of her universal experience, tearing it out and laying it down as a case study of sorts. Thrusting female experience on the table, like Eileen Myles, but whinier.
There's no question that art (I'm including poetry, photography, writing, filming, music and painting undeneath this word) makes the artist immortal. I mean Hamlet is in second place for the most talked about book, next to the BIBLE so it's like God, and then Shakespeare. That is fucking awesome. That is so powerful.
So artists can make themselves somewhat immortal (this obviously depends on how well regarded your art is and whether anyone feels inclined to keep it around) but with the internet (NOTHING IS EVER REALLY GONE) and this new phenomenon of publishing one's self online, we all get to be immortal artists.
Which brings me to the "killing one'sself for immortality" idea. (another reason why suicide, not literal suicide but suicide of one's soul/privacy/ethics, is essential for poetry.) A week or so ago, I wrote a poem about my community and how they respond to child molestation and sexual predators. I showed it to my friend and she got pretty upset with me because she thought it wasn't right a thay I was only showing the bad when people don't know the good.
I felt unsure about the poem after that. On the one hand, that's kind of the point of poetry - I mean, I'm not trying to write a persuasive essay that equally shows both sides of an argument, I'm writing a poem. My poetry teacher says that poetry is for trouble making and I absolutely LOVE this idea. I've completely latched on to it & it's directed a lot of my poetry lately in a big way.
But on the other hand, what she said was true - I did only show the worst parts of my community in the poem. It made me feel a little guilty.
I wrote it for a project I was participating in, and I submitted it anyway, though I still feel a little guilty. I guess your soul can be sucke out by art in more ways than one - you can put yourself in your writing and not fully be there outside of it, or you can disregard niceties for the sake of poetry.
I don't know the answer to this suicide making life a case study problem. This isn't the first time I've encountered this problem and feelings of guilt over ahowing a very subjective experience about a community that already has a bad rep. But I also can't help but use it as material, because it's all I knew for so long and has molded who I am - the good and the bad - in a huge way.
I'm typing this out on my phone in Spanish class, so I'm going to wrap it up. Thanks for sticking around and listening so long suicidal tendencies, I know how antsy you guys get.