My Brilliant Friend – Elena Ferrante
People have been telling me to read Elena Ferrante for years and I’ve waited a really long time to start. It’s more of that overly perfumed prose you have so recently disliked. But I’m trying to write a short story about women so I’ve been looking for alternative expressions of wlw or female based friendships. This one starts when our main character is in her sixties, more Erica Jong Fear of Dying instead of Fear of Flying. Quick, enjoyable, I’m loving it so far. I decided to lay off the Straight Sex because honestly that shit is getting boring quickly. I liked how you said you try and read through books from everywhere, and I’m trying to look back at what I’ve read and if I’m getting really a global perspective. I like reading Economist reviews because they do help me stay pretty international. Are you getting NYRB/LRB still? I’d love to do a scheduled swap every week, if we really read as much as we are planning on. I’ve just gotten a japanese futon style bed, so I’m going to go lay down (unfold, make, fluff) and maybe finish the Ferrante and move back to some criticism, reading novels is so hit or miss. But this one is so promising. x deborah 7.42pm, Sunday 1/8/17.
Ah, again. I finished I Love Dick last night and was irritated at her crazy, feverish, stalkerish, unnecessary letters to some impotent asshole. I’m glad I finished reading it though, so I can tell all those people who told me to read it to go fuck themselves for thinking I was such a narcissist I would enjoy licking my own navel. Thank you, for giving me a break to not think about work or the traffic or anything. Do you remember when Jacobin broke the story of that Spanish guy who had just stopped going to work and no one noticed and he studied Spinoza for five years? Well, I’ve never read any Spinoza but that’s not why I’m reading Ethics. I’m reading Ethics because for a brief moment the school of life was hosting all these tangentially related “___ as therapy” websites and they paid off a gorgeous Italian woman to masturbate in a series of photos about her graduate studies on Spinoza. Still haunts me sometimes. I get 45 minutes on public transportation to read, it’s helping me stay on track and keep my goals realistic. I finished The Economist on the bus and felt really good about that. I have “100 Ways to Make More Money” on my desk by some woman who runs workshops on the feminine economy. One of the suggestions is to read the newspaper everyday. I’m not a philistine so The Economist is about as close to a traditional newspaper I’ll get. I’m calling it a day at 5:30 because I’ve long gone past the ability to pretend to work.
Your friend, deborah
So much fun to meet up with you last night. I even made a new shelf on goodreads. I’m at a weird point in my life where I’m not sure if I should write in the books I own or not. Do you write in the margins? I feel like that would be helpful while I try and read through this Spinoza. I liked your mention of alternative learning last night. I try to stay informed, and basically literate in as many subjects as I can. I’d like to read more books about Mathematics, especially early Math. Principia Mathematica or something. I also don’t read much about the hard sciences. Chemistry, Engineering, etc. I don’t really think I have the math background to understand them entirely.
I’m very ill today. I had a bad night last night, I kept waking up last night, drenched in sweat, clawing at my partner, claiming I was freezing and that I was going to die. I kind of wish I had The Bloody Chamber here at home with me, because some of those stories are feverish and drenched and sweat and blood. I’m waiting for my period to come and I know it’s going to be horrible. I’ve only had my IUD for a couple months and my periods have been basically normal — no nightmare blood or anything, just bad cramps and back pain. But this week, I’ve felt it. I can sense it. It will be just so intense. I am interested in your breakfast on Saturday, we’ll see. I’m anxiously waiting for Inoculation to arrive! I once did a series of letters with some female friends about vaccines and if they had vaccinated their children. It was very interesting. When do we get to trade secrets? Here I am, ejaculating into the wind. At least Damaris looks beautiful. – 1/26/17, Swan House.