The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, Half Life by Shelly Jackson, Anxious Pleasures and Nietzsche’s Kisses by Lance Olsen, The Jiri Chronicles by Debra Diblasi, American Genius by Lynn Tillman, Frances Johnson by Stacey Levine, VAS (still), by Steve Tomasula.
These books gave me piss shivers over the last years, because, in their various ways, they unmasked the totality of the authority of capitalism--the glitz and grind of all our consuming—and reflected back to us the importance of art—that it can be an erotic exchange.
But I don’t really want to talk about books and authors just now. I want to talk about readers. Instead of listing the top ten authors or books of the last years, I’d like to list the top ten desires I have of a reader. Maybe it’s a dream reader who doesn’t exist. Maybe it’s a reader who really is out there, and I just haven’t quite written my way to her yet. Or maybe it’s a reader we play a part in creating—like people in intimate relationships do—unmaking and remaking each other. I don’t know. But lately I have developed an oceanic impulse to reach her, and the writing I am doing is different than any other writing I have ever done because of it. It’s very urgent, this feeling.
1. Let her hair be made of fire. Her wonderous mind let loose finally, without permission or limit, burning with its desires and violences.
2. Let her hands breathe. Put the child to bed. The dishes are washed. The lover is sleeping. The lines near your eyes are the map of a life; ssshhh. Your fingers carry the crouch of dreams. Your hands are a world.
3. Let her heart beat. Not the dull thud of a good citizen but the wild rage of a love breaking open the very walls of story.
4. Let beauty come from inside the turmoil of her body. Where the blood gushes. The menses. The placenta. The cunt. The ass. The guts and shit of it—that transformational thing, that animal lunge, that tender rush of pulse, the body.
5. Let her knowing come in waves. Not what we’ve been told, not how we’ve been told to understand it, but with closed eyes and a body floating in warm water. Still the intellect open.
6. Let her transgress. Break any law here. I am waiting for you on the other side.
7. Let her mouths be what they are.
8. Let her tricks and fragments make pieces of things. I will let you be someone else and then yourself and then change as many times as you like. I will not tell anyone your secrets. I will carry your lies with the loyalty of a dog.
9. Let her come in my mouth. These words. I made them for you.
10. Let reading be a radical act of lovemaking.