1. How should readers read the story "Scripted"? Should we read column by column and section by section? Or should be read one column in its entirety--up to the end of the story-- before reading the second column? Is there a right (and/or wrong) way to read this story? Also, are the three columns representative of three different persons or just one person, with three different viewpoints? Why does the story move from 1st person to third to second in an order that is not sequential? (The first person usually seems to have more idealism within it, while the second person seems to be cold.)
I DON'T ACTUALLY BELIEVE IN DICTATING TO A READER "HOW" THEY SHOULD READ...INSTEAD, I CONCENTRATE ON CREATING WRITERLY TEXTS (SEE ROLAND BARTHES), IN WHICH THE READER CAN TAKE PLEASURE IN THEIR ACT OF READING, MULTIPLY MEANINGS AND TRY DIFFERENT STRATEGIES. SO THAT THE ACT OF READINGS IS AS ACTIVE AS THE ACT OF WRITING. KNOW WHAT I MEAN?IN THE CASE OF SCRIPTED, I WAS VERY INTERESTED IN THREE THINGS:
1. HOW IT IS THAT OUR "INDIVIDUALISM" IS UNDERCUT BY A RATHER LIMITED SET OF ALREADY KNOWN DRAMAS
2. HOW POINT OF VIEW IS STRUCTURED--HOW TAKING IT APART INSTEAD OF ASSUMING ITS STABILITY IS INTERESTING
3. HOW "VOICES" ARE ALWAYS CROSSING ONE ANOTHER
2. Why does scotch come up so frequently in these stories? (kind of dumb question, i know.) Is there a reason for the consumption of a specific alcohol?
HEH. IT'S WHAT I DRINK.
BUT I ALSO TEND TO AGREE WITH MARGUERITE DURAS--THE THINGS SHE SAYS ABOUT WOMEN WHO DRINK AND CREATE ART...THE WORLD FINDS THAT FAIRLY DISTASTEFUL IN A WOMAN. BUT IN A MAN, IT'S PART OF THE CULT OF THE MALE GENIUS ARTIST, PART OF HIS CREATIVE AURA.
SECONDLY, I LIKE TO PEPPER MY STORIES WITH ALCOHOL AND DRUGS IN AN "AMERICAN" SENSE. THEY ARE PART OF THE STORY. MY STORY. THE STORY OF THE AMERICAN ARTIST, TOO.
3. Is there a certain character or voice (a.k.a. narrator) that exists throughout this collection as a whole? Is the character male or female? Does it matter if the reader identifies the narrator as male or female? (We've observed that at points, there is an enmeshing of gender, such as on page 76.) What role does sexuality, and perhaps homesexuality play in this collection?
PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING I'VE EVER WRITTEN STRUGGLES (SOMETIMES TOO HARD, I THINK) TO BLUR THE LINES BETWEEN SEXUALITIES AND SUBJECTIVITIES. I'VE NEVER BEEN CONVINCED BY CATEGORIES OF GENDER OR SEXUALITY. MY EXPERIENCES ARE NOT HOUSED WELL INSIDE THE AVAILABLE TERMS, YOU KNOW? SO I TRY TO EITHER ABANDON THE, OR TRANSGRESS THEM, OR CROSS BACK AND FORTH VIA WRITING. NO, THERE IS NOT AN OVERIDING MONO-VOICE THAT TRAVELS THROUGH THE STORIES, ON THE OTHER HAND, I HAVE TRIED TO CREATE A SENSE OF "HETEROGLOSSIA" (M. M. BAKHTIN), A MULTI-VOCALITY THAT EMPHASIZES HOW THE VOICES OF THE MANY ARE ALWAYS SPEAKING, RATHER THAN THE VOICE OF THE ONE, ALL-POWERFUL AUTHOR.
I ALLOW THE AUTHOR VOICE IN AND OUT AT RANDOM IN ORDER TO UNDERCUT THE AUTHOR'S POWER AND DEMOCRATIZE THEIR VOICE AMONG MANY.
4. Your prose seems to present the body as a symbol of humanity or humanness, is this correct? Or are the references to the body symbolic of sexuality? Or perhaps both? In other words, what role does the body play in your prose? (And furthermore, is it different in different stories?)
BINGO ON BOTH. IN MOST OF MY WRITING I TRY TO PRESENT THE BODY AS THREE THINGS:
1. THE CORPOREAL FACT OF EXISTENCE
2. THE PRIMARY METAPHOR FOR EXPERIENCE
3. THE PSYCHO-SEXUAL "SITE" WHERE ALL MEANING IS MADE AND UNMADE.
5. Do you view this collection as a novel, in its entirety? Can the stories be read as one story? Or should they be viewed as single stories?
THAT'S A COOL QUESTION. I THINK THAT YES, THE STORIES CAN BE READ AS ONE STORY--IN THIS CASE THE SINGLE PSYCHE OF A WOMAN WITH ALL HER VOICES, ALL HER EXPERIENCES, HER PAST, HER PRESENT, HER BODY IN ALL ITS STAGES, HER PSYCHE BROKEN INTO PARTS, THE CHAPTERS OF HER BEING--IT CAN BE READ THAT WAY.
BUT I ALSO THINK THERE IS MERIT IN READING THEM AS STAND ALONES. THE WAY A SINGLE DAY CAN MARK SOMEONE FOR LIFE. OR THE WAY A CERTAIN YEAR CAN CHANGE A PERSON FOREVER. THE "SPACE" OF THE SHORT STORY ALLOWS FOR THAT KIND OF POTENCY. DO YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN?
6. The story "Chair" makes several references to childhood. How much do your own childhood experiences influence your writing as an adult?
MEGA. I MEAN HUGE. I CAME FROM AN ABUSIVE FAMILY, I HAD A DAUGHTER WHO DIED, MY CHILDHOOD AND CHILD ISSUES RUN UP AND THROUGH EVERYTHING. TO A CERTAIN EXTENT I THINK WOMEN WRITERS--EVEN THE ONES WHO HAVE NEVER HAD CHILDREN--CARRY THE TRACE OF THE CHILD IN ALL OF THEIR WRITING. I THINK OUR BODIES ARE THE REASON. I DON'T REALLY SEE MUCH OF A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BIOGRAPHIC REALITY AND FICTION. I THINK EVEN OUR "REAL" STORIES OF OURSELVES ARE FICTIONS, AND I THINK SOMETIMES FICTION GETS CLOSER TO A PERSONAL "TRUTH" THAN ANYTHING ELSE...
7. Film wiggles its way from title to sentence and word to page space. It is clearly an important realm of your writing. Why film? What do you get from film? And trite and simple (and you know it was coming,) what is your favorite film?
WELL, FILM IS THE DOMINANT MODE OF ARTISTIC PRODUCTION IN MY LIFETIME, SO IT HAS PERMEATED MY ENTIRE LIFE. IN ADDITION, I FELL IN LOVE WITH FILM WAY BEFORE I FELL IN LOVE WITH ANY HUMANS...THE FIRST FILMS I EVER SAW CHANGED MY REALITY FOREVER. LASTLY, I THINK THE STRUCTURE OF FILM AND THE STRUCTURE OF FICTION ARE INTIMATELY INTERTWINED, AND I LOVE TO "PLAY" IN BETWEEN. OH AND MY HUSBAND IS A FILMMAKER. HEH.
8. We have a whole chapter based and entitled off the color blue. Blonde folk pervade much of the text as well. Are you fan of the Aryan race--or what is the more, non-fascist reasoning behind these specific fixations?
THIS CRACKED ME UP A LITTLE BIT. A FAN OF THE ARYAN RACE? HA. OK SO FIRST OF ALL, I AM A BLONDE, SO THERE'S THAT. BUT "THE BLONDE" IS AN ICON IN AMERICAN CULTURE--SO I HAVE USED IT METAPHORICALLY AND SYMBOLICALLY TO POINT TO THAT. IF THERE IS ANYTHING FASCISTIC ABOUT "THE BLONDE," IT'S AN AMERICAN FASCISM--OUR SADISTIC COMPULSION TO LOVE THE BLONDE (THINK MARILYN MONROE, PARIS HILTON, ETC. ETC..). SO "THE BLONDE" IS AN AMERICAN PATHOLOGY, ON THE ONE HAND, AND I'VE LIVED A BLONDE LIFE THAT WAS AT ODDS WITH THAT NARRATIVE, ON THE OTHER.
9. Can we have you etch out the significance of structure and meaning of "Chair?" It is such a rich text and way too complex for us without your guidance. (I SERIOUSLY DOUBT THAT...HA.) The conclusion of the chapter incorporates different perspectives and usages of the chair; we find this very interesting. The paragraph that follows is quite memorable as well. Also, the lives of the chairs are divine, like on page 78 paragraph "To life the chairs." I love it; it feels brilliant. Lidia, tell me what it all means. Grazie.
WELL A GREAT DEAL IS REVEALED BY THE OPENING QUOTE--ABOUT THE MEANINGS OF THINGS. AND A DICTIONARY, SAY, LIMITS THE MEANINGS OF THINGS--INSCRIBES THEM INSIDE THE PRISONHOUSE OF LANGUAGE. NARRATIVE, ON THE OTHER HAND, RELEASES MEANING BACK OUT OVER A VAST TERRITORY OF SIGNS AND IMAGINATION AND EMOTION. SO TAKING A SINGLE WORD LIKE "CHAIR," AND LIBERATING IT, IS A RADICAL ACT. SO THERE'S THAT.
SECONDLY, I WANTED TO WRITE ABOUT INCEST IN A WAY THAT "RELEASED" IT FROM THE DREADED CONFESSIONAL MODE SO MANY WOMEN HAVE EMPLOYED. THIS WAS MY SOLUTION--TO ENTER THE AESTHETICS OF ART AND REPRESENTATION, AND THE MOTION OF MEMORY (HOW IT'S MADE, UNMADE, REMADE LIKE IN FILMMAKING), TO TELL A SMALL TRUTH.
10. The idea of "wanting" and consumption seems to be another important link between the stories (the we read) from the collection. What do these elements have to do with the current state of the human condition? Are you making a social statement that we (as readers) should be aware of? (We think we are on to something here, but we just want a little bit more info.)
YUP.THE "WANTING" AND "CONSUMPTION" YOU ARE SO ASTUTELY NOTICING IS SOMETHING I CARE ABOUT A LOT--IT TAPS INTO A BIG QUESTION I HAVE AS AN AMERICAN WRITER AND ARTIST--WHICH IS, HOW DOES ONE "MAKE" IN THE FACE OF CAPITALISM? HOW DOES ONE REACH A READER WHO IS MORE AND MORE A CONSUMER AND LESS AND LESS A RADICAL AND ACTIVE LOVER WITH THE WRITER OF A TEXT?
GREAT QUESTIONS. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR READING MY WRITING. IT IS VERY MEANINGFUL TO ME TO HAVE MET YOU THERE, INSIDE WORDS, WHERE WE MIGHT TOUCH WITHOUT THE PERMISSION OR RULES OF THE WORLD.