I've read two books by Maggie Nelson recently (led to her by Eireann's review). I read Bluets and Jane: A Murder. I feel so much about these books, they completely overwhelmed me in the best possible way. I reread them as I went, painting a V, so I could read twice and three times and build up a coat of Nelson's words around me.
I also found this interview with Maggie Nelson online and loved this quote.
"I know there are many who believe in the Trollope school of thought, that one should wax one's ass to the chair and spit out novels or sestinas or whatever without waiting around for that elusive, romantic, ghost-in-machine, inspiration. But for me the work of being a writer is the easy part. I like being at work. What I like less are the soggy, ill-defined but probably necessary periods between monsoon and drought. The periods of silence, inactivity, and aimlessness that inevitably punctuate a life. Being possessed is pleasurable -- it feels good to lose control of the car while also somehow staying behind the wheel. But abiding with a dead or resting or paused brain, or numbness, or ordinariness, or sanity -- that's harder for me. So the best trick I know has less to do with tapping into creativity and more to do with cultivating the capacity to live without it. To let it go, and not feel as if the plug has been pulled on life. This abiding demands a certain kind of acceptance: If it is better that I write something again, let me write something again. If it is better that I never write again, let me never write again."
The Art of Cruelty: A Reckoning
Jane: A Murder (Soft Skull ShortLit)
Photo by Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times, with another interview.