*Pre-script Let me get this out of the way.

1)I think that Marie Calloway is a talented, thought-provoking, and urgent writer, and far more savvy, and probably, media-savvy, than her detractors give her credit for. 2) I think my desire that the book was something more is born out of a real belief in her talent. So feel like putting this post back up, in all of its ambivalence, after Tao Lin accused me of being gossipy and unkind on Twitter, for wondering out loud with SNP about the editing process of MC's book, and feeling that it was overpowered by this media push/publicity stunts, etc., and wondering what it would have been like if she had had a feminist, engaged editor who pushed her more towards rewrites. I of course don't know the editor/publisher at Tyrant Books, at all. I don't think that he has been a puppetmaster towards Marie - that would be first and foremost insulting to Marie, by assuming that she has been "exploited," when actually I think what is probably more of the reality is more complex, bound up in capitalism, and not unique, but I do think gendered in many ways. I personally haven't observe other Tyrant Books authors being promoted in such a way - being pitched to men's magazines, daytime talkshows, and gossip columns, etc. Maybe I'm wrong. For perhaps the publicity of, say, Tao Lin with Taipei doesn't differ too much from MC's publicity, but the moral emphasis is on his drugtaking as opposed to Marie writing about sex. 3) My observations regarding all this are somewhat informed by an exchange I had with Marie regarding the publicity of the book, a while ago, which I'm not sharing here, my observations of how she's been represented/represented herself online and in media, and the timing in which the publisher contacted me for a blurb, my sense of how fast the collection was coming out, and then my realization that the book did not differ in a substantial way, from the pieces already available online. But I could be wrong about this. 4) I am interested in what this means in the culture. I think my interest in the media and publicity (how MC is being written about) reveals something about the culture, that I find - ambivalent, maybe insidious, that I have been writing about lately. 5) This is a blog post. It's tentative. I'm feeling my way around these ideas. And since this post is so long, I'll spoil the ending: I'm looking forward to her second book. *** Who the fuck who want to read a 4,000-word piece? Here it is. *** -->

what purpose do I serve in the culture: thoughts on Marie Calloway and her book I told myself I was not going to write about Marie Calloway and her book in any public (online) way—but realizing that I have made a few comments, here and there, that perhaps showed an ambivalence towards the project, if I think of the project as the entire phenom of MC, but I am realizing this might amount to something like a dismissal of the writing, which I don't feel at all. It's a complicated thing, writing about the book, mostly for me because of the difficulty of separating the author from the persona from the spectacle (a difficulty that in many ways makes her work quite intriguing, in how it takes on and plays with detractors/media, and I think the work purposefully invites such ambivalence, such a reaction on the part of the reader.)Also have become increasingly bored (deranged?) by the proliferation of "Internet think pieces" on fucking everything, this literature-in-a-hurry that isn't very literary at all, a culture of commenting and opining in split seconds. I wanted some time to think about the book. I still feel I need some time to think about all of this. I feel I'm second-guessing and contradicting myself. Another of the reasons I told myself I was not going to write about this book was because of the shit I received for originally writing about her story Adrien Brody - probably because I allowed myself to wade into the cesspool of HTML Giant's comments, and was viewed as this raging

in what I thought was an otherwise a compelling review that made me think about a lot of things. an image culture. and this goes for writing about other women as well. I mean. Orange wrote recently about What purpose do I serve. didn't Rimbaud write everything as a teenager?). I feel okay existing in a queasy dialectical state in regards to her writing. on FB. I feel open to being wrong. because of what I perceived as their passionate dismissal of this young promising writer. I don't mean to in any way shame or moralize or dismiss her and her project.and also suggests something inherently wrong with contemporary American liberal feminism. at all. although championing seems to suggest an unproblematic uncritical superlative). I feel uncertain about my take on her position in the culture.feminist (only an insult somehow when it's directed at you) for defending her work and what I saw as the literary and aesthetic promise of the couple stories I had read (as if I only read through a lens of feminism) .at the end of the year . so fascinating is that she is actually writing about these experiences. it is the . indirectly quoting women writers of her acquaintance. I think that's what makes it fascinating. I am realizing that other women writers can be the cattiest (is that a sexist term? probably) and meanest to each other. what makes and has always made her presence. her work. where they engage in abject encounters as a way to taunt or test the self's boundaries. as was suggested in the review M. (Nor would I per se fault a writer's age. my blog. the writing about her work and the reactions to me writing about her work (as I guess an early supporter/champion. I agree with others who have noted that this is violent.what does it mean? .and had received so many furious-comments. where they are desirous of experience and knowledge and seek this through men. and I don't think this uncritical championing is helpful either. where they post FB updates about being questioning and unsure and desiring affirmation. I would never wish for a writer or girl or woman or person to *not exist in the culture*. Of course one of the reasons Marie's writing is so compelling is because lots and lots of girls like she portrays in her stories exist in the culture. I am excited that Marie Calloway and her work exists in the culture. a culture where girls are still extremely passive and self-loathing. This personal event. On the flip side. to not recognizing or resisting interpreting a subversive brilliance in certain aspects of how she publicizes herself/how she's been publicized. this wish . a Girls Gone Wild culture. reversing a lot of the more potentially utopian conclusions I come to at the end of Heroines. whether I am too playing a "concerned mom" and having a moral take on what is the entire MC project. we live in a fame culture. However. was a dividing line for me in terms of what I thought of online feminism on the Internet. actually. even when I am uneasy by *some* of her recent and past publicity. which is maybe part of the work. to misreading. I remember I wrote the post about "Adrien Brody" on my birthday . that it was an alienating point between myself and some women writers I thought of as peers. there is this sense online that to critique someone is to somehow be a hater.. in fact. the most competitive and desirous that another woman writer not take up too much space in the culture. etc. if the work is there and the work is interesting.

a text that is in some ways like What purpose." and through this confessionalism receiving attention—I have experienced this directed at me. And perhaps for me there's some sense of not wanting to stand too close to the fire . maybe more apparently pliable feminine sorts that receive this share of attention within this image culture. their borrowing from reality-TV. very dismissed. this anger.that it's the white. This conversation. too many to go into here. *young*. and as an object. etc. Marie's characters are quite muted and banal. I think that might be a small bit of it. but more. Also. and feel resistant. *pretty*. as the conversation has been rarely about the actual work. I've experienced it directed at myself and I've experienced it as well.maybe I experienced that somewhat. fetishized and jacked off too." that Emily Books reissued.competitiveness among women writers. much more true to my own experience. towards Marie of course. as a sexual provocateur. in my opinion. and wondered whether I was feeling jealous by her attention. that seems much more authentic to me. just as Angela Carter's dismissed Jean Rhys' "dippy dames'). and not only being inscribed by the culture. And it is this project .would they want the sort of attention MC has received? no. more of a literary feat.) It's something I'm becoming increasingly aware of . And a lot of this rage too is within online feminism . and with feminism. and that's actually what I find interesting about it. we all want to be read. and not something you often see represented in literature (the biggest comparison I would make to What purpose to you serve in your life is Making Scenes by another pseudonymous writer.) I mean. of course not. such an anger directed at women who write confessionally. Especially too there's such a rage. towards Sheila Heti. perhaps . more comely. that is inscribing into the culture. for instance that slavering and yet condescending review in Esquire that made me seriously want to join a separatist colony (but the question is . is not new in the context of women writing. who are accused of "oversharing. I don't think anything about Marie's work or project deals with empowerment. for many many reasons. wishing others received even a small bit of that attention (like Suzanne's Promising Young Women. and I think what has made some feminist readers queasy. and more about MC as a phenom. both positive and negative attention (which is absolutely true). an "Adrienne Eisen. there are plenty of brilliant female writers that don't get that *kind* of male attention.) I have thought a lot lately about my feelings of conflict and ambivalence towards all of the publicity around Marie. privileged. for I feel that my project is quite different from Sheila Heti's or Marie Calloway's.writing.to attempt to write the muted experience of being a certain young fucked-up girl who is often only written about and dismissed in the culture (the mainstream culture. Maybe? Sure. I have recently seen this directed at Katherine Angel in that borderline illiterate and completely full of jealous agenda Bookforum review of Unmastered. and as SNP notes in her Hairpin piece.a discomfort with being lumped in together . although I think of Sheila's work as more sophisticated more refined. Unlike Hannah Horvath in Girls. that *perhaps* this act of writing is a form of empowerment. formally complex. Personally. I would note however. thoughtful. photogenic. poetic. which I see as more parallel works in a way. certainly. who talks like a heroine in a screwball comedy.

never ever being that girl entirely. which featured me with my eyes closed (because my eyes open were seen as too "intense. which is interpreted often completely autobiographically. I am also aware. that I might be sounding like a "concerned mom. that to be a youngish woman writer now is to be sold. There have been other thoughtful reviews. the work and then the stuff around the work. and some critical feelings. I'm certainly not a Deneuvian blonde. whether they are resistant to it. and an engagement. I think even analyzing the work on these terms is possibly not an interesting question. and that point when the confessional becomes a commodity. to their role as consumer and commodity. Could I view it as not feminist . for one (of course there have been male critics with I think sound reviews of her work." the feminist version of the concerned dad. Could I view it as feminist? Yes. such as this one. personally. to sell one's story. to sell oneself. or cautious. to worry about what to wear. and deals so much with an ideal cipher in society and her identity through image (a work I wrote at some distance from when I was ever that girl. But I do think Marie's actual work shows an awareness. I don't like. while also completely participating in it. and this one. in terms of how she's been packaged and published.) I worry. Does this get better with age? (I hope. one's image. primarily. like so many of the moralistic readings of her work that I have rejected (why judge a complicity and participation within our image and media culture? isn't this the same as the liberal feminist being queasy about someone doing sex work? or writing about sex? or having sex? and cannot this participation be potentially subversive/resistant? I'm sure MC plans to write about her experiences doing this publicity tour.") * Anyway.) Does this make sense? I feel in some ways MC is threatening to the culture (that's what I like about her work) and totally unthreatening (the parts I'm uncomfortable with). about who is publicized in our culture.) And also the photo taken for the Jezebel 25 list. in some way.incorrectly. I will say. and how. Can I separate aesthetics from politics? Do I always have to read as a feminist? (No. nor do I always need to write as one). that this book is written about seemingly almost entirely by dudes in dude magazines. and how they participate in that culture. with her role as a commodity/object in the culture. All this to say I too do have some weird feelings. or perhaps it always is a commodity. or whether that's impossible. a way of writing to and back. and a playfulness. I feel my being situated in that category is due to my novel Green Girl. like thisone. as well as the way some young female writers are written about. that I think those online who have passionately claimed Marie Calloway and her work as a feminist performance/feminist project are kind of missing something. I'm veering from what I wanted to wrangle with. although that doesn't erase for me some queasiness.) * But the work.

) I also wish the work didn't come out so fast. * . can I look at the work. I think I always cared more about being considered a serious writer than wanting to be famous or getting tons of attention (I don't. I think). was concerned first and foremost about selling copies . most notably in Michael Musto's Gawker interview . at least three times). so seemingly to time with another book coming out. although not working as a line editor per se. for example the much-discussed phenomenon of women writers and editors appearing in the Style section of newspapers. It doesn't matter whether the author privately reads and is informed by feminist theory (which she definitely appears to be). this is my first novella. who was very interested in seeing my work as a market form. and was completely handsoff. So the question is. Of course. outside of often literary venues. I made not a cent in royalties (I've never actually made much in royalties. I have had a radical feminist publisher editor. I also though interpret (or project?) a passivity in this publicity process. however. and I wonder how to escape it . who was not remotely interested at all in my work as a market form. or is part of the project dealing with this publicity? I certainly think in some ways Marie is toying with her public image.how most young female writers are pitched and promoted. as apparently on the media push. a genius writer. I wish as much attention and time was spent on editing the work. to look at a work ideologically. Artists cannot be ideologues. a genius writer.)And certainly I think there's a double bind here. and a limiting inquiry. I have also had an editor/publisher. and even though she didn't edit the work.I said . is a problem that feminists continually run into in conversations about literature. I would not have said no. and when they are. and was not that interested in pushing me towards any sort of publicity. remotely. I have had as my first publisher a radical feminist publisher. of course. a publicity cycle aimed to get the maximum amount of mainstream attention. How fucking boring is that. who pushed me to rewrite the work (Heroines. ones that I felt veered from appreciating the literary work as a literary work and were more about promoting the person as a commodity . Maybe at another time. very little). that doesn't mean that her work needs to or should be flawless ideologically. and insisting that a work be read on those terms. I think she has reacted against this stupidity. on rewriting. and pushed me to consider ideas. it tends to be dull and obvious.enough (as detractors did of Agnes Varda's Cleo?) Yes. and I just hope (mom-concern!) she was not pushed into doing any publicity she was uncomfortable with (certainly some of these questions these male journalists have asked her have been dumb/infuriating. without the question of the spectacle.no. and I don't think she's been passive in most interviews. as opposed to in the book review. want to be famous. who although was supportive of the work. I usually said no. Artists can and should be provocateurs and revolutionaries and philosophers. I think examining the entire project on feminist terms. made me feel I could completely keep my integrity.and when he mentioned publicity ideas I was uncomfortable with (most of them). Of course there is the larger reality that many publishers of small presses do not actually act as editors of the works (for time constraints. I make some. often.

" "Criticism. which is at least *interesting*. voice: He told me about how he was a bank manager and worked for a French company and went to France all the time. even the boringness of some of it. that same sense of queasiness. that tedious mood conjured.But. this harmless intellectual dude who obviously temporarily thought with his dick. through publishing). the performance of this in publishing the sex chats on FB. the flipping of roles. I find a lot of it. with texting. talked about how I liked French music and existentialism when I was in high school and Francois Truffaut and Jane Birkin and Anna Karina and how I had a stalker once who said I look just like Chantal Goya and how much I wanted to smoke Gauloises. is that in my opinion you had to be aware of these micro-levels of celebrity within a certain NYC literary culture in order to really access it. its rhythms and simplicity of language. although I think that tension between who is exploited is what is part of the anxious tension of her work. I liked this idea of a revenge against the usual consumers of pornography. outside of the ethics of this. I am reading the book this morning. where the woman is usually silent. Although. My favorite pieces are the early stories in the beginning." I think the biggest issues I had with "Adrien Brody. I am interested in the predator-Lolita-girl-terrorist that MC conjures up (a predator through writing about it. the first one (Sex Work Experience One) probably being the best. although it's very meta/insider. in an uninteresting way. I liked in theory the multimedia pieces. This passage is brilliant. exciting. although I have to say I felt stopped a bit when I got to the multimedia work "Men" (despite being intrigued by it when it was published separately) and then "Adrien Brody.. that struck me as true). And I find so much of the book interesting. the most economical and elegant. . although I do think it's clever and shows a certain sense of irony that she solicited and toyed with the guy who has written so frequently about micro-fame and social media. I did think of Rhys in this passage and in the sense of mood. I did actually feel badly for both the character and the person who it's based on while reading the piece. the Sex Work stories. and I would compare like others have this ethical striptease to the videoworks of Laurel Nakadate. The blank tranquillized voice reminded me of Joan Didion's Play it as it Lays." and "Jeremy Lin. the sense of the economy of the language (when it's economical.. some of it was successful. still. And although this has nothing to do with the work. the playing with forms. I told him about how much I liked France and wanted to go there. I liked her playing with Facebook. and more than that. the parts that were boring to me. and how the piece in some ways comments on that. were the parts and patches that were clunky aesthetically. I do think there's somewhat of a cruelty or ethical issue in writing so transparently and immediately about this not really famous or powerful yet recognizable guy on the Internet. but still in a rougher state than I would have hoped." in book form. although I liked her dialogue being often clumsy and banal.

I Love Dick works on its own without knowing that he's Dick Hebidge. strong. about Marie's stories. as long as they're not boring. rewritten more. or when we expect our female characters to be "likeable. not vicious. I think. not whiny. the one where his style is the most refined.David Foster Wallace comes to mind (using the dialogue/life stories of those he was in AA with).. we expect our female characters to be somehow empowered. And I certainly do not have to like or admire or respect writers or their literary personalities in order to be interested in their writing. and do think that sometimes the avant-garde has pushed against these boundaries of style and taste. probably because she/her publishers have attempted to push her into the mainstream. we are reading this through feminism. I feel similar. *Maybe* of Sasha Grey. I know. not immature. alt-lit. but I think it hasn't been enough. but the interesting question in our culture is why we insist that female writers or their characters be so fucking likeable. amidst this dialed down abrupt style that is also indebted to the staccato of online communication.. to an extent. Because can't one propel oneself into the mainstream and consumer culture in an ironic distanced aware way? Yes.. So the baggier overlong parts were even more awkward and clunky. I know. it cannot somehow be escaped. not overemotional. etc. and All the King's Horses works even if you are not hyper-versed in Situationism and Guy Debord. surely Tao Lin's most sophisticated work.Marie is working in a minimalist mode. they are these performances of the Internet. which limits the texts as working on their own. for the work to cohere more as a collection . I guess too an overall sense of the meta-ness of the work makes me feel those specific pieces fit more in an Internet framework. . that could have worked as this interesting gossipy extratextual layer. and his influence and the sort of specter of his persona and celebrity is everywhere in these later pieces. about the Internet. not angry. by contrast.For instance. I think of Karen Finley in Playboy. it's okay for male characters and male authors to be monsters. I think a lot of the pleasure of Adrien Brody and Jeremy Lin and "Criticism" involves being hyperliterate in Tao Lin. etc. Phil. this keeps on being written about. and in the later pieces seems even more indebted stylistically to Tao Lin. I don't think I would situate MC within the radical or avantgarde. in-the-know readers would interpret and figure out who is who. and maybe that's unfair. because these male intellectual figures are characterized within the text. I came away from Taipei. men's magazines. I think what differentiates Marie Calloway from Jean Rhys is perhaps a sense of distance and craft . But I think perhaps the moralizing and salacious strains of questions/takes on Marie's work is due partially to the venues in which she's being promoted and pitched to (Dr. like some of the plagiarisms of Kathy Acker. pretty sure I would not want to hang out with the person. these sorts of ethical violations in the name of literature are committed by male authors all the time .) Also. I think it's an inability to separate politics from aesthetics. Although I do find an aesthetic value in consciously *bad* writing. somehow." ie pleasant. that lost something for me within a book. not narcissistic. we are reading them through an internalized misogyny.Rhys wrote from her diaries. and I had kind of hoped they would have been refined more. etc.

Anyway. is distinct. and also the performance of her persona. frustrating work. can also further hone one's ideas and concentrate the force of one's prose. Philosophy in the Bedroom. only her first book! . am I the attention john?" That question I think being what is most interesting and complex about the work. an open.as Robert Gluck writes in his verygood blurb. maybe craft is boring. how it's engaging and alienating and titillating the reader . It is a sort of speedfreak. and what it really amounts to is dragging books into the bathtub or dogearing them and reading pages. in the past week I have been in the *thick* of things.J. Stanek (text Bacon used for his monkey paintings) . Juliette by Marquis de Sade Regarding the Pain of Others by Susan Sontag In the Devil's Snare (about the Salem Witchcraft) The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank Room by Emma Donoghue Introducing Monkeys by V. beyond work that you do (and I have no doubt MC worked on the stories. and then that legal pad there is where I was furiously copying down Tiqqun notes this AM and then made a mad long list to try to order up at the Brooklyn Public Library (which. most brilliant. from the NYPL?) On my desk: The Letters of Mina Harker by Dodie Bellamy Our Lady of the Flowers by jean Genet Watch fiends & Rack Screams by Antonin Artaud Pamela by Richardson Women as Lovers by ELfriede Jelinek Justine. having serious readers. I thought it might be interesting to catalogue the books that are residing on my desk. reworked and rewrote the stories somewhat. and certainly a work be killed by having all of what's interesting and vital edited out of it (the most insidious aspects of a workshop/MFA culture). speedreading of a sort. Under the Shadow of my Roof. Anyway.but wrote and rewrote and refined them over time. before I force myself to write something. although blurbs by themselves are so kitschy and porny. is far far far more interesting than a well-polished well-crafted bore.) * Ultimately. in terms of what it's performing. I am very curious and interested in what her second act will be . a wild unwieldy work. Of course. which is that period of convincing myself I need to read everything. But having a serious editor. I like that there is this ambivalence to MC's work.I hope it will be explosive. it turns out. It is this *sense* of drift with Marie Calloway-the-performance that I find perhaps most compelling. And ultimately. a period of frantic notetaking for my Monkey-girl-novel.this is after all. and now I'm ultimately in that mad-crazy period that is often a fertile period. but that also makes me most uneasy. aren't they?: "And if she is an attention whore.

Jaycee Dugard Amanda Knox memoir Emilie or on Education by Rousseau Rousseau's Confessions Augustine's Confessions Dialectic of Enlightenment Venus in Furs Masochism by Deleuze Exposing Sibyl Fanny Hill by John Cleland An apology for the life of Mrs. Don Quixote. arr Anne Carson's Antigonick Visions of Excess and Eroticism Bataille Laure Collected Writings The Freudian Body Leo Bersani INtercourse Andrea Dworkin The Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord Incest Journal by Anais Nin To order from library: Angela Carter Sadeian Woman Further Selections from the Prison Notebooks Gramsci Flowers in the Attic VC Andrews books and memoirs on: Fritzl case. hysteria. and reading difference in 19th century France Bound and Determinded by Christopher Castiglia Literature and Evil by Georges Bataille Put it all in a blender. and then I have a novel? Or a milkshake? . Natasha Kampusch. Shamela Andrews by Henry Fielding To buy: Scenes of Seduction: Prostitution.Reborn by Susan Sontag College of One by Sheilah Graham (unintentionally hilarious memoir by Fitzgerald's late-life Hollywood era lover/mistress/partner about the intense reading course Fitz out her on) Rewriting the Soul by Ian Hacking (philosophy of Dissociative Identity Disorder) Savage Girls and Wild Boys: A History of Feral Children Complete Plays Sarah Kane Voluptuous Panic (Weimar Berlin) Preliminary Materials for Theory of a Young Girl Tiqqun I Await the Devil's Coming Mary MacLane 1001 Nights Decameron In Memoriam to Identity. Great Expectations (Acker) Three volumes of History of Sexuality Foucault Nietzsche Ecce Homo Coma by Guyotat Close to the Knives David Wojnaworicz bio by C.

Speedboat by Renata Adler I Love Dick by Chris Kraus Hotel Theory by Wayne Koestenbaum To After That (Toaf) by Renee Gladman A Century of Clouds by Bruce Boone My Paris by Gail Scott Wittgenstein’s Mistress by David Markson I am Trying to Reach You by Barbara Browning How Should a Person Be? By Sheila Heti Shoplifting at American Apparel by Tao Lin Austerlitz by W. While reading and talking about how to discuss these works.Fiction Craft Class: Disrupting Genre In this Graduate Craft Class we will explore emerging literary forms thatdisrupt our concepts of what fiction should be. I will assign short instigating exercises each week. criticism. and plot. with their stewing in gossip. biography. gleefully. where we will play with anecdote and aphorism and write real lives as fiction and vice versa. theory. characterization. We will also be reading one work of genre-bending criticism. the contemporary examples inspired by reality TV and the Internet as well as their more (perhaps) political predecessors including New Narrative and associated works. scholarship. and poetics. through works that cross between and infuriate genre. culminating in a disruptive revision. literature and theory. structure. while incorporating memoir. in its wake. Sebald Reality Hunger: A Manifesto by David Shields . we will examine ways in which these texts experiment not only with genre but also with narrative. We will be reading many examples of the nonfiction novel. still daring to call themselves novels.G. Is the novel as we know it dead? Let’s celebrate. anecdote.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful