June 10, 2017 (Saturday)

by Yule Heibel on June 9, 2018

Yesterday, I looked for my entry about seeing Suzie Moncrieff’s WOW at the PEM. It was the first time I ever went back to “review” a morning pages entry (i.e., in my head they’re one thing; in actual fact, not necessarily the same thing), and I went back to look at it because I thought of revisiting the exhibition with an eye to writing about it. I knew I had (or thought I had) some interesting insights about the costumes – the wearable art – vis-à-vis the “chadoring” of women as seen in a photo I first saw on Twitter, where one woman in a uniformly black-veiled crowd of women is holding a small, unveiled child dressed in white.

Anyway, looking for this entry was one of those deflationary experiences, sort of like when I was 16 and still in high school and my then-heartthrob G. rudely telling me (for no discernible-to-me reason, which heightened my psychological sense of destabilization), “You’re not as smart as I thought you were.” First of all, I had no idea I thought I was being smart or especially intellectual. Second, I had no idea G. had formed any kind of opinion about the quality of my mind to begin with (I was just interested in sleeping with him). Third, how disappointing to have to do a mental self-(re)-assessment in the midst of teenage lust…

At any rate, something similar happened yesterday when I reread – or skimmed: I was looking for a specific detail – these past entries. I thought, “You’re not as smart as I thought you were, ” and it really stung, just like when G. had said it all those decades ago. Only this time I was doing it. To myself. (I wonder if he ever found out just how sensitive a nerve he had hit when he said that. But, I am derailing myself.) What I looked into that afternoon yesterday was the gap between desire and reality. I want (I desire) these morning pages to facilitate my re-entry into authorship. I want them to be the basis for a different kind of journal(ing /ism), of blogging: not the breathless of-the-moment kind so prevalent now, as in “10 Ways You Won’t Believe What Happened Today” or “I Got Into My Car to Drive to Market Basket, And When I Turned On the Radio You Won’t Believe What Happened Next.” The car exploded? Well, one can hope… No, absolutely not a listicles or FOMO-based kind of writing. Something else, but on platforms (online, blogs) which have been “parasitized” by listicles and FOMO.

Hence the working title, “So Last Year,” which, depending on whether you put a comma after “So” can mean two different things. Back to the ambiguity of lived experience, which is not the same thing as avoiding facts or even current events. I might even want these pages to serve as the basis of something more tangible. But skimming, as I did yesterday, I seemed to see mostly dross, not gold, and this disappointed me. I think now, on reflection, it will come down to editing things out, sort of like smelting. I often work myself up to something before I hit any kind of stride. That’s okay. One of the other aims of the morning pages is working myself up to write – in other genres – with more fluidity and greater confidence. “You’re not as smart etc.” is supremely unhelpful because my aim isn’t to satisfy the “as I thought [you were]” part. What “you” think (even if it’s me) isn’t really the point – at this point. On the other hand, it is a sign. “They” only bother to say, “You’re not as smart as I thought you were” when you’ve reached some importance, some significance.

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