Making Things


Jenny Offill’s Department of Speculation is written in prose fragments, but don’t let that turn you off. They are the most accessible prose fragments you’ll ever read. She writes,

“My plan was to never get married. I was going to be an art monster instead. Women almost never become art monsters because art monsters only concern themselves with art, never mundane things. Nabokov didn’t even fold his own umbrella. Vera licked his stamps for him.”

The novel, which I highly recommend, considers the relationship of family and art.

I think she might have just needed Susan Sontag’s amazing writing suit (see above).

A bear suit is kind of like a room of one’s own.

Anyways, I finished my dissertation this month and I bring up Offill and Sontag because all the cliched metaphors for this experience are birthing metaphors. I made a thing that no one understands but me and now I have to live with its exterior roaming autonomy. But that is not right. Art isn’t a baby. Art monsters don’t make babies instead of art and artists don’t make art instead of babies.

I like this Susan Sontag photo because it makes me feel less possessive of my completed project and more excited about inhabiting the suit of a writer and a scholar. It’s a suit I keep putting on whether the project is over or just beginning.


2 thoughts on “Making Things

  1. I like this post, I like it when you get all serious about bear suits and the importance of work and production and feminist models (who aren’t Katie and Katie) and it looks like I should read this book but I am too busy producing and then resting from producing by watching bad tv or good tv- mother of D

  2. Thank you for putting this new novel and the notion of Susan Sontag together – it did remind me, however, that the more apt sisterhood might with Renata Adler (Speedboat)

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