at this point my biggest memory of times to remember is of the time i spent in the research room at the jfk library powering through the cassette tapes of rose kennedy’s recorded interviews with someone whose name i cannot remember.
someone who may or may not have been her ghost writer?
someone who definitely did not know to pause their question asking when planes flew overhead.
because i *am* writing about kim kardashian but i’m at that stage of the writing process where the writing is being actively avoided, not because it isn’t going to happen but because i’m waiting for it to become MAXIMALLY UNCOMFORTABLE so that i will have no choice, mental-health-wise, but to do it, no matter how hard it hurts.
i am waiting for the pressure to become unbearable, so that i might dive in with my whole heart and cerebellum and dig around in the blood and guts and brain matter and pick at all of the wounds. until they reveal the thing they are there for.
fun times!!! (this is the part about writing that i do not tell my students. the reality that the thing you most want to avoid is, inevitably, the thing towards which you are running at full speed and also the thing you are fated to do AND ALSO the thing that will most extensively shatter your being.)
the writing i am not doing is about victim-blaming.
i’m not doing it because i’m aware that writing about victim-blaming and doing the deep dive required to write about victim-blaming is going to really fucking hurt.
because things have happened so slow and then so quick– slowly careening is how i’ve characterized it– and the book sold but there was no paperwork and it seemed like things were happening and there were public announcements shared publicly, but mostly i spent the last month wanting to feel excitement and waiting for everything to fall apart.
what i remember is all of the adults in my life going into the den and shutting the door.
that’s not actually an accurate memory, as it was my mother and ann, our cleaner, and then, later, my dad. but that’s the memory. the adults in a room with the door shut and me, age 4 1/2, on the other side of it.
this was the year after The Year Everyone Died– my friend from next door, my mother’s grandfather, my father’s boss– so we were already, then, somewhat a house in mourning. or, at the very least, a house that had spent a lot of the previous year avoiding discussion of grief and death whilst living submerged within it.
it is like a nesting doll, all of it. my life with jackie, my writing about jackie. so that when i read the pages i have written about jackie, the whole book i have written on her life, it unpacks a whole series of memories of my own.
where i was when i wrote that sentence.
who i was sitting next to at the british library when i found that quote. (invariably, always, obviously, nanette.)
what i didn’t know was about to happen when i was in that archive.
the feeling of the wind in my hair and the blue blue sky above as i walked home after wandering round the yacht.
which, if we’re in some sort of white supremacy/white fragility/white tears carnival time– and that does increasingly seem to be what was meant by “reopening”– hardly ranks supreme. but it is nonetheless, stupidly consistent with this broader alignment of the racist stars and worth a gander, especially due to the subtlety of the pandering and the broader agenda of thumbs up-ing white femininity. (please, lawd, this is not the gemini season i wanted.) Continue reading →