Farren Stanleyâ€™s â€œRawness of Rememberingâ€ collapses time within our July issue. Watch this one bloom, watch it boil down to essence:
1. The structure of this story seems to lend itself to self-consumption. Why did you choose to build it this way?
Is this how you characterize it? Do you mean that the story consumes its structure, or that the structure reflects an agenda of self-consumption? Or maybe what you mean is that the essay reduces, reduces, reduces until it disappears? Meaning is a complex construction (ÃŸÂ most obvious thing anyone has ever said)â€”when I think about the meaning of the concepts “family” or “partnership,” there are a constellation of seemingly-unrelatedâ€”or perhaps obviously-related, Iâ€™m not real big on nuanceâ€” experiences continually orbiting these great massive signifiers that hijack my psychic spaces. Family. Love. Abandonment. Ownership. What do I mean when I say â€œFatherâ€, exactly? What does it mean to belong to another person? Maybe the more I meddle, the more the entire premise of the question collapses. Maybe thatâ€™s what youâ€™re sensing.
2. How much of this story is â€œtrueâ€?
I fully expect the surviving members of the family Nyles Rudean Vinzant went on to have after he left my mother and me to contact me if they ever find this essay. Or hide from me. That is also an entirely reasonable reaction.
Also, my ex-boyfriend is pretty pissed about it.
3. Whatâ€™s Jung got to do with it? Can you really find a coincidence in patterns?
You might think patterns are coincidence, but they arenâ€™t. Theyâ€™re something much more important.
Well so Jungâ€™s telling us something really valuable when he says that synchronicity isÂ synchronicityÂ even if we call it coincidence. The whole world is a continually-revolving, shifting, altering and re-correcting set of mirrors, echoes, reiterations and/or convergences. (Those words are super arbitrary and Choose Your Own Adventureâ€”whichever is your favorite, you pretty much always end up at the bottom of the same well.) The vascular structure of the human brain directly mirrors the central trunk and branches of your standard deciduous tree; the network of capillaries in the human eyeball are eerily similar to the organized structure of veins in a leaf on said deciduous tree. People tend to organize systems of knowledge into trees (family trees, for exampleâ€”or if youâ€™re really gonna go to town, and let’s do it, I like extremesâ€”bloodÂ bonds). You can go ahead and call this whole discussion tautological, coincidentâ€”and you can be right. Meaning is a complex and incredibly variable personal construction. If all this is coincidence to you it’s all just coincidence.
But my moneyâ€™s on Jung: there are forces undergirding existence that we canâ€™t always measure and articulate butÂ canÂ identify through continually emerging cosmic patterns.
On a smaller scale, I can tell myself the story of my life and begin to notice the same sorts of patterns. That I didnâ€™t know my father-figure was dead and would never be able to want me againÂ beforeÂ I started chasing after older men who treated me like garbage and then threw me awayâ€”and then chasing after them some moreâ€”and then chasing after them some more after thatâ€” that it never once occurred to me to step in and intervene on my own behalf, to send those dudes packing–that it finally occurred to me that it was weird that it never occurred to me–that those events did not happen sequentially and in an identifiable pattern, doesnâ€™t mean they werenâ€™t dozens of voices jabberingÂ abandonment unlovableÂ in unison but at various pitches and amplitudes just beneath the surface of conscious thought, for pretty much my whole life.
That you are probably rolling your eyes right now becauseÂ oh my god THIS GIRLÂ is Jung, too: we are all living the stories weâ€™ve been passing around since, you know, the Venus of Willendorf. Ophelia. Delilah. Or Sylvia:Â The brute brute heart of a brute like you.Â (You look good, ladies. Holla back.)
I donâ€™t need to make a timeline or develop a formula or use cause and effect to understand how each part of this essay is articulating a spiritual vacancy that often acts as a primary driveâ€”synchronicity allows these events to emerge and re-emerge so strikingly thatÂ reasonÂ is not necessary, just a bonus. Truth is evident.
4. I love this sentence: â€œHere, where the galaxy can be compressed to an anxious procession of signifiers.â€ What is the most anxious signifier in this story?
Oh, hm. Well, I guess the one that actually appears in this story might be cunt? Although Iâ€™ve made great friends with that signifier and we like to drink gin and watch Cops together now. She helps me pick out sundresses and we talk so much trash all the time. TheÂ reallyÂ anxious signifiers in this story are the ones I was not even able to bring myself to write.
5. Why are people so callous sometimes?
Butler, Judith.Â Bodies that Matter: On the Discursive Limits of â€œSexâ€.Â New York: Routledge, 1993. Print
Grosz, Elizabeth.Â Volatile Bodies: Toward a Corporeal Feminism.Â Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994. Print
Kristeva, Julia.Â Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection. New York: Columbia University Press, 1982. Print
6. Tell me a little about your 7 orchids.
Last weekend a couple of girlfriends came over and we listened to the Alabama-Arkansas game on the radio while we re-potted our orchids. I gave one of them, a Phaleonopsis Alice Girl, away to Laura because sheâ€™s got a big sunny new apartment and she brought the potting mix. While we were picking the cheap moss potting media the orchids come in when you buy them from the grocery store off of the root structures and clipping away at the dead parts, we chatted about the way we writeâ€”which is to say we think and think and think about what we want to write and we donâ€™t actually write it. Itâ€™s a terrible habit. While I was elbow-deep in potting mix and bloviating, a mockingbird dive-bombed my head. This isnâ€™t the first time, either: birds and I, weâ€™re mortal enemies.
Orchids are a long wait and a spectacular payoffâ€”they bloom once every year or two, but they bloom for 3-6 months and the flowers are just the most exquisite little fanged creatures Iâ€™ve ever seen. They are notoriously fussy, though mine have never given me any trouble. I treat them like cats: I water them just a little, and often, I stroke their leaves and tell them how gorgeous they are, and I never ever try to move them out of the blocks of sunlight theyâ€™ve chosen to nap in. A few years ago I gave my mother an orchidâ€”my mother, who does not keep plants alive because she forgets about themâ€”it lives in her kitchen now and, like me, sheâ€™s become unreasonably attached to it. It just started to bloom again a few weeks ago. She emailed me a photo: flowers the size of dinner plates. Just stunning.