What's in a Name (Revision of previous post)

Antagonism will only rouse animosity.

Not everything you say will be taken on board.
Not everything you are interested in will I find interesting.

This is another point.

We are united based on difference not pinpoint understandings.
Understanding the other is the least productive activity.


- to stir my insides and tear it into pieces, being far more excited by the unanswerable than the satisfaction and comfort produced by the...


- how is one expected to produce and write if not continuously foiled by what one thought to be right and what one thought to be truthful. Really it is the deception of perception that rendered this disposition. Blame the skin. Blame the concealment of interior with it's sense of touch and it's responsibility to protect.

Tell me then, how is it that a name can hold anything more than the key to authenticity? How can it unlock a piece of writing? How can a piece of writing create more of an impact due to the addition of a name so anonymous as my own? Who is it that wants to know me? And in addition how might they know the purpose of what I have told without sitting with them, and allowing them to take a scalpel to my protective layer and remove my innards with a fish knife. All of which, may I add, would have to take place whilst I continue to breathe.

Read my previous work and sure enough you find clues, similarities, structures, and characters, you find the same thing over and over, my word is truthful, my stories are riddled with holes. There is after all a 'hole' in 'whole'. For you, the loss of authors name is infuriating, but if Banksy were to reveal his face, would we be anymore wiser as to his identity? And here I am (or due to the temporality of this post, there I was) sitting opposite you, who I do not know, listening to your words, taking them on board despite the fact that I do not know you. Are you then any less valid. Is a name not only a point of reference? Or is it something that identifies us as beings? Does a name give us identity? Am I in trouble with my 'self', because by granting me with a name in 1986 my parents placed onto me something to which I identify my 'self'......

Imagine it in reverse. How frustrating it is to have people read your work but to never know them. Or worse to talk to people, to live with someone and never know them. To make love to someone and never. truly. know them. Why should I offer any other sort of courtesy? As it happens, (the work discussed - this is me venting by the way) it is a one off piece of work intended to gather a completeness (or deterioration) through a series of unknown authors. Unity in difference. Commonality through the individual. But it stands. The addition of my name, the removal of my name, whether it antagonises, as you have me, becomes completely arbitrary. You take it, or you leave it. My name means nothing around these, or any parts. I hold no value to it at this moment in time where I am building a body. I'll decide the name once I have given birth to the beast. (Frankenstein never named his monster, to do so may have helped people anthropomorphisise him, accept him, maybe then that is why people struggle at Halloween. Or perhaps it was the collapse of the two personalities - who was the real monster?)

As an a-side what then lies in a pseudonym? How does that effect the reader? I once had a male tutor who told me he had published poetry under various female names. Would this then effect the trace of the author, a complete disembodiment of author, which is then displaced onto an empty shell. A male with a female voice, or perhaps a female with a male voice. Or a complete lie, an untruth with no trace for anyone to follow. Would this be washing the blood from the page, so to speak. Your hands are clean, it is removed from your conscious, there is no DNA to be traced.

Sylvia Plath worked under the name Victoria Lucas when publishing the Bell Jar. Does the book mean more now that we know it was her? I would say yes. The active 'suicide' of the author within this piece some how lessens it. Although a fictive piece we need to draw parallels to Plath's own life before we can see it as anything more than just a piece of fiction. Without her, there are access points that elevate it to a worth while read if you are of 'that' nature. The attachment of Plath to this work suddenly seemed to make it comprehensible, it was somehow the revelation of the true author and the association with her own struggles and actual suicide which granted it resonance. Did it need the name to achieve acclaim? If so then when does an author's work become the 'work' of an author? Can 'work' become defined as any old shit found lying around once present to the respective author. Foucault mentions this in essay "What is an Author?" Should we have burnt Kafka's unfinished novels rather than re-assemble them - does the re-assembly of a piece then somehow displace authorship. If an author dies should his possessions be looted in order to find newness. Shopping lists, marginalia, abandoned pieces, notes. It is a doodle that a child has left in a white cube gallery having a pointed finger shook at it declaring, "LOOK, it is in this building, then it is art." How much should we rely on the institution of author for authenticity and credibility? Vladimir Nabokov died over and over again. After his real death, he published his final (unfinished) novel The Original of Laura subtitled 'dying is fun'. An aging novelist attempting to erase himself with the end of his pencil, unfinished, echoed in his death and his remains. To erase the name of the author is not possible, as it remains, a living institution beyond death, - fitting then that the novel was never finished. What I was left with from Kafka's 'The Trial' became paranoia and self incarceration through the waiting and unknowing of Josef K's verdict, reflected in it's state, we will never know and we will never finish. Who/what is absence? What needs to remain for a piece of writing to become present. The simple answer then is a voice. Who is speaking? Who cares? The death of the Author has been discussed to death since Barthes published his essay "The Death of the Author" in 1967. Unfortunately I wasn't around. It just goes without saying now. It's down to the reader, you either know the author or you don't, if you don't then you look for access points and gaps which you polyfill with your own experience. If you do the gaps are filled with some light research. But all the same, I want to keep control in order to lose control. I want readers to connect with me and each other by scarring my work with their own experiences. I want them to publicly execute the author - or at least assist in my suicide.

(After note:
This all started because I bad tutorial I had with a visiting tutor. She was deliberately undermining, and antagonistic towards my choices and work. We had completely opposing fundamental research interests, mine otherness and hers character which cast very argumentative/defensive/condescending cloud over the conversation. Although I held my own I believe these type of tutorials to hold no value beyond intensive reflection on why I believe myself to be right and absolutely no aid at all towards improved production... etc... anything she did say that I could have taken from the situation was overshadowed and forgotten or rebelled against.)

I think I can write again now.

No comments: