When you suggested we wait closer to the proposed time to select a date I couldn’t have agreed more. Some people, I hear, are already planning Thanksgiving. Between you and me, I think they’re insane. I mean how many variables are between now and Thanksgiving? I can’t deal with too many variables at one time. So my general rule of thumb is to avoid looking beyond the end of the week. I don’t believe my cognitive capacity extends beyond 7 days in the future, though it does go for quite some time back into the past, but that’s because there are no variables involved. No vagaries or uncertainties. Nothing to predict. When I’m more than usually stressed my bubble shrinks to a span of 24 hours. That’s 1 day. Getting through the day becomes my central occupation, like alcoholics, addicts, participants in 12-step programs all over the globe. Occasionally, duringtime of great anxiety, I focus my attention on the present moment. When the present moment is absolutely all I can deal with, that’s what I do. However, when I realize that the present moment is not actually stable and defined, as I like to think it is, but constantly changing, that it is, in fact, ceaselessly shifting into the future moment, I realize that it is not just a moment all at, but eternity, masquerading as a moment, and I feel more than a little bit overwhelmed. I really need a pause, a full stop, a rest between the sentences. Sometimes I think that is all I need. Sometimes I think that would be enough to get me through the day.
Rereading American Psycho
I’ve been rereading American Psycho by Brett Easton Ellis and I’m trying to figure out what it is about this novel that so fascinates me. Most of it I can’t even read. The only reason I made it through to the conclusion the first go around was because one of my students was reading it. Maybe it’s the mind-numbing repetition, which is comforting. Or maybe it’s the use of metonymy. I can’t resist metonymy, even when it appears in the form of a Restaurant Slut (despite the misogynist nomenclature). Maybe it’s not the novel itself that attracts me, but its association with Psycho and American Gothic. This last reading I became mesmerized by the repetitive references to Les Miserables, which I kept thinking must form a pattern, but never did. What I’m thinking now is that the mystery calling my name is, ironically, the lack of pattern, the lack of meaning, which is the one thing I cannot possibly tolerate, so I keep going back, looking for some clue that I’ve missed.
Bio: Nettie Farris is the author of Communion (Accents Publishing, 2013), Fat Crayons (Finishing Line Press, 2015), and the micro-chapbook Story (Origami Poems Project, 2016). Her chapbook The Wendy Bird Poems is forthcoming from dancing girl press.