My beloved third grade teacher read this aloud to us over the course of several months, and I was so enthralled I quickly began tearing through the reMy beloved third grade teacher read this aloud to us over the course of several months, and I was so enthralled I quickly began tearing through the rest of the series. They became something of an obsession, and I dutifully collected several dozen of them; as such I'd wager that the roots of both my love of reading and my love of collecting books can be located here. The sense of camaraderie between the four siblings proved an endless source of great solace during some of my loneliest hours....more
In one specific way McCullers’s The Member of the Wedding was the most explicitly “queer” book I've read in a while: the term itself constantly, evenIn one specific way McCullers’s The Member of the Wedding was the most explicitly “queer” book I've read in a while: the term itself constantly, even obsessively reappears throughout this short novel, it repetition slowly developing into a kind of incantation, transforming material that could easily have become dull and unnoteworthy and trite into something rich and vivid and almost oversaturated with potential meaning. In McCullers’s capable hands the nondescript rural Southern town in which the novel is set is revealed to be an almost unbearably evocative psychological landscape pulsating with an intense emotional charge.
McCullers absolutely deserves her reputation as one of the great prose stylists of 20th century American literature, and with The Member of the Wedding she crafted a perhaps the great depiction of the archetypal queer childhood. Or at least it is to those of us who also grew up feeling suspended and isolated in tiny rural towns, just knowing in our bones--long before we had the means to recognize or articulate it--that there had to be something else out there...
"Then the spring of that year had been a long queer season. Things began to change and Frankie did not understand this change."...more
Mishima has long been one of the major blind spots in my ongoing exploration of queer lit, something rectified this year with my reading of ConfessionMishima has long been one of the major blind spots in my ongoing exploration of queer lit, something rectified this year with my reading of Confessions of a Mask. Alas, I was left surprisingly… indifferent by the experience. I fully admit that I often struggle with texts where suicide and other kinds of violence–towards the self or otherwise–are afforded prominent thematic positions, and I suspect this general disinclination was compounded by some fundamental problems with what feels like a dutiful but lumpy translation by Meredith Weatherby.
That all said, there was one great passage in the book that I still vividly remember read it one morning on the MUNI on my way to work: in two relatively short paragraphs Mishima managed to concisely explain how it is possible to have and maintain a split consciousness in regards to one’s sexuality, at once aware that his body is responding in a certain way and yet at the same time “never even dream[ing] that such desires… might have a significant connection with the realities of [his] ‘life.'” This one passage alone was enough for me to intuit that I should not write Mishima off completely, and so at the present I have filed both the author and his text under the category of “to return to someday.”