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Maggie Nelson

The Argonauts

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    The sooner you can pry the twofer apart, the sooner you can dispense with one constituent of the relationship: the woman with rights.
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    Visibility makes possible, but it also disciplines: disciplines gender, disciplines genre.
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    The aim is not to answer questions, it’s to get out, to get out of it
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    [Single or lesbian motherhood] can be seen as [one] of the most violent forms taken by the rejection of the symbolic . . . as well as one of the most fervent divinizations of maternal power—all of which cannot help but trouble an entire legal and moral order without, however, proposing an alternative to it.
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    the punk allure of “no future” won’t suffice, either, as if all that’s left for us to do is sit back and watch while the gratuitously wealthy and greedy shred our economy and our climate and our planet
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    But generally speaking, even in the most radical feminist and/or lesbian separatist circles, there have always been children around (Cherríe Moraga, Audre Lorde, Adrienne Rich, Karen Finley, Pussy Riot . . . the list could go on and on).
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    but your very presence in the public sphere begins to congeal difference into a single figure, and pressure begins to bear down hard upon it
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    “I still see homosexuality as a narrative of urban adventure, a chance to cross not only sex barriers but class and age barriers, while breaking a few laws in the process—and all for the sake of pleasure. If not, I might as well be straight,” Benderson says.
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    It reminds us that any bodily experience can be made new and strange, that nothing we do in this life need have a lid crammed on it, that no one set of practices or relations has the monopoly on the so-called radical, or the so-called normative.
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    In Christina’s feminist theory class, we also read Irigaray’s famous essay “When Our Lips Speak Together,” in which Irigaray critiques both unitary and binary ways of thinking by focusing on the morphology of the labial lips
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    Christina was mortified. Like Butler, she’d spent a lifetime complicating and deconstructing identity and teaching others to do the same, and now, as if in a tier of hell, she was being handed an index card and a Sharpie and being told to squeeze a Homeric epithet onto it.
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    Genitalia of all stripes are often slimy and pendulous and repulsive. That’s part of their charm.
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    Deleuze and Guattari called this flight: becoming-animal, becoming-woman, becoming-molecular. A becoming in which one never becomes, a becoming whose rule is neither evolution nor asymptote but a certain turning, a certain turning inward, turning into my own / turning on in / to my own self / at last / turning out of the / white cage, turning out of the / lady cage / turning at last.
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    Act so that there is no use in a centre: a piece of Steinian wisdom Carson says she tries to impart to her students.
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    the concept of leaving a space empty so that God could rush in.
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    Anne Carson in which she answers certain questions—the boring ones? the too personal ones?—with empty brackets [[ ]]
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    Cordelia could not heave her heart into her mouth. Who can?
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    Forcing myself to shut up, pouring language onto paper instead: this became a habit. But now I’ve returned to copious speaking as well, in the form of teaching.
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    “As we became less sure what came from one, what came from the other, or even from someone else, we would become clearer about ‘What is it to write?’”
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    The inexpressible may be contained (inexpressibly!) in the expressed, but the older I get, the more fearful I become of this nothingness, this waxing lyrical about those I love the most (Cordelia).
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