I have six, maybe ten, half started, half completed, mostly disorienting blog posts saved as drafts. It’s infuriating because I edit them again and again; I change the title, I change all the words. I rearrange the paragraphs, I add sentences and I delete sentences. I switch topics in the middle of the story, the post starts out as a reflection on the linguistic gems that occur when French people speak English and ends as a rant against the New York Times obsession with white, upper-middle class, East Coast, “problems.” And recipes for Provençal chicken. But I’m probably just mad because I too am a bitchy East Coast, New York Times reading, work-obsessed, maniac.
Two major things that hold me back currently are the dissertation I am writing, and recent spikes in the severity of my mental illness. One day, I do stand by this, I will have a frank discussion on the internet about mental illness. I believe it needs to be done. But in the meantime you should support the “End the Stigma” organizations that work hard to properly educate people about what mental illness is.
The dissertation I am writing is consuming not only my time but also most of my waking thoughts. I am avoiding my email, I hide my phone, and I trying to figure out what would happen if I hid in the library before they closed it. Does the wifi stay on? Do they lock the bathrooms? As long as the answers to those questions are yes and no respectively, I could move into the library.
Wilfred Owen was an English soldier during World War 1. He died at the age of 25, during battle in France, where he is buried. He was killed only days away from November 11th, 1918. Based on everything I’ve read about Owen, and everything I have read that he’s written, I am deeply in love. Owen was a genius with words, a genius who had to replace his pen with a gun. Isn’t this all still so relevant today? Poor Charlie.
In keeping with my own traditions, I am also in love with a dead French man. Albert-Paul Granier joins Rimbaud and Camus, history’s more famous lovers, and writers. No one knows about Granier; even studies published about World War 1 poetry after 2008 don’t mention him. Granier was discovered in 2008 by chance, when a writer with writer friends found his manuscript at a garage sale in Northern France, and it luckily fell into the right hands. I believe Granier is Owen’s French counterpart. Granier was 29 when he was blown up out of his airplane in 1917. He also rests now in a small cemetery in a remote village. I hope someday to visit.
I think the age thing has been freaking me out because of the war. In 1914 most major European powers mobilized their youth, and then had them all killed by other Europeans. Those who survived had nothing left do but write Modernist literature and paint elephants on stilts because really, industrialized warfare is fucked up. Now it’s 101 years later. We need new metaphors.