My own parents solved the Seventh Day problem thusly: Mondays with my mother, Tuesdays and Wednesdays with my father, Thursdays with my mother and alternating Fridays and weekends. This schedule continued with precisely no variations from first grade to age 16, at which point my father left town to take a professorship elsewhere. I broke it only once, in early teenagerdom, to escape a particularly vicious fight my father was having with his girlfriend. I called my mother to come over and get me. It was a significant call: to change the schedule was to change the very ordering mechanism that made my family intelligible.
Various moments from his novels sprung to mind. I thought of the way the title character in Ada keeps falling out of trees. I thought of poor Professor Pnin tripping up the stairs. I thought of how the adulterer’s button catches in the adulteress’s lace shirt just as the cuckolded protagonist of Laughter in the Dark is about to catch them. And it occurred to me that, more than any other of the films that make up the Laurel and Hardy “type,” Nabokov’s novels are most akin to the films of the Marx Brothers.
No so-called serious writer wants to see herself as part of a marketplace, even if it’s a marketplace of ideas. Genre fiction is frightening to literary writers because it openly references the conditions of its production.
It isn’t so hard to be a trans man anymore, especially if you are the kind that populates Adam: white, of affluent or comfortably middle-class parentage, a graduate of an elite college, living in a city in the first or second decade of the 21st century. In fact, sometimes, it is very good indeed.
the self at the bottom of the toilet bowl: on the literature of shit
The more I paid attention to shit in the books I read, the more I realized I have some kind of cursed superpower. If a book doesn’t have shit in it, I won’t remember it. If it has shit in it, I won’t ever forget it.
There was a time when I attempted to step outside gender, to be the woman in the astro-nautical chef uniform manipulating the translucent box of ideology. Or rather, to be the person. To become interchangeable. To become stock.