Like every work ever made—or like every work I have ever made—I've been thinking about these themes for a really long time. Maybe forever. These themes may be the only themes I ever make work about.
In any case, I have been sorting my experience and the things I want to say from the pile of shit that doesn't need to be said right now and it's agonizing.
Related to that, here is a list of books I have read on these themes:
I Love Dick // by Chris Krauss
I Have Devoted My Life to the Clitoris // by Elizabeth Hall
Sex Object // by Jessica Valenti
Shock Treatment // by Karen Finley
Blackout: Remembering The Things I Drank To Forget // by Sarah Hepola
The First Bad Man // by Miranda July
Girls & Sex // by Peggy Orenstein
Zami: A New Spelling of my Name // by Audre Lorde
The Chronology of Water // by Lidia Yuknavitch
Bad Feminist // by Roxanne Gay
Birds of America // by Lorrie Moore
Life Before Man // by Margaret Atwood
Major Problems in American Women's History // by Mary Beth Norton
Theater of the Oppressed // by Augusto Boal
Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality // by Christopher Ryan & Cacilda Jetha
Mating In Captivity: Reconciling The Erotic & The Domestic // by Esther Perel
Women Who Run With The Wolves // by Clarissa Pinkola Estés
Why read so much? Reading is calming and focusing for me. When I can look past my self-doubt and anxious comparisons to other people, I see ideas on a page. Some ideas I agree with and write down and try to keep in me forever, some sentences are the best I have ever seen and I do not ever try to be as good as them. (I am less than a sentence!) Some ideas seem outdated to me or like there's some shit I need to unpack in how they irritate me. Mostly, I just want to know what I'm talking about. When pressed, I want to speak eloquently and thoughtfully. I want to be fucking perfect and I suck at being embarrassed.
Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness.
I'm at a point now where I'm reducing everything. I'm making notes about impulses and desires and why is this here and how does it relate back? Dramaturgical mapping. A lot of crossing out. I'm realizing this work it is not ever going to cover all the things I want to say; it's not a book, and not even a book can do that. It can't say everything. But, the hope is that it creates a depth in the work—like the way water slips into cracks—that will counterbalance all the things that want to be said. Like my brain can release me back into the rest of me, into my heart, and into my thing of a body, and into the presence of time and space, into the grace of failure.
If I need to, my references can be traced back; my bibliography is my security blanket.