(So I’ve decided I’m trying to catalog the things I love in 2019. (Not necessarily things created in 2019.))
(Starting now. This is the first one!)
This is a thing I love in 2019: How It Feels by Jenny Zhang
How It Feels is an essay on poetry and its place in a culture where, culturally, we’ve decided that emotion is humiliating.
GOSH I love Jenny Zhang. Lately it’s been hard for me to create anything, because I’m perpetually embarrassed by anything I have to say. (Well, not anything I have to say; just anything that, like, matters to me.)
…I’m trying to unlearn this! And this essay is encouraging me to look at my own work with more kindness.
OK Jenny, thank you. I will attempt to be 3% less embarrassed by my existence.
Also this essay is SO beautifully written. Wholly unsurprising if you’ve read Jenny Zhang’s work before but aghghghsdf I can’t help but marvel every time.
“I found it so incredibly generous — to be just as ugly as anyone but to emphasize that ugliness over and over again, to let yourself be the subject of your art and to take all the pummeling and the eye-rolling and the cruel remarks and the who cares? and the that’s not art that’s just a scorned woman unable to let go.”
“We built our private little world through these mistakes, and like everyone else falling in love we tried to become one entity, impenetrable through our arsenal of inside jokes, through a language that other people could not understand or use.”
“I think everyone wants to make something touchable, but most of us don’t out of fear of being laughable. I’m not saying I’m fearless.”