This body, written is a fictocritical memoir that will be approximately 90,000 words when completed. The first 20,000 words engage deeply with Hélène Cixous in particular. Many theorists have written about l’ecriture feminine, but few have attempted to produce the form. By writing memoir woven through with feminist theories of the body, I am laying my self over this page; I am asking you to see.
When Hélène Cixous told me to “write your self. Your body must be heard” (p. 880), the only thing I could do was answer. The only thing I could do was to take this queer body and inscribe it with text; to make new lines, to create a different space. To write fictocritically is to sing, to speak to theory and hear its echoes, is to push myself into a narrowing place and require an opening out.
Caren Kaplan writes that “the struggle in writing remains to be read” and that “staying alive… fuels the narrative engines of out-law genres” (p. 213). This fictocritical body is already an out-law (genre be damned): it insists on being written, on writing, on leaving more than traces on a page. It says thi
If I tell you the story of my body, I am telling you everything. Not just skin (I am more than the container, the keeper-in). I am telling you everything. I am reminded that I will need to be brave – it is always harder to open than to close. This work is indelicate, is abject and steeped with wonder, is real but not true, true but not real. This is what it is not: a survival story, a car crash at which you can’t not stare, a narrative of redemption, a neat end. When written, queer bodies, invisible bodies, bodies that resist, will create new genres. They will split what we know. They will ask us to read and be read. They will sing us to somewhere new.
Cixous, H., Cohen, K., & Cohen, P. (1976). The laugh of the medusa. Signs, 1(4), 875-893.
Kaplan, C. (1998). Resisting autobiography: out-law genres and transnational feminist subjects. In S. Smith & J. Watson (Eds.), Women, autobiography, theory: a reader. Wisconsin: The University of Wisconsin Press.
- Exposed (dianesimonelli.wordpress.com)