If you could have a dinner party and invite five authors - dead or alive - who would they be and what would you serve them?
If I could have a dinner party with five authors - alive or dead - I would invite Jacques Derrida, Selah Saterstrom, Susan Melrose, Brian Massumi and Gilles Deleuze. I was initially tempted to invite Plato or Nietzsche but I had second thoughts since Plato and Nietzsche may be so freaked out about entering the 21st century that they might not be lively conversationalists. Their slumber is now too sound and sweet and the Universe will not allow them to be plucked from its lullaby that gently rocks them in its cradle. I would be remiss not to invite Susan and Selah - my most beloved mentors - who would reverently and joyously test the veracity of the minds of Massumi, Deleuze and Derrida. The joyance of this thought far outweighs the triviality of the complexity in its making. If I may borrow notionally from Mark Strand ‘there is no happiness like mine / I am thinking about dining with philosophers!’ I am designing the invitations. I say to the Royal Mail carrier “Post-haste!” To a pair of ghostly loyal servants “Let us set the table together. Parchments and Monte Blanc pens for everyone!” Since only two of the six do not speak French, justice requires a chef from Le Cordon Bleu, however I am not convinced that if this group will imbibe foodstuff since the nourishment of philosophy is all the sustenance we will require.
What is a book that you wish you could say that you had written and why?
I will share with you something I find inspiring that Nietzsche wrote: “Every artist knows how different from the state of letting himself go, in his “most natural” condition, the free arranging, locating, disposing, and constructing in the moments of “inspiration” – and how strictly and delicately he then obeys these laws, which, by their very rigidness and precision, defy formulation by means of ideas (even the most stable idea has, in comparison therewith, something floating, manifold, and ambiguous in it.).” How does an artist create? This is the question. I have such a profound admiration and reverence for the writers that I admire that I cannot imagine having the desire to take credit for something I did not write nor would I change a single word. The poet Elena Georgiou, who was one of my professors at Goddard College, told me, “Always look for the good in the text.” I believe Georgiou’s positive principle is useful not only in terms of literary criticism, but also in terms of living. What I am suggesting here is that it is easy to point out something useful in text when we enjoy reading it but developing the ability to find something useful in what we do not enjoy is a valuable skill. I stopped wishing things would be different than they are a number of years ago. I am quite content with the way the universe is despite all of the tragic things that have happened to me, to my family, to my country and to the world. I am far too perplexed with the complexity of my own work to think about making changes to the work of others or to devise a plan to lay claim to work that is not my own.