Student Leto Rankine reacts to Bhanu Kapil’s recent BathHouse reading:
A Way to Talk and to Write
Bhanu Kapil has a very nice voice. It is the kind of British accent that doesn’t make her sound smarter (not that she didn’t seem smarter) but instead lent a rhythm to the reading of Humanimal and to what she was saying about her writing (and writing in general) that made the ideas sound accessible.
The occult. How my writing finds me. Populate that figure person or creature not multiply but appear again. Vibration in the world. Substituted place. Barely prepared for the vibration of the jungle. Face the wall.
She speaks of signifiers in her umwelt, used by her to find her way through the process of writing. The population is a repetition of these signs, by staying open to these she is guided. Occult. The way she finds a book not on purpose that compels a story. A movement of her body that aligns her with.
Failure is very useful. Narrative as orbital. From an inability to write the story. Fractal.
Space of a novel. Contracted. Document: ways to write about events that have no aftermath.
The effects of an the event rather than narrative. That in integrates non fiction elements in with these lucid operations.
She speaks of the original manuscript and how it strayed from the story that needed to be said of Amala and Kamala. Rejected. Two hundred and seventy eight pages. Rejceted. How the story evolved or devolved to the three narratives of the sixty four page book: hers as a visitor to a place, her father’s leaving of that place, and Amala. Being in that place and how it populated itself.
Immigrant narrative. What it means to get up and go. Thresholds we cannot see speak again. Life is not going to be like this. You have to have a different life. The disapperance of memory. Where are those seeds where are those places.
Her father’s story. The picture in the middle of the book: his scarred leg laid under a map of the place of his origin in England. She speaks of the body and writing, of a new project, of schizophrenia.
India blood violence refugee. Trigger. Moves up in the world. More white than black faces. Low level subtle forms of racism. Cultural schizophrenia. Return to the real.
Not from the reading. From where she sits in a big window room, talking about our posh library and a robot arm. Perched on the back of chair, talking about a 300 euro coat, her face looking happy but also like there is an intention, a thought that she’s holding with a concentration. Her accent is nice.
At the reading she says to always say yes. Does some things while she reads. Pulls hair. Drops paper. I just liked having the story read to me.