I lost my virginity earlier than most people I know. The one line in my journal mentioning it simply said: “I lost it today.” What strikes me, looking at that entry now, is the cold factuality of those words, that nothing else I could have written would have been that true, that exact. Yet I am pulled, also, to how myriad the phrase is – both in its literal sense of losing one’s virginity, but also as a colloquial claim of having lost one’s mind, one’s self – all of which were faithful to how I felt.
“Notebook Fragments” works as supposed entries in a journal, something I had always wanted to do – the journal having an innately queer quality to it. For me, as for many queer people, the journal, the diary, the notebook, whatever you want to call it, is a place where we can store the parts of ourselves the world (including at times even our loved ones) might not know how to understand or accept. To render my experience into language, even for no one else’s eyes but my own, can be a liberating act, albeit a small one. But I think it's the small acts, as small as letters on the page, that add up to saved lives, saved ideas of selves. My entry from today, July 26, 2016:
“11:35 am Umbria, Italy. Two hours ago, before writing this, I fell from my bed and woke up on the tiles of this hotel room. My head hit the laptop, which I stupidly put on the floor when I got tired last night. Glad the screen did not break. My elbow and hip hurt a little. I think I’m okay. For now the light looks like it won’t change. See you later.”
With this poem, I wanted to insist that this notebook form, as it encompasses the mundane language and images of quotidian life, is still worthy of a poetic project in the same way the sonnet or sestina or haibun are. This idea of making a piece of art not as elevated life, but simply more life, excited me. The notebook is a place where we can lose ourselves and still be held, if only by language in language, which makes it rare and worth it, I think.