An in­tro­duc­tion

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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.

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