because she's written very differently I think

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Jezebel: You quote Eileen Myles—“My dirty secret has been that it’s of course all about me”—in The Argonauts. I’m wondering how you think Myles’s next sentence also applies to your process or thinking about your work, if it does: “But I have been educated to believe I’m no one so there’s a different self operating and I’m desperate to unburden my self of my self so I’m coming from nowhere and returning.”


Maggie Nelson: I think Eileen had a very different, less privileged upbringing than my own—as she has written elsewhere, she was always being told “don’t think you’re anything special,” so she was just happy to see her name in the phone book. Whereas I was fully encouraged to think of myself as worthwhile and fully expected by competitive parents to “achieve,” etc. But that aside, her comment here means everything to me, because within this “coming from nowhere and returning” is probably the key, to put it bluntly, to how we’re going to get ourselves and each other out of the disaster we’ve made on this planet. I can explain this further but I think I’ll let it stay vague for the moment. But I know exactly what she means, and it’s key.