The Moonstorm in Writing: How Body Reads Its Way into Text.
My talk attempts to uncover the memory - that is mapped from our bodily experience - into life, taking writing as its evidence. How to excavate those eruptions of body into writing that may indicate a more ‘true’ sense of self? My primary example is Anais Nin’s work. She uses the term ‘moonstorm’ to describe her menstrual cycle to illustrate how the body intrudes into her intellectual pursuit of writing. Nin laments menstruation as being uncreative in a formalistic, logical way. Is it possible that glitches in text (that I will use as examples) can be ‘body talk’ as she streams her unconscious? Or is trying to discover the corporeal in writing a fruitless exercise? If it is not, how do these two essential aspects of self – intellectual understanding and bodily experience - integrate in the written word? This is what I find intriguing about reading autobiographical texts by writers. Autobiographical writing is becoming increasingly paramount in many forms of current writing and often seems to be masquerading as fiction. Anais Nin was a harbinger of the personal, autobiographical discourse. She was a writer who didn’t intend to publish her diary and her first attempts to get her fiction published were not very successful, perhaps because she saw no separation between her life and her work. Her fiction trespassed the traditional boundaries of her era. However, with the fame from her published ‘personal life deeply lived’, Nin became an icon to students in the 1960s. Julia Kristeva’s concepts of chora, genotext and phenotext are also helpful to this analysis particularly looking at desire, creativity and pain. This talk also points towards the basis of a conundrum between science/technology and humanities: how is it possible to re-introduce corporeal aspects of human experience into science-driven ‘objective’ thought outcomes.
Keywords: Excavating Memory, Erupting Body, Text, Corporeal Experience
Executive Director, Publishing, People Learn Productions Inc