photo: Melissa Gira Grant
“I wanted us to be so naked with each other,” Acker/Laure writes to Bataille, “that the violence of my passion was amputating me for you.” But “as soon as you saw that I got pleasure from yielding to you, you turned away from me… You stated that you were denying me because you needed to be private. But what’s real to you isn’t real to me. I’m not you. Precisely: my truth is that for me your presence in my life is absence.”
- Steven Shaviro, quoting Kathy Acker as Laure as if writing a love letter to Georges Bataille
I carry every love letter I wrote to B in a Gmail label on my phone. They aren't all love letters; they pitch and shift through six months of taking a conversation that began in public, across two blogs, into a more protected space.
For the last two months, I've been publishing these letters to readers who bought a subscription. I have four months left to send these letters, in which the reader receives my half of the correspondence, time-shifted one year after I wrote and sent them to B.
It's called What Price Love? and so far, in sum, love is priced at about a thousand dollars.
"...for me your presence in my life is absence."
I think about how I have made a living exposing sex, including my own, for the last 14 years. How nearly anything we are supposed to do for love but instead accept money for can be defamed – by someone uncomfortable with that exchange and our decision to enter into it – as "prostitution." Is selling a love letter prostitution? Is telling you to buy it somehow worse? I want you to read them but ...
An excerpt from Take This Book: The People's Library at Occupy Wall Street, an extended essay by Melissa Gira Grant, forthcoming in print, epub, and as a Kindle single. Available to support on Kickstarter.
Instagram Photo by Melissa Gira Grant
"Philosophically," Jaime, one of the librarians, said, "the books stay with the occupation."
There had been a dry run, too, the night the Occupiers prepared for the city to evict them. On October 13, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that Brookfield Properties, which legally owned the park, wanted to clean Zuccotti, and the Occupiers anticipated that the mayor would also send in the New York Police Department to remove them. So the Occupiers took this order both graciously and defiantly: They would clean the park themselves, and early in the morning, when the cops and the cleaners were to arrive, the Occupiers would refuse to leave. Someone posted an invitation to Facebook on the day of the cleanup, calling people to gather before Wall Street's opening bell, and to bring brooms and mops and pails. All day, wearing ponchos and latex gloves, Occupiers scrubbed the stone steps of Zuccotti, swept the grounds, and straightened their camp's stations. As night fell, some of the camp's infrastructure was
echocam, artvamp.com, 2000
Maybe half of being a camgirl was talking about being a camgirl – not just turning a webcam on yourself and by extension your life, but documenting how your life changed from having turned a webcam on it. We were only doing this for a little while, from sometime in the late 1990's until about whenever mobile phone cameras became commonplace (let's say until the early 2000's.) Apple may also have had a hand in killing the camgirl, packaging webcams into the shells of our laptops. By extension our webcams were made less unusual, less intimate, and much less urgent. Though the golden years of camgirls were brief, they coincided with the rise of the web itself.
Screenshot, anacam.com, 2000