For Monday’s #ENGL496 class we spoke about several texts, one of which being Cornelia St. John’s “The Voice, Language, and the Gendered Self.” While not explicitly referenced, this text worked as a major influence in my blog post from yesterday. While I think said influence is a bit difficult for me to parse in a way that makes sense outside of my own head, it’s definitely worth a go.
Although I’m not a proponent of psychoanalysis, I appreciate the form of “The Voice, Language, and the Gendered Self” as a series of seemingly asynchronous vignettes. I’m personally a big fan of form mirroring story in some way, and as a case study on dysfluent speech I found the dysfluency of the vignettes to be an enjoyable experience.
While the mythological origin is something which is also spoken to in Katherine Preston’s Out With It, I absolutely see the history of my own dysfluent speech as something which is better described in asynchronaity than in linearity. This said, in contemplating the effect of a presentation of effect as an asynchronous series of events my mind absolutely ended up at trying to truly parse a life-narrative outside the constrains of narratological frames such as fabula (narrative) and sjuzhet (form/telling). Even in conceptualizing narrative to be a “series of events”–or otherwise a series of cause and effect–we’re bound by language to recognize the form as leading either to or from a moment of primacy. In “Fabula and Sjuzhet in the Analysis of Narrative: Some American Discussions” Jonathan Culler offers examples of narrative “which do not give rise to harmonious synthesis” in “assum[ing] the primacy of event” (35). Later in the essay, however, Culler admits that “even […] in [the] most unliterary of narratives, we find the same problematic relationship between the determinations of fabula and the discourse of sjuzhet” (36). So, perhaps obviously, through the use of language (or, the English language at the very least) we’re always trapped into the confines of cause and effect whether we want to admit it or not.
At this point it’s probably appropriate to ask, “So what? What does this have to do with yesterday’s post?” In deciding to write separate personal vignettes for both my introductory post as well as my post yesterday I have already made efforts to desynchronize (or… perhaps… “stutter”) my experiences so as to either obscure or remain ignorant of my own mythological origin with regard to dysfluency. In truly considering “The Voice, Language, and the Gendered Self” as a major influence on my writing, however, I believe in the necessary conclusion that there is a required moment of origin inherent to even the most personal or asynchronous of writing. I mentioned this on Twitter last night, but moving forward it is a likely byproduct of this internal dialogue (and, honestly, the absolute fuck-tonne of anxiety I feel in sharing even the least personal of writing) that I find myself needing to move to an expressive point-of-view which is less personal. But, of course, only time will tell whether or not the anxieties I feel over yesterday’s post will bring such a major tonal shift to fruition.