Spolia

A monthly literary magazine, devoted to the strange and to the wise. Edited by Jessa Crispin.

Issue 8--The Mind Issue
Joanna Kavenna, Curtis White, Dana Becker, Edith Södergran and others

To purchase this issue, visit www.spoliamag.com @spoliamag

I follow no law. I am a law unto myself.

Edith Södergran, "Power"

Carl and Emma Jung

Carl and Emma Jung

Psychiatrist/humanist/philosopher, author of The Master and His Emissary, Iain McGilchrist on the human mind and how hostile contemporary society is towards it.

(Could listen to Iain McGilchrist talk for ages.)

A Change to the Daphne Award Shortlist

caravaggio.jpg

Image by Caravaggio, murdering fuckhead

We made a change to the Daphne shortlist. We removed David Irving’s Destruction in Dresden in favor of Jessica Mitford’s The American Way of Death.

I have a… standard, let’s call it. I believe that it’s important to separate the art from the artist, but only when they are dead. When artists are raping or beating their wives and still up and around, I am of the opinion that you should not give them your money or support. Part of it is because of this here. Do I want that artist that I happen to like who murdered his wife and got away with it to have more money to do things with and enjoy his life? Do I want to express my value to him in the form of cash? No, not really. And it’s not like someone like Woody Allen needs my money at this point, but it’s the principle of the thing. My money is finite, I’ll give it to someone who isn’t an asshole.

Because of all that, letting Destruction in Dresden onto the shortlist, given that its author is a Holocaust denying fuckhead (alleged! He sues!) and is still alive, was a difficult decision to make. And I never quite felt okay with it, as much as I admire the book. After a couple conversations, and then bringing it to a vote with the nonfiction panelists, we decided to remove the book after all. And replace it with a Mitford, whose family knows all about being fuckheads, but okay. (That’s a really nice top you’ve got on, Unity, where’d you get it? It’s so cute, oh my god, really? Really, Unity Mitford?) Jessica was a tough babe, she’ll be fine.

I still think there’s an interesting conversation to be had around Destruction in Dresden, but maybe we’ll do it without the book in play. Stan Carey, one of our panelists, recommended Gregory Bateson’s Steps to an Ecology of Mind, which also discusses how we turn other people into something less than human, and don’t regret wiping them out.

As a result of all this, the Daphne Awards, which would have been announced May-ish, will probably have to be pushed back a little, we had a new book to order and distribute. (And read. And debate.) We’ll keep you posted.

Daphne Award nominee The Ice Palace by Tarjei Vesaas is like The Picnic at Hanging Rock + Tori Amos’s “Marianne” combined.

It is an obscure little gem, and by gem, I mean something cold and hard and exquisite.

Nicholas Kalmakoff, The Death

Nicholas Kalmakoff, The Death

Because the depressed person finds no possibility for life within the cloistered limits of the normal, she becomes radically open to other possibilities. She opens herself to the random. In this way, the depressed person becomes the portal of the beautiful. She becomes the creator of counter-worlds, other places where she might be able to live without being this miserable thing that she ineluctably is.

—Curtis White on the revolutionary potential of the depressed. (I love this piece.)

The brutes and the vegetables

If you put God outside and set him vis-à-vis his creation and if you have the idea that you are created in his image, you will logically and naturally see yourself as outside and against the things around you. And as you arrogate all mind to yourself, you will see the world around you as mindless and therefore not entitled to moral or ethical consideration. The environment will seem to be yours to exploit. Your survival unit will be you and your folks or conspecifics against the environment of other social units, other races and the brutes and the vegetables.

If this is your estimate of your relation to nature and you have an advanced technology, your chances of survival will be that of a snowball in hell. You will die either of the toxic by-products of your own hate, or simply, of over population and overgrazing. The raw materials of the world are finite.

If I am right, the whole of our thinking about what we are and what other people are has got to be restructured. This is not funny, and I do not know how long we have to do it in.

Gregory Bateson, Steps to an Ecology of Mind, 1972

Odilon Redon, The Flame: Goddess of Fire

Odilon Redon, The Flame: Goddess of Fire

Slut by Daphne Gottlieb

i die first

in every horror movie,
before the innocent boyfriend, the too-
curious best friend
and the foolhardy pal.
death comes blind fast
and easy, familiar as the top button of
my blouse popping open
and suddenly i’m an angel
on the cutting room
floor, wearing gore,
a blank stare, not much
more.

i do it over and over.
i can play
like this for hours.

sometimes i enter a dark
room and unbutton
my shirt, rock my hips 
side to side
until the killer’s music comes on.
then I button up
quick, laughing or
shaking, sometimes
both.

from the way i look
after i’m split open
you’d never know:
i was born a baby.
i still sleep
with my stuffed poodle.
her name is “tammy.”
after my parents divorced, i wet
the bed for a year.
i want to be a nurse.
my favorite color is blue.

first kiss at 12,
first shame at 13,
first blood at 14.
skipped four years
of gym, skimmed just the tips
of my stepfather’s
fingers, nothing more.
i never took my clothes off
for a doctor but my body
became a secret
handshake
all the boys knew
and i didn’t.
the ghost story
made me a ghost.

now, at 16,
i only remember my own
skin when i am touched.
it makes me real
when i strip down,
take it off, find the edges of my body
through your eyes or under
your hands, against your skin.
it feels like death
every time you
stop.

there is nothing i can do
except open my throat
and say the word for girls
who are the ghosts of want:

"slut."
i’ll take my shirt off
while you watch—
call it love
when the knife rips
through my ribs,
when the ice pick cracks
my chest, or however
it happens this time
but first

here’s my prayer:
that what happens to girls like me
who die dirty, give it up
with a shudder like pleasure—
pray that when we’re killed as martyrs
we get loved like saints.

- from her collection Final Girl

And you can find new work by Gottlieb all over our store.