Who are you?! Whoever you are – whether you write the hybrid or live it – I hope this checklist is useful for you. It is designed as a way to assess your final manuscript at the end of G3 or at any point during G4! (At any stage, in other words, that you find yourself with accumulated materials that have begun to stir/orient of their own accord.) Perhaps you are reading this in a post-graduate space. Perhaps you are a person with 1001 fragments who lives in Lahore (where my grandfather once played chess with a Russian bookseller every Tuesday afternoon) and has no idea what Goddard College is, but was, for some reason, googling “monster” and “paragraph” today. Here you are:
MONSTER CHECKLIST: [I have made your checklist extreme. To compensate. To give you more than you need. To deliver an excess. See: early statements, via Elizabeth Grosz, on art-making and excess.]
[Have your sequence next to your notebook and journal in response to these questions. Your answers might also propagate material that could be returned to your essay or manuscript: whatever it is you understand as the series of ideas, scenes or works you want to assess]:
1. State the design goal for your collected work thus far: implicit here are both your intentions and your failures.
2. What kind of paper do you want to print your work on? [Larissa Lai]
3. What is happening with the body in your writing? What is happening as kinship/cross-touch/exchange/transfer between “animal, vegetal and digital” [Lai] domains?
4. How does [do] the body or bodies in your sequence move through a larger social space or territory? What is the crisis of this larger space?
5. As you did when you were a reader, create a “live narration” [Jen Hofer] no longer than a paragraph, of your sequence thus far. This could be a list of gestures or radiant nodes tracked by your own readers, or a combination of what you also — are startled/delighted by in your own work. Or: this could be a radical translation of some kind.
6. Can you bring the internal spaces of vital [bodily] life — the work with movement, gesture, membranes — to the space/matter of transitions between pieces or within the sequence.
Soft tissue that is scarred is abraded/healed through XFF. Cross fiber friction. Can you create a diagonal cut or mark/erasure at the end of one piece and the beginning of the next?
Thinking about Juliana Spahr’s of: individual/communal progression. Is the space between texts a place to open to the communal? How? With a question? With an attention to the materials of construction? Direct address? Look back through class findings to cull strategies. Pronouns. An ethics. A tracking of the social space of .
Via Glora Anzaldua’s Luz En Lo Oscuro, which was there one day. In the class shrine. Create a more folded environment at the thresholds of pieces. Beginnings and endings. Or of the frame as a whole. How? Last week and the week before, we spoke about atomization, figuration, slowed down or variegated time. Repetition. Again, see: class findings. And why is the fold visceral? Because it is both peristaltic and absorptive. It is polyrhythmic. See: the intestinal tract. Or the surfaces of alleyway walls in Cairo.
Place pressure on the sequence. How? Is there a body? A character? Introduce a new body [figure]. The potential for encounter. Or have what [who] is already in the sequence — as body or narrator or I or not I — reach out: and touch. Something. Initiate the spectrum of agency: relation, oppression, desire….
7. “Do you feel love for your design?” — David, Undergraduate student, architecture program, Pratt Institute. (I was there to participate in a symposium on Trauma and Architecture. David let me son hang out with him in the tectonics studio while I gave my talk. He said this to my son at the end of a day of building something from balsa wood and discarded metal.)
8. “Perhaps specificities and endpoints are not what we need.” Larissa Lai. Can you make an aesthetic statement about your engagement with the vital forms of our class: monster, hybrid, assemblage, gesture and so on. How did the category, Hybrid, generate a restless feeling in you? I am trying to ask you to address the emotion you have or do not have about the activity of having revised your sequence. What unfolded for you, both in germinal ways and also this last part of the process, when the thing begins to move or falls apart on its own bones? What do know about the culture and sociality underlying your work? Your drive to imagine? Your connection to another world?
9. What is the dream of your work? What is being imagined? Write: an aesthetics of the future that is rooted in your own creative practice for this class. [See: Larissa Lai’s notion of The Insurgent Architect Dreams the Future.]
10. What is the place of the fragment in your work? What sensations accompany the fragment or are propagated by it?
11. What will you carry with you?
12. What will you leave behind?
13. Assess the biopolitics of your piece. What forms of cosmic and earthly contact or expression are happening in your piece? This is a question about incubation: the capacity of a text to mutate. This is a question about what nourishes your monster or wakes it up. How will you make the lightning bolt strike the tulip?
14. How did you fail?