Reading THE ARGONAUTS

Maggie Nelson says that the self is relational. She also says the “sodomitical mother” defines a space for the child to be me and not me, to be of the mother and not of the mother. Then she says she may have violated this space by writing about Iggy (her child). Is this not saying the self is relational? To say that there is a line between you and me is not to say we don’t sometimes cross that line.

(Sodomitical mother is Susan Fraiman’s term.)

Nelson also writes pleasure. The text spills over with vitality and is simultaneously stopped by it when giving birth slips into the reality of a partner’s parent dying, even as one’s own body breaks open. Pleasure is born of pain, and vice versa.

Do I take Nelson’s idea of pleasure to mean what one finds pleasurable? Can I give myself over to the idea that every moment contains pleasure alongside any other experience, whether that be pain or sadness? Is it possible that I have been amiss or off course in seeking peace, and that pleasure makes more sense as a state of being because it is ever present and does not need to be sought or created?

Is this a spiritual transgression, this being satisfied with the pleasure that is here instead of seeking the peace that forever eludes?

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