Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Assignment #1

While going through the readings I came to a screeching halt on the first section of Shelley Jackson’s Stich Bitch. I had to read it several times before and after the main text to get anything meaningfull out of it. It continues to intrigue me and I hope we can discuss it in section to see how other’s reacted to it. (this is the part of the text in question below)

“It has come to my attention that a young woman claiming to be the author of my being has been making appearances under the name of Shelley Jackson. It seems you have even invited her to speak tonight, under the misapprehension that she exists, that she is something besides a parasite, a sort of engorged and loathsome tick hanging off my side. May I say that I find this an extraordinary impertinence, and that if she would like to come forward, we shall soon see who is the author of whom.
Well? Well?
Very well.
I expect there are some of you who still think I am Shelley Jackson, author of a hypertext about an imaginary monster, the patchwork girl Mary Shelley made after her first-born ran amok. No, I am the monster herself, and it is Shelley Jackson who is imaginary, or so it would appear, since she always vanishes when I turn up. You can call me Shelley Shelley if you like, daughter of Mary Shelley, author of the following, entitled: Stitch Bitch: or, Shelley Jackson, that imposter, I'm going to get her.
I have pilfered her notes, you see, and I don't mind reading them, but I have shuffled the pages. I expect what comes of it will be more to my liking, might even sound like something I would say. Whoever Shelley Jackson may be, if she wants me to mouth her words, she can expect them to come out a little changed. I'm not who she says I am.”
--Shelley Jackson, Stich Bitch

When I first read this, and still now, I ask myself, “what is she trying to say?”Who Is Shelley Jackson? The Body or the Monster? Real or imaginary? Which is the subject and which is the reference. Is the Shelley Jackson the imposter, the ‘banished body”, the “magical body” that has actually turned on her and begun to speak, to accuse? Or is that Shelley Shelley, the body bag, treasure trove, telling stories she has never told? Is Shelley Jackson the linear one, and Shelley Shelley the tangental shuffler of notes? What is the Monster? Is it the Shelley that was born in hypertext, in cyperspace, through fiction? Or is that Shelley, birthed in hypertext, actually the banished body as she postulates later in the text? Just when I think I have it all worked out in my mind I read on and find that what I thought was the subject was in fact the reference. But maybe that is the point, that hypertext has made everything both a subject and a reference in a loop that can be endlessly traveled, the schizophrenia of hypertext that Jackson discusses later on. But is this all she is trying to say here or is there more? What is she trying to say about herself, the mind and body, hypertext, about anything? What does this prelude mean?

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