Out of the Closet: My OTHER Writing Self
So… you know what I write, right? YA novels that you can’t wait to get your hands on (and give to people you love). What Can’t Wait. The Knife and the Butterfly.
Well. There’s another Ashley.
Most of the time, she lives in a book-lined closet.
That Ashley is an Academic. And she writes Scholarly Stuff. I’ve got a couple of academic publications under my belt, and I’m proud of this work, too, even though it’s probably of interest to about .00001% of human beings. And maybe that’s optimistic. Probably Cervantes–if he were alive–wouldn’t be one of them. (See why this Ashley stays in the closet?)
But it’s writing. And it matters. And I will now tantalize you with an excerpt from my recently published article on part of Cervantes’ Don Quijote. Actually, it’s about a self-contained novella inside of Don Quijote in which two men use a woman (the wife of one, the lover of the other) as leverage in their relationship:
But in the case of “El curioso impertinente”—with the single exception of Camila’s dagger thrust—what we see is precisely the rigorous exclusion of female desire from the closed relationship between Anselmo and Lotario, making Girard’s model keenly relevant. Indeed, even the narrator, whose voice is emphatically male, participates in the restrictive structuring of the concepts through which Camila becomes intelligible to them only as an object and instrument. The men’s relationship to Camila is both parasitic and perverse in its insistent objectification: she is gold to be tested (1.33:403), a fine diamond (1.33:408), an imperfect animal (1.33:408), a relic to be adored but not touched (1.33:409), a snow-white ermine (1.33:409), a beautiful garden (1.33:409). Camila can be all of these things because she is to them a kind of magic mirror (a crystal mirror, Lotario says), onto which shifting images may be projected (1.33:409).
You can read the whole thing here. If you want. I D-double-dog dare you. And if I’m ever in your town and you can prove that you read this article, I’ll buy you a drink.
And now you know. I live with that other Ashley. And she writes, too. Twice the writer’s block. Twice the revising. Lucky me!