‘Ma Vie en Bling: A Memoir’ by Anne Boyer

Now I’m being quite cheeky really, since I know full well Anne Boyer is a poet, but this is… a sort of tract in lyric prose? Maybe? Can that be a short story too?

Writer bios are a pretty gruesome genre all of their own, but Anne Boyer’s is one of the best I’ve ever read – the most generous, the funniest, the most furious:

I have always wanted, and want now, a radical reordering of the world for the benefit of all who live in it, or as one of my favorite poets, Louise Michel, would say—everything for everyone.
 How many other author bios end like this? (Why don’t they all?)

Anyway, this story is about writing, in as much as when Boyer is talking about writing, she’s talking about everything else too. Including what she calls ‘not-writing’ – which is the opposite of writing, but also exactly the same thing.

Explaining it like this, I’m making it sound like one of those stories in which “writing” is a very special and very singular activity – but it’s the opposite. The rest of us are often squeamish about making visible the invisible scaffold (economic, cultural) that’s necessary for writing. We’re squeamish too about admitting that writing is at the same time for everyone and no more or less inherently valuable than any other sublimation. Boyer isn’t at all, and she’s marvellous.

From Garments Against Women, Ahsahta Press, 2015

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