Almost like visceral Déjà vu
Published by Tiny Hardcore Press 2011
First Edition, 94 pages
xTx Normally Special is an embodied experimentation with the edges of places, ideas, scenarios and relations. Here, figures both do and don’t understand. Do and don’t understand each other, themselves, their lives and their obsessions (“I just feel like I want to find proof of something that I feel is true”). It is relieving that “there is no way you can make a mistake here,” because we move through the book quickly. We move through the book quickly, both because it feels good in our hands (why would we want to put it down if it feels good in our grip? Think useful masturbation or self-closeness) and because the way the stories are combined in the book provide a sense of an emotional logic that makes sense. Again, feels good. This book feels good inside and out, even if some of the content is disturbing.
The book progresses by way of performance of “so many mouths”—but does so by way of courting the perspective of the “I”. The way that I is the personal approach to sharing any very personal thing/ s.
There is certainly divergent sexuality (“it is difficult to masturbate about your father, but not impossible, as it turns out” or “what gets me off the quickest is if I imagine myself an innocent girl being taken by a fat man”) and deep loss (“I think there should be a “t” at the end of the word “loss” or “what I do remember most though are the fireflies, and how she proved that they were real by squishing one across her palm. It left a fluorescent streak. It made me feel like screaming”) in this book.
As we move through we are intrigued and not fatigued (I often times feel fatigued by stories, actually—so there is something particular about xTx stories that is satisfying without being taxing). They feel so personal and tonally simple (in a good way) that it is almost as if they are not stories at all but intact memories extracted somehow from an imaginary, fucked up, highly feeling and distressed central figure. I am saying that as we enter and feel Normally Special we get to recognize ourselves being impacted by its pictures and sensations, because they are expressed in such a way that they could be our very own. Almost like visceral Déjà vu.
I feel like as I meet Normally Special I am turned into something “completely beautiful and easy to hurt.” I almost become texture inside of the shapes of its telling. I feel controlled toward a new sense of being (“those times you put down the razor that was me forcing your hand” or “my hands will tremble because that’s what they do when they get close to truth”)—almost intercessed by a non-sacrosanct intelligence, and the impression that that intelligence leaves on me “makes me feel bad and good at the same time.”