Hi, I’m Elaine Castillo. Usually I write over at the PANK blog and my personal one; now it seems I’ll be writing for Big Other, too. Exciting! Many thanks to John Madera for the invitation and to Tim Jones-Yelvington for the recommendation. And a shy hello to the wonderful current contributors, whose posts I have eagerly read, and shyly appreciated—shy and shyly because I was never able to bring myself to comment on any of the (many) remarkable posts and comments I read here. I’m sorry.
Some of the things I’ll probably be writing about here: thoughts on or quotes from various books or writers in translation (both contemporary, and less-so), since that has been the lifeblood of my reading for most of my life, producing therefore massive and probably unconscionable gaps in what I know of English and American literature; Japanese manga and anime (maybe some Korean manhwa?), primarily in the yaoi (homoerotic/sexual, targeted to female readers) genre, but also possibly some discussion of mainstream manga, like Naruto or BLEACH—or even more mainstream romance manga, if I ever find one I like enough; film, perhaps with a slight focus on Southeast Asian and East Asian cinema; responses to philosophy or critical theory.
All of this in a hyper-digressive, associative, ficto-biographical-hybrid fashion, which seems to be the only way I find myself able to write or even think critically at present. That may change, if I ever become a more reasonable person. But I won’t.
Recently I was kicking around the idea for an essay (or series of essays) about gurlesque-related trends in recent hip-hop and R&B, thinking primarily about Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Janelle Monáe, Willow Smith + others, but that feels like it needs much more incubating time, devotion; if it ever materializes at all.
Another idea: a series of epigrammatic essays in the style of Barthes’ S/Z re: Balzac’s Sarrasine or Fragments of a Lover’s Discourse re: Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther—but about the Twilight books. Which I haven’t even read yet. But doesn’t that sound like fun? By fun, I also mean: excruciating.
Some of my other presiding obsessions, a few of which have surfaced on my blog posts at PANK and are sure to surface here: relationships between writing and sickness/healing/grief/injury/disability, writing and testimony/witnessing, writing and the supernatural; ghosts, specters, possessions, the everyday undead, ancient Greek mythology and literature, ancient or medieval literature full-stop, migrant workers, Gastarbeiter, exiles, immigrants and emigrants, maids, mail-order brides, nurses, doctors, affective labor, detention centers, torture, hostage-taking, disappearances, refugees living in Europe, non-native languages, people with no mother tongue or too many mother tongues it clogs the mouth it hurts speech, skin disease, immunity and the lack of it, the Missy Elliot/Timbaland/Aaliyah years in R&B, why Filipinos are cyborgs in a way kindred to Bhanu Kapil’s beautiful evocation of the Punjabi cyborg, violence and reparation, whether or not my father (and best friend) was a secret paramilitary spy (and therefore a piece of shit), my life as the characters from the Wong Kar-wai movie Happy Together, fungus, decay, revenge, survival, not wanting to write, not-writing, writing.
So, as writers say in their submissions (for I am submitting, submitting something, here, what it is yet, I don’t know): thank you for reading.