'Think Military' When it Comes to Feelings

Illustration for article titled Think Military When it Comes to Feelings

Vice interviewed Mary Gaitskill, who writes blunt, beautiful short stories and novels about fucked up women ("Secretary," one of the best stories in Bad Behavior, was made into a movie starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, but Gaitskill called it the "Pretty Woman" version.) She had some thoughts on feelings and procrastination:

Yeah, do you hide your feelings? I don't really know how to deal with men.

I am terrible at hiding my feelings, and my male friends have lectured me on how I give too much away, I have to think military. Somebody actually said that to me: "Think military." But my experience is, sometimes they like you to show feelings, but it has to do with timing. That's what's annoying about it, the timing thing. What I find with men, they can really like pouring out of emotion, but it has to come out at the right time, and it can't be too much or they get upset. But pour it on at the right time? You can pour as hard as you want. But it's hard to figure out the right time when you're feeling a lot, it ruins it for me to plan it out.

You're not writing anything right now?

No, though I just finished something. I have to teach now. I'm just exhausted because I feel like I'm constantly in the subway and dropping bags off, and picking bags up. I'm not going to be able to write for a while because of this. But, I did just turn in a piece of my new book, but I haven't heard back, so God knows what they think of it, but it's a book that's really different for me, and it's probably going to get me laughed at.


Voilà, a new favorite excuse for writer's block.

Gaitskill also said she was working on a book about a girl learning to ride a horse, which seemed out of character until I read an interview in which she clarified that it's about "a fucked up young girl and a fucked up horse." Can't wait.



(image via Syracuse)

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Maybe it's because I haven't read the story, but I love the movie "Secretary". It's one of the few romances (if you can call it that) that I can watch again and again.