HAPPY & BLEEDING
In November 2008, I launched a blog – sparse, sluggish and sporadic. Viewing it as a public extension of my studio, I saw it without readers, except for a French friend (as beloved as she was distant), living at that time in New Caledonia.
Accessing my blog in April 2009, I found a comment on a post about my father. A few days later, the same person returned, with two more comments. We chatted about poetry (Paul Celan, Yehuda Amichai), ships on non-existent seas, prayer shawls, garments that fluttered in the wind, djellabahs. I joked that I might even start taking my purported blog seriously. I started to check out her blog as well (updated regularly) to see what she was writing in Saudades de um Punhal, whose name alludes to a story by Robert Walser (Sehnsucht nach einem Dolch, 1917).
When checking out this blog one day, there were no new posts, but rather a comment announcing her death in São Paulo on a cold Saturday night: May 30, 2009. I have no idea what else was going on in the world that day, but in my diary I found a note: “open avenues through the house”.
I still think about this encounter, as a brief as a match struck into flame and promptly extinguished. We met on a sidewalk, striding against the flow of the crowds. She dropped something. I picked it up, I wanted to return it to her, I ran after her, trying to locate her silhouette from the rear (which is how she presented herself in her on-line profile). I strove to decipher the friction of this meeting through the written word, grasping the item left behind. I still recall her last post, which described a trajectory of someone trained hard in inconstancy, a flight into the abyss between subway stations and bus lines, whose final point was a link to another blog.
Among other characteristics, she identified herself as being “chronically melancholic, great cook, obsessed with psychoanalysis and detective novels, lazy in the mornings and sarcastic at nights.” She was 32 years old.
In this book, I return to the promise made in a 2014 publication: to compile and edit the remnants of the writings of Carol D’Utra Vaz on the internet. With the disappearance of her blog, I collected some of her Facebook posts, and even fewer tweets from Twitter; where we were not in contact, as I did not belong to any social networks in 2009.
I became aware that her work is tailored to the different media where she wrote: in her blog, posts vary between commentaries, short essays and prose poems, if I recall. On Facebook, she posted few pictures and made good use of the way in which her name appeared on this platform, often integrating it with the subject of her brief and confessional phrases where extreme anguish and humor are inseparable (happy & bleeding, written on April 26). On Twitter, her voice became thick and dark, shipwrecked.
Return, return, return, she repeats on March 27, before handing herself over to the Facebook oracles. Which witch are you? Which Shakespearean character would you be? Which philosopher are you? In April, she thinks about buying a diamond padlock, hums Sinatra, daydreams, procrastinates, falls in love with the World’s Worst Man and, when insomnia allows, dreams, dreams greatly (of sea urchins, crosswords, or in German).
Although most the links shared in her posts became unavailable, the intertextuality triggered by the fragments that she shared remains alive. With passion, she quotes Herbert Helder, Sylvia Plath, Pessoa and Paul Celan, of course, which is the name of her “mewy” cat. “Only Celan saves,” she writes.
On May 17, she shares an advertisement for someone seeking company for travelling through time (but with no guarantees, warns the advertiser). My bet is that she would not choose the past. The time vector she presents on the Internet is really the future. On February 24, she announced a new home, and on May 24 she sang about a new love: “tengo un nuevo amor”. Research for her master’s degree was looming on the horizon. There was a horizon..
What remains is a voice, gossamer writing, embryonic, decidedly polyphonic, avid for exchanges, whose messages I gather together here. I follow the timeline of her posts, all between February and May 2009. In such prolix times, I admire her concision, her self-irony and above all her need for poetry, movies and music – elements that were as vital to her as air.
In an oblique dialog with her internet output, I offer my notebooks, some dating back to the 1980s. They are intimate items, perhaps overly self-involved. In contrast to posts on social networks, they were not intended to be shared, except as an image of what is hidden, what is lost, what is in vain.
Leila Danziger, Rio de Janeiro, 2009, 2014, 2019
1 A briefer version of this text was published in Saudades de um punhal, Leila Danziger. Rio de Janeiro: Editora Circuito. Coleções Orelhas Contemporâneas, proposition: Marco Antônio Portela, 2014.
2 The Facebook and Twitter posts of Carol D’Utra Vaz were accessed in May 2019.