Giving an Account and Telling a Story

As I think through how I use my blog to give an account and/or tell stories, I want to put the following books and ideas about storytelling and giving an account beside each other:

Dorothy Allison’s Two or Three Things I Know for Sure
Judith Butler’s Giving an Account of Oneself
Paul John Eakin How Our Lives Become Stories 

In thinking about how and why to put these beside each other, I’m partly interested in exploring the different (and sometimes similar) ways in which they explain the purposes for our stories. Why do we tell stories? Who are they for? What compels us to give an account? What sort of self is created/revealed/performed through these accounts/stories?

Word Count: 116 words

Makin’ Trouble in Fist City with Loretta Lynn

Last weekend, RJP, FWA and I were listening to a local radio station (the awesome The Current) when Loretta Lynn’s song, “Fist City” came on. Immediately it reminded me of Lurleen Lumpkin from The Simpsons (L Lynn must be the inspiration for this character). After listening to the lyrics I realized that Loretta Lynn is pretty awesome. Sure, I knew about her and had probably listened to some of her music when I was younger, but I don’t think I had ever heard this song or really thought about the lyrics and how they speak to/about a certain form of making (and being) in trouble. This form of making trouble has a lot to with class, particularly poor white folks living in the U.S. South in the 20th Century. There is some great feminist work that describes and theorizes about these experiences. Some of this work has been helpful in expanding, complicating and deepening my understandings of troublemaking and troublestaying. In particular, I’m thinking of Dorothy Allison and “The Question of Class,” Bastard Out of Carolina and Two or three things I know for sure and Mab Segrest and Memoir of a Race Traitor.

Here are the lyrics form “Fist CIty”:

You’ve been makin’ your brags around town that you’ve been a lovin’ with my man
But the man I love when he picks up trash he puts it in a garbage can
And that’s what you look like to me and what I see is a pitty
You’d better close your face and stay out of my way
If you don’t wanta go to Fist City
If you don’t wanna go to Fist City you’d better detour round my town
Cause I’ll grab you by the hair of the head and I’ll lift you off of the ground
I’m not a sayin’ my baby is a saint cause he ain’t
And that he won’t cat around with a kitty
I’m here to tell you gal to lay off of my man if you don’t wanna go to Fist City

Come on and tell me what you told my friends if you think you’re brave enough
And I’ll show you what a real woman is since you think you’re hot stuff
You’ll bite off more than you can chew if you get too cute or witty
You better move your feet if you don’t wanna eat a meal that’s called Fist City
If you don’t wanna go to Fist City…
I’m here to tell you gal to lay off of my man if you don’t wanna go to Fist City

Is it helpful to put Loretta Lynn beside Allison and Segrest? Do they fit together? I’m not sure, but as I listen to the powerful (and resistant) lyrics from “Fist City,” I want to think more about troublemaking in the context of class, whiteness and being southern in the U.S..

Here’s the video (stick around for the brief interview with the announcer at the end!):

One of my favorite troublemakers: Dorothy Allison

I love Dorothy Allison’s essay, “A Question of Class” (and Bastard Out of Carolina and Two or Three Things I Know For Sure…); I wrote about in my dissertation (on the radical subjectivity of story/truthtellers). Today we are discussing the essay in my queering theory class–here’s my summary for the day. As I was preparing the class, I came across this awesome image/description by Allison on her website:

That’s one great way to define troublemaking!