When Temim Fruchter began writing her monthly column Between the Bones for the [PANK] blog, she described “[m]y blunt grown-up pancake feet, with their no arches, my feet with their chipped red polish, my feet like a golem’s – ungraceful stones, impostors in shoes.” This former drummer for the Jewish feminist punk band The Shondes maintains historical immediacy and bodily consciousness in this edition of our series of interviews with the blog people, who keep the [PANK] internet chugging and full of poetry.
Interview by Diana Clarke
1. Many of us are scattered across the country and only know one another, and our writers, from the internet. Where do you blog from?
I blog from a house on the edge of a forest in Washington, DC.
2. In what ways is a blog person like a bog person?
Well. This is a question I get often.
Sometimes when I write I feel boneless. Like all of the impact goes porous through the skin and straight to the essential organs. No buffer. Or, when I’m reading something world-expanding and my bones do something like melt. Nothing is that perfectly preserved, though. Everything is always growing or shrinking or changing shape.
3. Can you talk a little about what you do for the blog? How do you approach your project?
I write about the layers immediately inside and immediately outside the body. I write in fragments because that’s the language my body speaks. For me, it’s a queer language. I try to be as vulnerable as I can around all of the possible words. I generally work with one part of the body or one aspect of physical experience and go from there, trying to wring it as inside out as I can, get at the viscera. In occasional experiments with grace, sometimes also I try tiptoe around it, though I’m something of a klutz so inevitably, things collide at some point. I want to tell the stories that breathe in and out right along with me, and the ones that keep breathing underneath the still, even when I’m holding my breath.
4. What’s your favorite thing to do off the internet?
Generate intrigue. Collaborate. Make pancakes. Draw pictures. Hunt for treasure. Surprise and be surprised.
5. What’s a favorite sentence, and why?
“In an earlier life, I think, though chance and bombs and salt-grain teeth in ocean air have destroyed all documents, I farmed black bent-backed turnips in the hardpan of a shtetl compound of equally black-garbed bent-backed grandmamma and rabbinic Jews. – Albert Goldbarth, from his essay “After Yitzl.”
Because, like so many of his sentences, it’s as fat as a perfect sandwich and tells an entire story before we can even realize we’ve noticed. Plus, I’m sort of obsessed with old world Jews and turnips.
6. Please choose a compatible book and snack pairing.
Why was this the hardest question? I’m going to go with longtime bedtime favorite The Passion and a perfect hearty plum cake. But honestly, this is cheating, because any book pairs well with a perfect hearty plum cake.
7. What makes you furious? When does writing mean the most?
I am furious about the ways we dehumanize, the ways that empathy and imagination fail over and over again. Writing means the most when it makes us truly encounter one another. When it pushes us to imagine harder. When it changes the shape of our questions.