A Kind of Nihilism: Writer Stephanie LaCava on I Fear My Pain matters to you | Wrote

sTiffany LaCava sitting on a cliff on West 10th Street, trying to summon the spirits of Zoë Lund, actor, model, activist and everything underground New York The heroine is best known for her role as the bad lieutenant of Abel Ferrara.

Lund is a special installation of LaCava, whose second novel, I Fear My Pain Interests You, released this week to thrill viewers.

It has been described as the Girl’s Novel of the year. There is no lift. Narrator Margot is not liberated or cursed. Her burden is that she cannot feel physical pain and only feels it at a distance, and it is broken through by others.

“I hope the book has a romantic side, a kind of nihilism and dark humor,” says LaCava, below the apartment where Lund lived with her husband and rats.

LaCava and Lund share superficial similarities: strawberry blonde hair, bright red lipstick, and interest in sensation—or lack thereof. Born to Zoe Tamerless, Lund had no regrets about her heroin commitment. This is not the story of LaCava. But Lund could also write like a dream, for days if the conditions were right. She directed political pamphlets and scripts and is credited as a co-writer on Bad Lieutenant, the Harvey Keitel-starred film that became a pivotal moment in the black crime drama of the 1990s.

Lund herself provided the central part of the film “vampire speech“:

Vampires have it easy.
They feed on others.
We have to feed ourselves.
We have to eat our legs
For energy to walk.
We have to come to go.
We have to suck ourselves.
We have to eat ourselves
There is nothing left
But appetite.

LaCava used the Madonna statue from the film and Lund’s political publications as props to read and discuss her book.

Zoe Lund in the 1981 movie MS.45, directed by Abel Ferrara.
Zoe Lund in the 1981 movie MS.45, directed by Abel Ferrara. Photo: Rochelle Films/Warner Home Video/Allstar

She speaks quickly in person, sometimes with stray thoughts, and embellishes the conversation with the people interested: Jewish anarchist philosopher Emma Goldman, French actor Pierre Clemente, Brazilian novelist Clarice Lispectoritalian author Natalia GinsburgCharlotte RamplingAnd the Destroy All Monsters singer, Niagara.

But it was Lund who returned to her.

“I have always had a fondness for Zo. I called her widow, and he said we had a lot of similarities.” “It told the novel in some ways, its semantics of political commentary and the recapture of the narrative as a female.”

In I Fear My Pain, LaCava traces the journey of Margot Highsmith, the daughter of her absent musician parents who come to New York to make her an actress.

“Margot’s parents think they are immoral, but they are super bourgeois,” explains LaCava. “In the culture industry she has a privilege and an access she didn’t gain. She’s out there in the world despite having these things. The whole book is really very lonely.”

Margot discovers she can’t feel pain and in this separated or isolated state forms relationships that may be good or bad.

“There’s no big blaming,” LaCava says, “it’s not a shock novel, a #MeToo or a man’s blame narrative.” “You are not defined by the traumas that befall you; you are defined by the way you go through all that was and what comes after.”

Geographically speaking, LaCava’s novel fits into the burgeoning cultural landscape of downtown New York, collectively called Dimes Square, which is philosophically detached from the more drawn-out, oriented sense of Brooklyn across the East River – a situation recently described as transcendent vs progressive.

“Because of my childhood, I feel completely comfortable anywhere,” LaCava says. “Manhattan is very encapsulated. I spend 100% of my time here. The things that matter to me are all here.”

“Before the pandemic it was like a deluge of events, people felt compelled to be everywhere and show it. Now there is more of a do-it-yourself clan mentality, wanting to draw attention to one thing.”

Which is probably part of what attracts LaCava to Lund. We are sitting on a cliff in honor of a woman who has defiantly followed her path, at personal expense. Like Lund, LaCava’s heroine, Margot, has “an energetic force to create a service for her ideas.”

Lund revealed little of herself, except creatively. LaCava is also cautious. She would have preferred to be seen as a “multihyphenated freak show,” a former Vogue editorial assistant, an 11-year-old American student in Paris who found solace in books.

“Most people will say I’m very perverted all over,” she says.

This is probably why she finds it easier to describe herself by describing others. Lund died in Paris in 1999. in an interviewshe spoke of Marx, Freud, and Darwin and also referred to Goldman, who believed marriage “for one man’s wages”.

New York has a history of producing remarkable women, some of whom are producers, and some of whom are seriously endeared for their image. In Eddie Sedgwick’s new autobiography, as it turns out, Alice Sedgwick Wall notes that when it came to her sister, star of Andy Warhol’s world, people “had their eyes on the picture. It was the picture that counted. It still matters, and reality seems off-target, or Rather it works independently.”

Eddie Sedgwick and Zoe Lund came to reject their mentors – Warhol for Sedgwick, Ferrara peer.

“I don’t think she was hiding anything,” LaCava says of Lund. “I think she was open emotionally and creatively without being fixated.”

Perhaps that is true of her new heroine, Margot.

“She takes responsibility for the things that happen to her and doesn’t let her experiences define them,” LaCava says. “She’s not ignoring them. She takes it and tries to analyze what’s real and what’s fake. This is the narrative undoing. Bubble!”

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