Wednesday, September 4, 2013

On Housesitting

Commensalism or mutual benefit is a constitutive premise of housesitting, or maybe an enabling fiction. The housesitter is apt to recognize the opportunity as a private windfall, and the pleasure is tandem: first in his own dis-habituation, and then in the adoption of a new readymade home, a vacated life to try on. With the extra keys on his chain, the housesitter leaves work on a different train or by a new road, becomes a local in the café or dogpark, creates or stars in fantasies grown out of his new neighbors’ notice. In the new routines, a film has been removed from his self-understanding; he is available to experience. Initially, everything about housesitting is citational, as though in each activity in the house one carries quotation marks above his shoulder blades, like campy angel wings. Here I am “drawing the blinds”; now I think I’ll “separate” these “twist ties”; who am I exactly “taking” a “bath”? 
-Poet Brian Blanchfield on the queer desire aroused by housesitting

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