Walking over the Williamsburg bridge I stare down the city and feel triumphant. The pink paint peels in uneven patterns along her mammoth structure. A year into living here, and the paint continues to peel. Steady like this. She’s not unbeautiful. But I’m disinterested in her failings, in the history of her arches and harsh lines. This bridge is all woman. Tall, Type A, has bangs, holds dinner parties at twilight, knows the name of every cyclist in the city. I invent an ego for her and then walk all over it. This is what we do: identify as way to to understand. And I do, identify that is.
Writing an author bio is much like this: out of body, a way of seeing, a way of pinning down.
Identity coats everything we do. I think of labels, gay, woman, writer, like the pink paint, peeling, unnoticed. What do the blurbs about myself on websites scattered in the electro-world miss? What do they get only in parts?
There is a further out than outside of the closet, though I cannot say I am even that in every instance. Is gay something I do or something I am? I ask this with nobody kissing me. I want the possibility of being drenched, surprised by my own desire. Does this matter to my writing?
Gabrielle Kassel: A New York City based-writer who waits to be drenched by desire at twilight. When she is not writing, you can find her lifting weights, adding in unnecessary semicolons, and drinking vegan iced-coffee. Follow her on Instagram for some mild fitspiration.
As a writer, is language how I live or how I keep up with the way I live? Can language keep up with the way in which I am?
Fingers tapping black keys in off-alley coffee shops. Fingers producing content valued monetarily. Hardly. Or extremely. It depends on the topic, the receiver.
A twenty-something-year-old living paycheck to paycheck in Williamsburg, writing is literally how I live. And it’s working. It being both me and this freelancing. I love writing. But expressing how much I love writing is one of the instances where words fail me.
Gabrielle Kassel: A Brooklyn based-romanticist who waits for language to find her. She is love with the em-dash and listens to Banks on repeat.
I am not ashamed to say I’m gay. I am not ashamed to put label to author. But the language flutters. The language is uncertain. Say I add in queer, the gaze immediately diverts. Like there’s a fishhook through their cheek pulling them through the water. The reader catches on. Like to a secret. That’s when the rush comes.
The shock is not the safety, but it’s not water-level. I like looking through, not down. I look. No, I stare. I stare down and smile and smile. I avoid the author bio as long as I can.
Gabrielle Kassel: An avid sexter who wants to be known only for her first instant messenger name. “Laughalways394”.
I really know, sometimes. The labels. But they’re not stable. Think about waves. No, think about pink paint peeling and try to guess how many bikes the bridge sees each day. Remember that there are parts of yourself that will never fall away. Remember that not even the labels will keep their meanings. Definitions evolve, they are not stagnant.
In The Argonauts (a must-read ), Nelson describes what language gives us: “Once we name something, we can never see it the same way again. All that is unnameable falls away, gets lost, murdered.”With every article I write, I owe a bio. With each bio I name and then fall away. What if I treated an author bio like a tinder bio?
Gabrielle Kassel: A writer who is bad at writing bios.
Gabriele Kassel: A writer who refuses to write bios.
After writing a bio I twirl to look at myself in the mirror. I look back at it. Is this what I look like or is it the lighting in here? I ask noone. I button. I unbutton. I don’t want to leave until I find something. Identity much like “is it the lighting in here?” I subway home. I sit in my new room in Williamsburg. The light panels the walls with pink. The pink does not peel. It sets.
I’m in Brooklyn and yes there is a rooftop, so yes, as I contemplate 60 characters of author bio, I cry. Or I smile. Or I laugh. The window of the sky is open. No one hears me. The city is too loud for hearing over. Is this just something I am doing? What I fear: the rush of exposure after I over-explain myself.
Did you always know? It’s the question that comes with any out-of-the-closetness. But really, the question is would I know, if I were. I pretend the question is: Did you always know you were writer? Those times, I report that yes, I always knew. In a casual way.
Gabrielle Kassel: A writer who has always been a writer. A writer who writes the identity “writer” and feels more than 50% sure.
After listening to myself about myself, I twirl away from the mirror. There is a flicker of light. Am I refusing pride by no referencing of who I kiss? Have I decided not to conform? And does it matter? The realities split and split and split. The words fail. Or they don’t.
The duality of being a writer and having to name my other selves feels at times, nightmarish.
Becoming is what I hunger for. Becoming is how I justify an author bio that shifts with each blog entry. The paint peels, we ask no justification. The identity morphs, we demand an archive of self. But we all have it: the shifting.
My name is Gabrielle, my writer-last-name is Kassel. I write about health and fitness and sometimes sex. I walk over the Williamsburg Bridge and create an alter-ego of her beams and rust. I write and contemplate. I shift.