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Changes: Miranda July

The audio version of this episode is available here.

Annie [00:00:05] Hello and welcome to Changes!

Annie [00:00:07] It is Annie here. How are you? Hope you're doing good. If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen a couple of weeks ago that I shared a book, which, and I cannot stress this enough, could change the way you think about your life. It's not a kind of 'how to' book. It's not a self-help book. It's quite a quirky novel about a woman in middle age trying to make sense of the world. It's called All Fours by Miranda July. The main protagonist in the book is staring into the abyss of midlife, and decides to drive from LA to New York. Rather than her initial plan of taking an aeroplane. Her journey allows her to explore her capabilities, sexual desires, the institution of marriage, motherhood, and all the presumptions made of women at a certain age. It's a phenomenally astute and radical take on midlife, which makes you question things and also laugh out loud because it's completely hilarious. The observations about feelings, relationships, and friendships as a woman are astoundingly good. I have wanted to talk about it to everyone I know. I've wanted to buy it for everyone I know, which is always a sign of a good book. And I know so many other women who are also feeling the same as me. So it was right and proper to have Miranda July on changes to talk all about it. Now, I should say you don't have to read the book to listen to this episode, but you will definitely be persuaded to. So Miranda July, as well as being a writer, she's a multi-talented, award winning director and she's an artist who is known for innovative and boundary pushing work. But today is all about all fours as well as Miranda's own changes, of course. I couldn't wait to speak to her. Here goes. Miranda July on changes!

[00:01:56] A word of warning this week's episode discusses suicide, so please be mindful if that could be an issue for you.  

[00:01:59] How are you with change?

Miranda [00:02:02] Actually, I think pretty good. Not in the small sense. But as far as, like, life transformations, I think I've always kind of felt like it should all be tremendous. Which means that you all should always be churning and kind of. Right. You know, your unconscious, upending things. And so that kind of change. Not that it's easy. I have been a fan of.

Annie [00:02:28] Tell me about this book, then. How are people reacting to it?

Miranda [00:02:32] There was a lot of, like, looking me dead in the eyes and being like, you have no idea. Like, I'm glad you said it because I can't, or I wouldn't be able to or, you know, just based initially on, like, maybe four women that I talked to- strangers, there was this just huge relief. Holy fucking God. Like it? It worked like the message was received the way it was intended, which, yeah, like it wasn't a game. Like I bet a lot on it on all levels. And it doesn't revolve around me, if you see what I mean. Like, because it's a shared thing.

Annie [00:03:12] No, the sharing is, is the thing in terms of the connection aspect, I think the book does speak for women in a way that they haven't maybe been able to even articulate themselves. Let's just get straight to the first question that we like to ask everyone, which is the biggest change that you went through in childhood that you can remember?

Miranda [00:03:30] The first thing that comes to mind is, when I started having trouble with my eyes, which was when I was nine, it made it hard for me to go out in any kind of light. And I also had a lot of physical pain, and it was my left eye worse than my right. And it was sort of mysterious. It was hard for people to any doctor to figure out what was going on. And I have a distinct memory of my mom sewing me an eye patch, for my left eye, like with fabric and a piece of elastic that, you know, she tried to make it sort of cheerful as could be. It wasn't black. It was sort of this flowery fabric. And I remember sitting with a friend in my room and realising with horror that it was the same fabric as the curtains behind me *laughs*, and there was no that was somehow like I could handle wearing an eye patch, but not that, you know, like, oh. It's like a bridge too far. Yeah.

Annie [00:04:39] And did you ever find out what it was?

Miranda [00:04:42] Well it's ongoing. I mean, I say, you know, I think it it just been a passing thing. I, I wouldn't say that, but I think, like. All right, that never really ended. I mean, that light sensitivity isn't as bad and it's it's ebbed and flowed through my life as far as being a problem. But I do have to care for my eyes, very carefully. You know, I clean them in a certain way every morning and night, the way most people brush their teeth. You know.

Annie [00:05:11] That's a really, lovely insight into your mother fashioning you this this eyepatch. How were you raised? And who was in the house with you?

Miranda [00:05:21] Right? My mother and my father and my older brother, who's four and a half years older. My parents ran a publishing company, a small publishing company in our house. So my whole childhood was within this small business. And all the runnings of a publishing company, where were the home? And there was often, like, an employee there, you know, it wasn't just us. Yeah. So there was a real sense of, like, professional environment and, kind of a lot of intensity. Yeah.

Annie [00:06:00] And what kind of books did they publish?

Miranda [00:06:02] Things that at the time were very cutting edge to the point of just like against the grain of the culture at the time. Yeah. If you picture like so I'm a child in the 80s and they're publishing books on like, healing with Whole foods and crystals and homeopathy, which isn't mainstream here. Things that actually, like, they were ahead of the curve, you know.

Annie [00:06:27] And what were you like as a little girl? Like being around all these books and all these really creative people must have seeped in somehow.

Miranda [00:06:35] I got really good at daydreaming and fantasy and reading and kind of living in my internal world. I like, put on little plays. I, I was more performative than anyone in the family. No one else was like that. But also being like the little girl, you know, I guess that was maybe, like my role, you know? And like, I had the sense that my mom was happy to have children, but it wasn't this kind of revolving around the children in any way like that or didn't. In retrospect, I'm like, oh, yeah, you know, it was a different time and that wasn't actually thought to be good parenting. The good parenting then was like, they won't know how to be on their own unless you leave me on their own. Yeah. Leave them alone *laughs* yeah. It worked. Yeah.

Annie [00:07:30] So you are an artist now. And of course, many mediums, as I said in the introduction. I'm so fascinated in how how your life bleeds into your work and your own personal experiences and what kind of recurring themes come. Have you recognise patterns in terms of what you're trying to express through your work, as a result of who you were before you started being an artist?

Miranda [00:07:53] Yeah. It's interesting. Some things have come back around like my brother made for me and for us little houses. And then he made a dollhouse for me that was, like, as tall as me. And we made all the furniture. We wallpapered it with scraps from a wallpaper book. Now it's sample book and carpet sample book. And. And then he made a play house in the backyard, a house. It was like a two story house, with, like, a sort of invented running water system, you know, with in a little basin. And so this thing of making a home, like the need to make a place for yourself, like, I thought about that when I was writing the book because I was like, wait a second. This theme, in a way, I let go of it. Like my my creative life seemed to be my home at a certain point. I, you know, like I had my first apartment, you know, was super decorated and I was really into and and then I think I realised like, oh, no one sees that. It's a lot of energy, which I could just be putting into my work, you know. And after that I became quite practical. And this space, this is my studio of 20 years, a little house that I was living in when I met the person I married, Mike. And I kept it. I, in fact, just moved my clothes over and lived there for 20 years, and I just sort of lived there almost like a, I don't know, like a guest or something. But you don't say this, like, offensively. Like he would, he would agree, like, there's something funny about you. And then I just recently moved back not to here, but there's a little house behind this house on the same property that the renter moved out of for the first time since my my 20s. I'm suddenly pouring energy into a home. Literally this morning, Mike just said it's like you picked up from where you left off, and some part of you must be saying, like, what was all that? You know, what was and how do I have a child now? But of course, I don't regret any of it. Certainly not the child. But this is the first home again, in that sense.

Annie [00:10:08] I love the idea of having your own space in your own studio, apart from your home with your partner.

Miranda [00:10:15] Well, it's. I live there now.

Annie [00:10:17] I know, but but I mean, for the 20 years, that's like.

Miranda [00:10:19] Right.

Annie [00:10:21] That for me seems really sensible.

Miranda [00:10:23] It was really like there were moments where I was, you know, wondering why I was doing it. And then really when I had a child, I was like, this is, you know, if it was in any question before now, I know, like, I need to be able to leave. Yeah. To work, you know, and and I've made everything here.

Annie [00:10:43] Let's speak about this book then, if you don't mind. All for your first novel in ten years. You you started at the age of 45 and finished at 49 without wanting to try and reduce the book to anything. How would you talk to someone about what this book is?

Miranda [00:10:58] I guess I lived my whole life as a young woman. A lot of involvement in your body, sexually your reproductive life. I didn't quite see it coming that that just stops. Like all the information, all the sort of storytelling and like, mythmaking gets real thin. The book didn't exist that I wanted, which was. Just something very modern about this time in life that. The phrase midlife crisis is sort of like a punchline. What if it's actually quite profound to be in the middle of your life and you look forward into death, you know, and that if that were to not change your perspective, maybe there's something off about how you're living, like, for all the. Anxieties and preoccupations of ageing and femininity. I wouldn't have written it if I hadn't felt that it was profound territory.

Annie [00:12:04] There's a lot of drama in the book.

Miranda [00:12:05]  a lot of drama.

Annie [00:12:06] Oh my God, there's so much going on with our protagonist. Like, I've never read a book like that about midlife. I am 45, so for me, it was so on point because it asked all these questions that I that were kind of sitting somewhere in the periphery of my mind, but I'd always been too busy to actually really think of and think on about marriage, about monogamy, about how women are perceived as they age, about menopause. All these things that I feel like I'm 45, as you say, you're really on the brink of.

Miranda [00:12:36] I, too, had these things in the shadows, and I was kind of like. But they're haunting me. They're kind of shaping me because they're in the shadows. Because I'm not really looking. And I'm hoping maybe I can squeak by, and just kind of keep this all to a minimum. Whereas if I point at it, if I just kind of make a mess of it, then at least I'll get this conversation, you know, between women and that that actually could sustain me.

Annie [00:13:07] That's so exciting, because I can't imagine the amount of conversations that will come off the back of this book. I know there's been so many that I've had already. It sounds really reductive just to say it's about a woman going through mid-life. There's there's so much going on in it, but there's big themes that it does touch on. And I thought maybe we could kind of touch on those themes. There's a cliff that our narrator learns about in the book. And I thought you could tell us about what this cliff is and the wider symbolism of that cliff, with regards to women in midlife?

Miranda [00:13:35] It wasn't this way for me, but for so many women I talked to, they didn't know what was going on with them hormonally. But in the book, the character, there's good doctor who kind of explains everything to her and is like, we're doing a blood test and, it's all, you know, kind of describes the hormonal change and what she'll want to do. And, yeah, taking hormones and so forth. And she just walks out of there in like a daze, like she kind of actually can't take it in. And it's like checking out mentally through the whole, yeah, conversation. And then she, she tries to explain it to her friend and, and this graph, she's like, here's, here's a graph. They just text it to her. It gets more and more horrifying the more real it it seems to become like this, this. And they're both looking at it. It's like, wait, this top part here, that's been our life as we know it our whole adult life. And now it's it's a cliff. Like, it's we're about to fall off a fucking cliff.

Annie [00:14:38] And that is hormonal? You're talking about a hormonal cliff?

Miranda [00:14:41] Yeah. It's oestrogen. Yeah, yeah. And then, you know, you could see on the other side that it had gone up, you know, just as sharply when they've gotten their periods, you know, so that they remember that was a big change. And you know, and then they see that man, it's just like this sort of gentle slope, decrease in their, you know, and it just seems like such a big deal that how could they have not been warned. Or maybe it's not. Maybe it's not a big deal. And that's why no one had talked about it. And it's that thing that kind of shapeshift like is this something or isn't it like, is how big a deal is this? Just like our periods, just like having a baby. Like it is actually pretty different for different people, you know? Yeah. So that Cliff is also kind of a metaphorical cliff. It's it's. Yeah, the kind of unwritten, unmapped space into the future of a woman in midlife. It's main goal was that you have like a lived experience with this one particular woman, and she sees menopause. The only symptom she cares about is the libido dropping, you know, and she takes that like a it's like a bullet to the heart, you know, it's and and I do think like everything in life, like we have these very narrow well just lens through which we're looking through and it has to do with our desires for ourself.

Miranda [00:16:09] Yeah, yeah.

Annie [00:16:09] You think of perimenopause as like. A really profound change. The way like coming into womanhood is a profound change, and you'd kind of want to maybe do it right. She, I think, gets the right perimenopause ultimately for her, you know, but it's not like all transitions. It's like you said, it's it's there's a lot of drama.

Annie [00:16:32] It's a lot of drama. As you say. She reacts very badly to the idea of her libido leaving as you would. She kind of took it for granted. And and I never thought that there would be a situation where she wouldn't be able to feel, desire or be as desirable, I suppose, as she was was a really moving piece in the book. It's basically where she is masturbating over a man and she realises that she's too old for him. She thinks she's too old for him. This was my first experience of being too old. I had not always gotten exactly what I had wanted. Men had been unwilling to leave their wives for me or to do more than flirt. But even in these humbling cases, I hadn't questioned my right to feel desire. Now suddenly my lust was uncouth, inappropriate. I was powerful and interesting, perhaps funny and unique. I took him seriously in a way that he wasn't used to, but he was not jerking off to me. Just a few years earlier, at 40 or 42, I would have been a contender. But now it was too late and he was just the first one. From now on, this would be the norm. And not just with men younger than me, but with all men. I would never get what I wanted anymore, man wise.

Miranda [00:17:36] *laughs* Oh God. I mean, I want to say like, don't quote me on that *Annie laughs* because I'm so glad I wrote that, you know, like, but I guess that's actually fairly early in the book. Sure. But it is a, a great crisis. I'm sort of embarrassed to have it read to me, but I'm I think that's the problem. All the things are so embarrassing that you and you actually underneath those embarrassments, there's other stuff...

Annie [00:18:09] I feel like that's a really real feeling that a lot of.

Miranda [00:18:11] For sure. But I just mean if you don't out yourself about that, then you actually can't get to what, what may lie underneath that, you know, and I know that and under neath that if you can't even begin with the first thing because it's so shameful.

Annie [00:18:26] And I think that's one of the really powerful things about it. It's the fearlessness in writing those things that we all think and feel or have, you know, have thought about and never, ever uttered, never, maybe even said the words to. So seeing them written down sometimes is it it's very powerful. But I just thought that was interesting because it does feel like a uniquely female experience. It doesn't really feel like men have that as much as women. That experience of feeling like they've gone beyond a point of being desirable.

Miranda [00:18:56] Right. I know the powers and what they do, you know. Yeah. So I think if there's a crisis, it's like, oh, you know, can't compete at work. Younger men coming up or something like that. But often men also gain power as they get older. You know, work wise, while that anxiety might be there, there is a path, you know, to the presidency.

Annie [00:19:17] Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Miranda [00:19:18] You can go get older and older and more and more powerful.

[00:19:21] *musical interlude*

Annie [00:19:31] How did you change upon writing the book?

Miranda [00:19:34] Oof, yeah. I mean, without getting into too much detail, I had a parallel journey. I mean, right, I was neck and neck with the book, with the fiction. A lot of stuff happened in the book before it happened in life. And then there was a little catching up at the end that was really kind of challenging, where I was like, I haven't had time to process this, but it is fiction. Like, I'm not. It's not a memoir, you know? Yeah. And so doing that really quickly, like digesting what I now knew, I've never had an experience like that. However, everything seemed to be utterly contradictory, and we didn't want to lose anything, and we truly didn't know what to do.

Annie [00:20:17] Talk to me, I suppose, about your thought processes on marriage as an institution. It's so much about that. How have you changed, if at all, your opinion on that?

Miranda [00:20:27] I mean, it is sort of insane that it's we're still doing it the same way. I didn't question it very hard. I wasn't super excited about marriage. But I also was like, well, if I meet the one and they're into marriage, then sure. But then I think you come to know yourself better. And I sort of felt like actually, it's maybe a surprise to no one, but I would want to create something more unique. I think one might have almost presumed that that's what I was doing from the outside, you know, but I really wasn't. Those conversations began, you know, at around the age that you are now. And, you know, that's very personal. Like, I worked really hard to protect my family and everyone in the writing of this book. By the same time, I also there's a character in the book who says, to the narrator, like, fantasy is all good and well up until a certain point, and then you have to have lived experiences. So I think I also do want readers to know that while this is fiction, I also wasn't just, yeah, cosily tucked in my-.

Annie [00:21:44] -Marital bed.

Miranda [00:21:44] Yes, yes. Yeah. Kind of imagining it all, how it could be like I sort of lived and died by this book. And it was my companion through a lot of change.

Annie [00:21:57] There's a sense of when the protagonist is really going through this huge change. She's going through so much hormonally, and it's a real roller coaster. There's a line in the book that says, every day, Sam and Harris. Sam is the protagonist child. Harris is the protagonist's husband. Every day, Simon Harris extended their hands and said, come in from the cold, but I could not come in. So you got this sense of the person being really just isolated within her head. Just stuck in there. I really related to that, you know, and I think a lot of people would relate to that feeling of being isolated by this sense of just like this hormonal fucking storm in your head, that even if you're aware of, you can't control.

Miranda [00:22:41] Right.

Annie [00:22:41] I find that bit very moving.

Miranda [00:22:44] Oh, good. Yeah. I think the combination of that and that all the structures have been built around men, means that you're kind of in this, like, hall of mirrors or mirrors that don't reflect you or something. So if we're talking about isolation like that, hormonal, you know, almost psychedelic time could feel really differently if you were in a context that reflected it. Right. So I think the come in from the cold. It's like, well, but what I would come into isn't, wasn't made for me. Yeah. So I can't go in. Yeah. You know, but where could I go.

Annie [00:23:24] How do you know where the line starts and ends in terms of what's dictating your choices?

Miranda [00:23:30] I tried to show this in the book. It's it's not clear. Just in the same way that you're you right now are at some point. And so am I at some point in your cycle. Right. You're either just bleed or you're about to bleed or there'll be a little, you know what I mean? And that is affecting you totally. You can be totally checked out of it. And be just fine. Might kind of surprise you in some moments, but it also depends on who you are. Like, I actually, my period was never a hard thing for me. And then I have friends who are like, just fucking out of commission, you know? So it's it is like so different for everyone. And then also, the sad thing to imagine is someone having all these changes and feeling, not knowing what you know in the book, she can't sleep, you know, and it doesn't occur to her that that could be, you know, because it's not hot flashes. She doesn't doesn't occur to her that that could be a sign of perimenopause. And the book is really I don't yet know anything about menopause. I only know about perimenopause this transitional time, so I there is a point where some women and these are all real. These parts are real, real quotes from women about being on the other side. Yeah. So I kind of wanted some of that at the end because I learned so much. But really it's about a time of transition. If I had one thing to say to someone at your exact age, you would be like, how exciting for you! This is the time when so many things will become clear, but before they become clear, it's probably going to be like a wild ride, you know? And like maybe, maybe that's kind of a gift to have, you know, a life that's not just a straight line, you know, that has transformation built into it.

Annie [00:25:23] It's so refreshing to hear it being spoken of as a wild ride, like something to lean into, as opposed to just kind of, I suppose, submit to and fear. We should talk about the fact that, I mean, the women who've came before. I got the sense that maybe they weren't fully aware because of science and because of a lack of discourse around this, of what was going on. And I'm talking specifically about Grandma Esther and Aunt Ruthie. Can you tell us? Yeah, about what happens to those women in the book?

Miranda [00:25:56] Right. As much as the book is fiction, there were some sort of boundaries, some sort of very fundamental bedrock of my life that I kind of suddenly became aware that while I always thought of it as my father's story, that his mom and his sister had killed themselves later in life, that I was actually next in that that matrilineage, you know, that had had an impact on me. While he might have this really intimate knowledge of it, it had shaped me my whole life. You know, my my aunt, that was recent enough that that was, you know, I was well into adulthood when that happened. So I did have this, kind of eerie sense of like, okay, I'm not going to jump out a window, but I do need to do something like I have to take. Some huge risk that doesn't end in death, but that does refute whatever like terrifying thing was, you know, was coming for them like it's and you know they're older like is the culture had even less room for, you know, the idea of what a, you know, older woman could be. It was kind of eerie sometimes, like how real that felt, how like I'm doing this for us.

Annie [00:27:26] Yeah, yeah.

Miranda [00:27:27] For our family like it, it ends here.

Annie [00:27:31] You know, in this country, and I couldn't say for any other country. But in this country, the highest rate of suicide in women is in midlife. It's between those ages of 45 and 55.

Miranda [00:27:40] Right.

Annie [00:27:41] And it's unsurprising to me that that is the case. But it makes me just feel like these, these conversations are just, are just so important that this discourse can be life changing. It can be lifesaving. It really can. When people finally open up and realise that those things that are happening to them are, you know, universal amongst other women that they know.

Miranda [00:28:03] Yeah. That thing I was saying where I was like, I'm excited for you for this time. Yeah. It entirely relies on you being in conversation right, with your friends. It's like, oh, so the monster can't get me if I leave the lights on and it's like, yeah, yes, that's true, because the monster is entirely created by staying in the dark.

Annie [00:28:27] Yeah!

Annie [00:28:38] Can I ask you about your adult change, please, Miranda?

Miranda [00:28:41] Yeah. For me, I'm. I'm someone who always pictured having, a child, one child, a little girl, which didn't at first seem to be the case, although, my incredible non-binary child is, trans feminine. So, it's kind of interesting how, like, you sort of maybe know, what you're carrying. The the interesting thing about being human is you want things that work at cross-purposes to each other. So I want total freedom. You know, that's my, like, number one like, thing in life. And I also wanted a child, which, anyone who has a child knows is is kind of can seem to be the opposite of that. And I do remember thinking like, well, really done it now. Like, now there's really no way out like I am, you know, like marriage and alone. That doesn't necessarily, like, lock you in, but a child, it's like. That's it. The thing I didn't count on is, is like, you're living with someone who's, of a different generation. Like, I have young friends, but this person is younger than my youngest friend. And, that the sort of radicalising effect of. As that child begins to grow up, my child turns 12 this week. And this just particular soul. I don't know, this is just my experience, but at the very last, thank you in my acknowledgements of the book, is to my child for emboldening me, and I did. I did feel like before the child, it was sort of me versus Mike. And then once there was this third party who was more fundamentally rejecting of, constructions, that, it kind of changed the whole playing field. It was like, oh, well, what like, what am I doing? Not being totally honest, right? If you're my child and you're so bold. Yeah. So that was a twist that I did not see coming

Annie [00:31:02] The change that you'd still like to make or see you. You cited spiritual growth.

Miranda [00:31:07] You know, the thing that's new for me is that I'm. I'm starting to become aware of my, like, cruelty to myself, I guess. Oh, you know, you're just used to feeling bad in many little ways all day. And now I'm starting to when I'm like, you know, why did I do that? You know, it's essentially some version of that of, like, spiralling into your core. And when I get that feeling, when it's not just like something I can let go of quickly, I'm like, this is not now. This is this is something old because the circumstances don't really merit this like coil of agony in me. Or often the question when I find the the thing I'm saying to myself, which is whatever, like embarrassing version would be like, you shouldn't have posted that. That's like stupid people are going to think you're just only care about yourself. And, you know, then you say like, well, who told you that? Like, whose voice is that in? And I'm like, oh, I don't even think my dad. My dad didn't ever say anything like that. But that's how I interpreted his silence. Was like, oh, I'm done. Yeah. You know.

Annie [00:32:24] So it's this, this idea of, like, zooming out. Yeah. Being able to see your thoughts, like, observe them and observe what voice you are thinking in and be able to compartmentalise that and know that it's not.

Miranda [00:32:35] Well, not compartmentalise kind of release - let it go.

Annie [00:32:38] Yeah. Got you.

Miranda [00:32:39] Yeah. Yeah. Because there's a lot of compartmentalisation that's a part of that. That's where I'm at now. So that's not the change. That's my current process. But I feel like I want to begin to understand why I'm here or what life is. And these little coils that are most of them from my childhood, like I'd like to be done with those. I mean, I know it's not that simple, but I would like to move through to some other, an internal life that's a little different than that. I mean, of course, there's always creativity which gets you out, but there's a lot of life where I'm not making something, too. And that part's pretty hard for me.

Annie [00:33:24] Of course. In the book, our protagonist is really curious. He's trying to make sense of what's happening to her, and she asks her friends a lot. She does this kind of open source thing where she asks loads of her friends the same question. One of those is about life after bleeding. You said that you did this for real. Would you mind giving us a little insight into what you discovered?

Miranda [00:33:44] With menopause I think it's not articulated or it's hard to articulate, what people enjoy about it, or what's meaningful about it. And, I mean, the list is so varied. You know, they go from someone saying their migraines finally stopped to some people say the thing that's maybe a bit more familiar that they were returned to their like nine year old state of just being feeling really free and comfortable in their body. And then there's yeah, a fair amount of people who are just like, my body's mine because it's of sort of of no use to anyone anymore. It's it's now really mine to do what I want with like, this, you know, especially at a time where women don't have control over their reproductive rights. Yeah. And then there's a kind of feeling that you're going to change what you even care about. And the things you care about are going to see more interesting to you. You know, like, you don't have to keep having the same concerns.

Annie [00:34:49] There's a lot of, you know, different sexual experiences in this book, I suppose. What did writing about sex in the way that you do in this book reveal to you about your assumptions of sex?

Miranda [00:35:02] It's funny, I would get quite caught up in writing sex scenes or, you know, lustful fantasy scenes and have a great time writing them. And then I'd look back and I'd be like, this isn't quite true. And I delete, delete, delete and try, you know, like, I might write what she looked like masturbating and then realise that just like masturbation and porn or maybe like, but that's not actually, you know, and then I delete it and I write sort of describe this like ugly rigour mortis position that she's in that she needs to be in, you know, that isn't going to turn anyone on, you know, so there's certain things like that, like just trying to have a truth, even if it's not going to be everyone's truth, maybe you can smell the truth in it. I also wanted to have a kind of, very inconsistent desire that could be so intense and then not at all, because I, I felt like, well, if there's one thing I know, it's that women are not sexually consistent. Why should they be? That could only be a construction for other people's benefit. So that I wanted to, you know, stay close to the truth on and then I guess, like in the book, there's the distinction, the mind rooted fuckers and the body rooted fuckers. You know, that, like, the mind is, is.

Annie [00:36:36] Fascinating explain, please, for those who don't...

Miranda [00:36:39] Just like, do you get off from as some sort of story in your head, or if you're acting it out with someone but like it's the mind has to be there, you know, for it to like kick start my body and then the body would be, you know, you just see the body and get turned on, you know, see another person's body. Yeah. It's just the mind doesn't need to be involved in that way or to that degree. And that, that being, like, two kinds of people. And the book ultimately is about like, yeah, there's sort of come to Jesus moment of like, can you live in fantasy forever? Or is could there be a point where you come out into the real world? You know, while still being a mind rooted fucker, you know?

Annie [00:37:29] Yeah. Yeah. Well, listen, I wish you the best for all of these chats and conversations that are that are going to be had around the book. And I thank you. Honestly, I thank you so much for writing it and for everything you went through to, to get it out there in the world. I think you're going to affect so many people's lives. So thank you Miranda July. And it's been a real honour to have you on the podcast.

Miranda [00:37:48] Right. My pleasure. Thank you.

Annie [00:37:52] Thank you so much to Miranda July. What a pleasure to have that time with her. It was one of the first conversations she'd had around the book, and I think it was all very new to her. The idea of talking about it and and also quite exciting to her. Yeah. It was such a buzz to speak to her and have some of my questions answered. And do go and buy all fours now. Send me your thoughts. I could discuss it endlessly. I love talking about that book. Thank you so much. Share. Subscribe. Rate. All the usual business. It's so great to have you listening to changes week in, week out. This podcast is produced by Louise Mason with assistant production from Anna DeWolf Evans, through DIN productions.

[00:38:35] See you next week!