Friday, August 12, 2011

Rock Hudson Is Invading My Dreams

by J J Cohen

A lingering effect of the long flight from Melbourne: waking up each night at 12:12 AM, 2:10 AM and 3:05 AM thinking I have been in bed for a very long time and it is time to arise and start the day. Usually my thoughts are full of cereal and coffee, but at the 2:10 awakening this morning I was mulling the name of Rock Hudson.

My problem is, I think, that jet lag has hybridized itself with work-induced insomnia and created a sleep depriving monster that makes me hungry in the middle of the night AND ensures that I ruminate over my writing tasks rather than return to slumber. Although I'm spending most of my days composing a talk for Speculative Medievalisms (a talk that so far is about Geoffrey of Monmouth's Merlin as a vicar of causation), I also know that the final revisions to my "Queering the Inorganic" essay will be due soon. You'll remember that this essay comes from my keynote at the Berlin "Queer Again" conference, and it struck me in the middle of the night that while I had blathered on in the piece about the sex life of diamonds I had said nothing about Rock Hudson, né Roy Harold Scherer, Jr. Why would Roy allow himself to be re-christened with such a crazy name? What is the gender of stone? Is a Rock more stonily masculine than a Roy? Is a Rock more heterosexual? Doesn't Rock through its lithic assertiveness simply obscure but never eradicate its queer content? And what about the watery Hudson? Do we have here the pairing of immobile earth and restless river, suggesting perhaps that neither is stable, both are fluid, in constant motion?

These were the thoughts of 2:10 AM. They seemed an urgent insight at the time, and I thought about getting out of bed and writing them down. I didn't, thank goodness. Rock Hudson is not going to make a cameo in my "Queering the Inorganic" essay after all: what insomnia renders momentous the late morning reveals as -- well, the gifts of insomnia and jet lag.


Eileen Joy said...

As to the watery Hudson, it flows through New York City.

Jeffrey Cohen said...

Perhaps linking it to Speculative Medievalisms ... My own oneiric link is that I conceptualize stone as an ultra slow moving analogue of water that congeals for a while in various forms. But in the end stone and water are one (and did you know that most of the earth's water -- far more than is held in it's oceans -- is contained by stone in the earth's depths?). So I was also wondering, through Rock's presence by my bedside, if stone and water and sexuality are one.

AND, as I declared on Google+, I am changing my name to Stone Potomac.