Kristeva's writing on this subject is quite beyond simplification or explication, largely metaphorical but wandering back and forth across the boundary between the literal and the figurative the way so much psychoanalytic discourse seems, shamelessly, to do, but for me one of the useful things about her work on this particular subject is the light it sheds on the the way this kind of bodily disorder can create a sometimes terrible shame, partly to do with the potential disintegration of the self once its bodily boundaries are breached. And that has reminded me that Erdrich has reminded me of the single best sentence I've ever read about music in my whole life, in Dorothy Dunnett's Checkmate: 'Music, the knife without a hilt.'
Here I come to some trouble with words. The inside became the outside when Shamawenga played music. ... The sound connected instantly with something deep and joyous. Those powerful moments of true knowledge that we have to paper over with daily life. The music tapped the back of our terrors too. Things we'd lived through and didn't want to ever repeat. Shredded imaginings, unadmitted longings, fear and also surprising pleasures. No, we can't live at that pitch. But every so often something shatters like ice and we are in the river of our existence. We are aware.