“I don’t remember this. I remember the soda and the bone structure and her obscene skirts and my large jeans. I remember the cabinets and the smudged glass doors beside them and I remember the bathroom with the yellow tile and the tilted mirror so shitty it might as well have just been a metal counter. I remember the sunlight from the parking lot and the dead grass between parking spaces. I remember her bony legs, knees emerging like a camera-paralyzed striptease, and I remember my shoulders and my hair and my intense discomfort with absolutely everything in the world.
And I remember him, though not any first moment, but I don’t remember a first moment with her either, and this is perhaps the indelible nature of the people who matter. This is perhaps what it means for love to be inescapable — these people’s place in and influence on my life has nothing to do with the labor of memory, try as I do to tame them into boxes through those very processes. They resist it because they do not need it; they are beyond it. They didn’t appear, and they do not belong to a past event. Rather, they are there like the progression of blood through systems, or the way I memorized my own name.”
Cruciatus in crucem. Eas in crucem.
Bartlet : You’re a son-of-a-bitch, You know that? She bought her first new car and You hit her with a drunk driver. What, was that supposed to be funny? “You can’t conceive, nor can I, the appalling strangeness of the mercy of God,” says Graham Greene. I don’t know whose ass he was kissing there ‘cause I think You’re just vindictive. What was Josh Lyman? A warning shot? That was my son. What did I ever do to Yours except praise His glory and praise His name? There’s a tropical storm that’s gaining speed and power. They say we haven’t had a storm this bad since You took out that tender ship of mine in the North Atlantic last year, 68 crew. Do You know what a tender ship does? Fixes the other ships. Doesn’t even carry guns, just goes around, fixes the other ships and delivers the mail, that’s all it can do.Gratias Tibi ago, domine. Yes, I lied. It was a sin. I’ve committed many sins. Have I displeased You, You feckless thug? Three point eight million new jobs, that wasn’t good? Bailed out Mexico, increased foreign trade, 30 million new acres of land for conservation, put Mendoza on the bench, we’re not fighting a war, I’ve raised three children… that’s not enough to buy me out of the doghouse? Haec credam a deo pio? A deo iusto? A deo scito? Cruciatus in crucem! Tuus in terra servus nuntius fui officium perfeci. Cruciatus in crucem. Eas in crucem! You get Hoynes!
Richard Siken, Crush
always seems like an answer to/echo of o’hara’s ‘the day came fat with an apple in its mouth’
“It should be so simple. You do what you can while he is awake, and then once he is asleep, you do what you can do only when he is asleep, beginning with the most important thing. But it is not so simple.
You ask yourself what is the most important thing. It should be easy to say which thing has priority and go and do it. But not just one thing has priority, and not just two or three. When several things have priority, which of the several things having priority is given priority?
In the time in which you can do something, the time when he is asleep, you can write a letter that has to be written immediately because many things depend on it. And yet if you write the letter, your plants will not get watered and it is a very hot day. You have already put them out on the balcony hoping the rain will water them, but this summer it almost never rains. You have already taken them in from the balcony hoping that if they are out of the wind they will not have to be watered as often, but they will still have to be watered.
And yet if you water the plants, you will not write the letter, on which so much depends. You will also not tidy the kitchen and living room, and later you will become confused and cross because of the disorder. One counter is covered with shopping lists and pieces of glassware your husband bought at a liquidation sale. It should be simple enough to put the glassware away, but you can’t put it away until you wash it, you can’t wash it until the sink is clear of dirty dishes, and you can’t wash the dishes until you empty the drainboard. If you begin by emptying the drainboard, you may not get any farther, while he is asleep, than washing the dishes.
You may decide that the plants have priority, in the end, because they are alive. Then you may decide, since you must find a way of organizing your priorities, that all the living things in the house will have priority, starting with the youngest and smallest human being. That should be clear enough. But then, though you know exactly how to care for the mouse, the cat, and the plants, you are not sure how to give priority to the baby, the older boy, yourself, and your husband. It is certainly true that the larger and older the living thing is, the harder it is to know how to care for it.”—Lydia Davis, “Priority”
battling this pterodactyl in the closet with a pan
“This guy was like the Johnny Appleseed of acid. He would take a load of acid and explain an album cover to you for just hours. He would take a Hot Tuna album that you had seen a trillion times and he would begin to examine it with these long lectures that were like Fidel Castro giving a lecture at the Sorbonne. He also once set his hand on fire and watched it for quite a while because he was so high. That really impressed me. Anyway, this guy had given me some acid and one night, when Rachel and I were just hanging out in the hotel, I said, You wanna take some? She said no. I said, Okay, I think I’m going to. So I took it, and it comes on, and then I want a beer and I go into the little kitchen, and by now the acid’s full on and this guy, this big flying cockroach, like a palmetto bug—you know those things?—it crawls out of the six-pack, and to me, at the time, it was like a pterodactyl, in some Raquel Welch movie set in prehistoric times. According to Rachel, I batted this thing in the little kitchen for, like, five hours. She heard pans and things breaking and she said I emerged with a torn shirt, sweaty—and victorious. That’s what my experience of writing The Sugar Frosted Nutsack was like. Battling this pterodactyl in the closet with a pan. At a certain point, of course, the book attained a mind of its own, a subjectivity or an autocatalytic, machinelike quality.” — Mark Leyner in conversation with Sam Lipsyte in the forthcoming Paris Review 60th anniversary edition
this is the most accurate description of my own writing process I have ever heard another writer articulate. Battling a giant bug in a kitchen, while on acid and believing said bug is a dinosaur. Yes. Exactly.
“Nothing happened—or perhaps everything happened”
the faked serialization.
“He wants to say I love you, nothing can hurt you
but he thinks
that is a lie, so he says in the end
you’re dead, nothing can hurt you
which seems to him
a more promising beginning, more true.” — louise gluck, averno
“We are not visitors, tourists, nor inhabitants of New York City; we are New York City. The city is our moving self-portrait and a living art installation carved out on an island of rock, even the cracks of the sidewalk are crying out on the topic of our lives. The city is a profound opportunity to understand ourselves. ”—speed levitch, the cruise
(I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever get tired of talking about this. in case you are wondering. not ever.)