“Don’t get your panties in such a twist… and give me back mine.”
― E L James, Fifty Shades of Grey
Here weee goooo!!!
IN HONOR OF INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY I AM HAPPY TO REPORT THAT I AM STILL PISSED OFF ABOUT THIS <END TRANSMITTAL>
This is pretty cool, guys. Two of our best writers talking to each other. No one threatens to kill anybody, which is an improvement on Mailer and Vidal.
It seems our Tumblr dashboard is filling up with authors talking to authors, and I LOVE IT.
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20 Reasons Why THE VANISHERS Might Have Been Regressively Written by a Future Heidi Julavits as a Gift to Of-Late Me
1. Goddess energies, obvo.
2. “In other words, this is not just a story about how you can become sick by knowing other people. This is a story about how other people can become sick by knowing you.”
3. Repeated use of the word “astral.”
4. “Part 1” plays out as a psychic campus novel. Imagine Bennington with spectral activity in addition to the numbing sex and booze and there you have it.
5. This phrase: “stained-glass windows unto the astral abyss.”
6. A character central to the book’s mystery is, early on, referred to exclusively as “the Leni Riefenstahl of France.” Miss you, Steven Bach.
7. “I think we both knew, before she flipped the card, that it would be the Fool, cautioning me not to take the imprudent path.” This is quite like what happened to me when a friend had me pull my card for the new year. (Previously.)
8. In an early passage, a specter of Fenrir, the mythical Norse wolf, becomes an embodiment of heartsickness and feasts upon its prey. Please see Neville being devoured by the jaws of heartsick grief in Episode 5 of The Waves.
9. Speaking of Woolf, a major male character is said to resemble her. Later still: “He really did look like shit, like Virginia Woolf after she’d been dredged from the river bottom.”
10. “Clarity, it turns out, is a death sentence,” Alwyn said. “Kincaid decided that by introducing patients to ‘reambiguation,’ i.e., by removing a person from his or her ambiguity-free, suicide-provoking context, he could offer them a viable suicide alternative.”
“How does a person reambiguate?” I asked.
“Kincaid prefers to call it vanishing,” Alwyn said.
“How does a person vanish?” I said.
“They leave and never go home,” she said. “It’s a very simple process.”
11. A psychic character is described as a brunette Cyndi Lauper, and is referred to as such for the rest of the scene. So, SheLaup in general, but also: Vibes.
12. This phrase: “a copse of spectral trees.”
13. Our heroine spends some time convalescing in semi-exile at an exclusive European spa. Shades of Mann and Brookner are tantamount to infinite bliss.
14. Meet my new mantras: “To forget is to respect the past, and the enable your pleasant future”; “…revisiting one’s memories could result, over time, in a form of self-erasure”; “The past is not the past if it is always present. Memory is an act of murder.”
15. “I knew from experience how unsettling it could be not to resemble the person once known as you.” Nose-break shellshock, guys!
16. Mention is made of the pleasing aftereffects of Grüner Veltliner. My body is basically 80% GV!
17. “It was my error not to understand: anyone can wake up one morning and decide against living. Every single day, the very healthiest among us might be seen to have a fifty-fifty chance of survival.”
18. “Concern was a bullshit way of caring for a person you couldn’t or wouldn’t love.”
19. “To be forgiven is to be released into the ether, untethered and alone.”
20. The discovery of reason and resolution in the dark interstices of female rivalry. (We can now add “Abmominations” to the ranks of Frenemies and Nemesisters.)
When the requisite form had been found, she sat down at a small glass table in the lobby. ‘Simmonds, Chiltern Street, London W1,’ she wrote. ‘Coming home.’ But, after a moment, she thought that this was not entirely accurate and, crossing out the words ‘Coming home,’ wrote simply, ‘Returning.’
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And what if we’re not referring to people as carriers of disease but people as diseases? The self is a source of contagion, oftentimes an unwitting one. He makes me sick, you’ve said of your ex-boyfriend. She’s toxic, you’ve said of your boss.
And maybe he did, maybe she is. After you become afflicted, after the doctors finger you as the cause, it’s instinctual to blame others for your physical misfortune. But blame is lonely, and your loneliness is compounded by the fact that you’re scared to go outside. To be near others is to risk further exposure and, worse, humiliation.
But what if you are not the only victim here? What if your daily online visits to this person whose ruin you’ve charted are not so benign? What if you are not a spectator to her demise? What if you are to blame for her shitty life?
What if you are her disease?
In other words, this is not just a story about how you can become sick by knowing other people. This is a story about how other people can become sick by knowing you.
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Vintage is revamping their Truman Capote backlist and, once again, Megan Wilson has knocked it out of the park. Must must must have.
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Charles Dickens, bicentennial birthday babe
(illus. by Peter de Sève)
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Here I come to one of the memoir writer’s difficulties—one of the reasons why, though I read so many, so many are failures. They leave out the person to whom things happened. The reason is that it is so difficult to describe any human being. So they say: ‘This is what happened’; but they do not say what the person was like to whom it happened. Who was I then? Adeline Virginia Stephen, the second daughter of Leslie and Julia Prinsep Stephen, born on 25th January 1882, descended from a great many people, some famous, others obscure; born into a large connection, born not of rich parents, but of well-to-do parents, born into a very communicative, literate, letter writing, visiting, articulate, late nineteenth century world; so that I could if I liked to take the trouble, write a great deal here not only about my mother and father but about uncles and aunts, cousins and friends. But I do not know how much of this, or what part of this, made me feel what I felt in the nursery at St Ives. I do not know how far I differ from other people. That is another memoir writer’s difficulty. Yet to describe oneself truly one must have some standard of comparison; was I clever, stupid, good looking, ugly, passionate, cold—? Owing partly to the fact that I was never at school, never competed in any way with children of my own age, I have never been able to compare my gifts and defects with other people’s. But of course there was one external reason for the intensity of this first impression: the impression of the waves and acorn on the blind; the feeling, as I describe it sometimes to myself, of lying in a grape and seeing through a film of semi-transparent yellow—it was due partly to the many months we spent in London. The change of nursery was a great change. And there was the long train journey; and the excitement. I remember the dark; the lights; the stir of the going up to bed.
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Alas! I could not ride about India in a sun-helmet and return to a bungalow. I cannot tumble, as you do, like half-naked boys on the deck of a ship, squirting each other with hose-pipes. I want this fire, I want this chair. I want some one to sit beside after the day’s pursuit and all its anguish, after its listenings, and its waitings, and its suspicions. After quarrelling and reconciliation I need privacy—to be alone with you, to set this hubbub in order. For I am as neat as a cat in my habits. We must oppose the waste and deformity of the world, its crowds eddying round and round disgorged and trampling. One must slip paper-knives, even, exactly through the pages of novels, and tie up packets of letters neatly with green silk, and brush up the cinders with a hearth broom. Everything must be done to rebuke the horror of deformity. Let us read writers of Roman severity and virture; let us seek perfection through the sand. Yes, but I love to slip the virtue and severity of the noble Romans under the grey light of your eyes, and dancing grasses and summer breezes and the laughter and shouts of boys at play—of naked cabin-boys, squirting each other with hose-pipes on the decks of the ships. Hence I am not a disinterested seeker, like Louis, after perfection through the sand. Colours always stain the page; clouds pass over it. And the poem, I think, is only your voice speaking. Alicibiades, Ajax, Hector and Percival are also you. They loved riding, they risked their lives wontonly, they were not great readers either. But you are not Ajax or Percival. They did not wrinkle their noses and scratch their foreheads with your precise gesture. You are you. That is what consoles me for the lack of many things—I am ugly, I am weak—and the depravity of the world, and the flight of youth and Percival’s death, and bitterness and rancour and envies innumerable… .
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Is everyone rereading A Christmas Carol this holiday season? Our friend Lena, Events Coordinator at powerHouse Arena is settling in (in style!) with our new edition.
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