Don't Andy Warhol look natural? New York, New York. April 26, 2018.
Tuesday, April 17, 2018
Here’s a dream from last night:
I’m a child in a gang of feral children. We’re running around inside an old Art Deco department store after hours. There’s a show going on in an attached theater; I think that’s where the adults are situated. With them preoccupied, we have the run of the place, but only so long as they aren’t aware.
I find a Christmas display area where many children are playing and running. I’m one of the bigger kids. I pick up small kids to get a look at the decorations and toys. Soon, there’s a band of small kids following me to explore whatever I find. I take pictures with my phone. None of the kids will stay still for photos, but I don’t mind: I’m only interested in details of the decorations, particularly miniatures. It’s hard to get a photo. I’m very intent.
Everything is sticky as if it’s covered in flowing foam or whipped cream. I have to wipe the goo from my hands and face, and remove it from my camera and objects. The kids with me are also covered in the foam. I find a tiny place, inside the bough of a tree, where a tiny house is flooded. I brush away the foam to take a photo inside its window.
I herd my group to showers to clean up. We all remove our clothes to step into water. There are many showers in several connected areas with no doors. Near the showers are cots. As I shower, I look around for other big kids like me, while keeping track of the smaller kids in my group. I see there are other groups like ours, with a big kid or two shepherding.
In the next shower, I see a tall girl with long limbs, her body shaped like Gumby’s. A couple of big boys are flirting with her. I wonder if they’re neglecting their groups and feel hypervigilant. The girl asks one of the boys to put his penis in her, “but only the Italian part,” she requests. “I want to see if I can tell the difference.” They try and fail. I’m amused by their clumsiness though aroused by the dumb idea of fucking for that reason.
Saturday, April 14, 2018
Visiting the home of Emily Dickinson. Amherst, Massachusetts. April 14, 2018.
At the conclusion of an hour-long tour, the guide asked if anyone had any last questions.
A young woman asked, "Wasn't Emily Dickinson a lesbian?" The tour went well over time.
Saturday, April 07, 2018
Tuesday, April 03, 2018
Shirley Jackson is best known for writing “The Lottery,” a short story published in The New Yorker in 1948. It would become one of the century's best-known short stories, while its author otherwise slipped into relative literary obscurity.
Ruth Franklin’s A Rather Haunted Life is a salutary corrective to her legacy, returning her to the canon of critically and commercially successful mid-century writers. She’s admired for her gothic, banal horror—Stephen King counts among her admirers—and forgotten for her best-selling humorous memoirs of parenting, which prefigured the likes of Erma Bombeck. Her dual career in horror and housekeeping contributed to her decline; she resisted easy pigeonholing.
I had only read “The Lottery,” and that back in high school. I’ve ordered her Modern Library collection from my local library to read what I missed. My own writing in smut and parenting leads me to admire her duality. Reading her life is inspiring and devastating, as she balances literary society with a home life of four children and a self-centered husband and the pressures of a domineering mother, along with depression, poor health and alcoholism.
If you haven’t read “The Lottery,” you can start by hearing her read it for Folkways in 1960, along with her story “Daemon Lover.” She was agoraphobic by this time, so her son made the recording at home.
Listen closely and you can hear the ice popping in her bourbon.
Read the full text of “The Lottery.”