Today in Minor Literature[s], a short piece of mine went up.
Preview of “A Ball is a Ball”
“When you feel it coming on, here’s what you do: imagine it as a ball. A football, or a tennis ball, whatever kind of ball you’re most familiar with, or whatever ball requires the use of the limb in which you have the most confidence.”
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Literary Orphans published two of my short shorts in their beautiful October issue.
My sister got divorced and I worried. For a while, she considered marrying her horse.
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In my dream, my husband is a woman. Not a beautiful woman with whom, despite my being straight, I can imagine myself in bed. He is a male-looking woman, resembling his reality male-self too much to attract me as someone from my own sex. In fact, I only know he is a woman because of the energy (s)he radiates and the curve of his/her chest.
Next, I find myself examining my own body, hoping, perhaps, I have changed gender as well, which isn’t the case.
My husband stands on stage and sings her heart out in a scene stolen from an early Lynch movie: dark bar-theater, red curtains, sparse audience. (S)he sings and sings, convincingly, and I am invaded by love, swept off my feet, in defiance of everything.
When I open my eyes and see my husband’s head, half-buried in the pillow, relaxed in sleep, I feel like the luckiest person in the world.
How short can a story be?
My shortest piece so far, “The Realist”, is up in Boston Literary!
Thank you for reading.
Today, I began reading The Sound and the Fury.
Most Americans have read this novel in high school or college, but I can safely say most Dutch have not. Our education on English literature was extremely English, meaning: it focused on writing from Great Britain and Ireland (Steinbeck and Dickinson being the exceptions). Apart from Woolf, Orwell, and Joyce, it also cared little about the 20th century.
Although I was happy to learn Shakespeare sonnets by heart, and could never get enough of Jane Austen, I felt retrospectively sad that I didn’t discover American masters such as Hemingway, Salinger, and Bellow until long after my graduation.
So today: Faulkner. The dialect is less difficult to understand than I had thought, and the style is far less complicated, too. It’s the perspective that’s troubling and intriguing all the same. I’m sticking with it!
They’ve named a hurricane after me, my husband says and he sounds proud. It was only a tropical storm this morning, he adds, but I’m sure it’s a hurricane now.
We Google his atmospheric namesake and learn that tropical storm Erica has already stolen his thunder. Danny is nothing but a “weak and disorganized cyclone with minimal impact.”
Looking disappointed, he suggests we search for my name. We do and meet tropical storm Claire from 1969, a depression.
Weak and disorganized, my husband says. That’s me.
A depression, I say.
We turn the computer off and let the evening wind down.
According to certain people in my life, I don’t exploit my feminine charm as much as I should. I guess I’m just one of these women who prefer being appreciated for other qualities, etcetera. But I must admit that on rare occasions, I draw satisfaction from recognizing my physical potential.
Today, jogging in the Luxembourg gardens, I passed a group of firemen in training in front of the Medici fountain. They were placidly listening to their coach until they caught sight of me. Over twenty heads turned. I couldn’t help but flash the young men a smile. Even the coach looked at me as though he’d never seen a woman with bare legs like mine before. Perhaps he hadn’t.
Back home, I made a note to myself: your legs may be of use some day.
I’m re-reading Don Delillo’s Underworld.
The first time I read it, I was twenty-two. I liked it yet thought it was overabundantly American.
I still think that, but now I also think it’s a masterpiece I can never live without.
The difference between these two responses makes me worried about who I was at the age of twenty-two.
I soothe myself with the explanation that I probably missed half of Delillo’s brilliance because of my poorer comprehension of English at the time.
I dreamed I was living in a dystopian world in which culture had become suspicious and men were not allowed to read anything unless it was written by a woman.
I recently re-devoured Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.
Often, my dreams are not very subtle.
The always amazing Hobart published my short short “The Mindreader” as their web feature today.
“I am a woman of discipline, which is to say: I don’t act at random. But I once slept with a mindreader on a whim.”
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