Before mercury, my blood used to fill thermometers.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The degradation would be mine.

The reissued Alfred Hayes novels from New York Review Books inspire such a tender love.


"Sometimes, hating the violent dispossession of myself which love brought on, I would wish to be elsewhere..."

"She had expected, being beautiful, the rewards of being beautiful; at least some of them; one wasn't beautiful for nothing in a world which insisted that the most important thing for a girl to be was beautiful."

"The only thing we haven't lost, I thought, is the ability to suffer. We're fine at suffering. But it's such a noiseless suffering. We never disturb the neighbors with it. We collapse, but we collapse in the most disciplined way. That's us. That's certainly us. The disciplined collapsers."

"My world acquired a tendency to crumble as easily as a soda cracker. I found myself horribly susceptible to small animals, ribbons in the hair of little girls, songs played late at night over lonely radios. It became particularly dangerous for me to go near movies in which crippled girls were healed by the unselfish love of impoverished bellhops. I had become excessively tender to all the more obvious evidences of the frailness of existence; I was capable of dissolving at the least kind word, and self-pity, in inexhaustible doses, lay close to my outraged surface. I moved painfully, an ambulatory case, mysteriously injured."

"Double beds, that was the first thing I was going to legislate for when I was President. Was I going to be President? Of course; and she was going to be, if she moved over, Congress."

"The whole point is that nothing can save us but a good fall. It's staying up there on the wire, balancing ourselves with that trivial parasol and being so pleased with terrifying an audience, that's finishing us. Don't you agree? A great fall, that's what we need."


"The town was necessary for her. It was the place she would have, finally, chosen. It wasn't that she thought it glamorous or anything. That had worn off with the first timid step she had taken into a casting office. Nor even that inevitably someday the erratic and unpredictable spotlight which illuminated the chosen would wheel and illuminate her. She'd now (it was different a year ago, a year ago she'd been sick, a little mad, she'd tell me about it, someday, when we knew each other better) come to acknowledge that it was quite possible that she would never have the big career or enjoy the immense fame that luck or shrewdness or accidental beauty made possible here. That her face, after all, wouldn't be, despite all her ambitions, the face that the world would see so greatly magnified, there, in the darkened theatres. "Yes," she said, passionately, with a sincerity that at last silenced me, "it may be rotten," meaning the town, and the life in it, "but I like it and I wouldn't have it any other way; it seems right to me that it should be rotten the way it is." And it struck me that, yes, why not? Perhaps for what one wanted it was right that the town should be hard and cruel and cheap and bitchy and stupid: all the other words, too. Yes, I thought: this is perhaps exactly as it should be, and from that odd angle, hers, I could see why she might, after all, like it, and think of it even as something perfectly true to its own rhinestone self."

"Morning seemed immeasurably far."

I've been getting along for long before you came into the play.

Being upset over rejection is validity itself. I have a cool approach to it, having totally lost days being raw about rejection. But as a gesture, this latest rejection was special. In a positive way, that is, which is circumstantial. On a different day this would have pulverized.

Because what does obliterate me without fail is a non-response or having to chase for a "no." When I know an option is closed to me, I can glide away for others. But sitting around, waiting for rejection only to find that the other party did not think of me enough to tell me "no" — that only reinforces my lack of control.

That said, I've been angry with myself. I submitted my first query to the Paris Review. I love the Paris Review, I hold the editors in high esteem, and if I want to someday have work appear there, I need to submit work to it. This year's been intense, and I stressed out so much about unleashing it to the postal service that I didn't include a SASE in order to receive my rejection — which, let us be real, I anticipated. The fact that I'd denied myself the opportunity to get rejected and have the evidence that I had tried for something I'd endeavored to do for years — my patience with myself was already up at the time.

But I received a rejection from The Paris Review via email! And, even though the remark begs editorializing with the likes of "sincerely," "really," — that was a very kind, considerate thing, uneditorialized. Reading submissions takes a long time, I didn't want to submit the work elsewhere until I knew I wouldn't be putting any editor at a disadvantage — and now I can move on. Which is action, which is empowering, which is what I need. And as a reminder that I had made that query in the first place — I feel like I haven't done anything in half a year, and the reminder that I have taken steps towards what I want is reassuring.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Incredibly harsh and really dehumanizing.

Post title courtesy of Piper Kerman's NPR interview and THE superior book title.

My wireless internet in my home is making a death rattle. My behavior without an internet connection is based on the notion that there is something to wait for, that the ghost of the internet might haunt my devices, and so I lie in bed and have burned through the entire Sailor Moon manga series like this (US first run from Mixx Comix, every volume falling apart). My time management's coming around as a result. I didn't have the internet in college, either, and it made all the difference in my work.

I've therefore been reviewing my adult, working life's days of peak productivity. I think it was when I was at the phone company and I could actually write all day, listen to audiobooks, and still accomplish the pale conceit of programming phone and internet (the irony, it has not escaped).

The internet is back now, but I am apprehensive and happy, for the moment, to be broken of my evolving addiction to Hulu Plus' Criterion trove. With cups of rose tea, I've been ignoring pressing responsibilities and lazing, enjoying Catherine Breillat's late-aughts oeuvre (Barbe bleue! For life!). This is what I thought would be waiting for me in adulthood.

Spoiler alert.
Also, reading Boris Kachka's Hothouse, and what have I underlined:
But it was during the summers that he found his first fulfilling work, as a copy boy for the White Plains Reporter. At the now long-defunct paper near Sarosca Farm, the cocky then not only earned his first salary, thirty-five dollars a week, but also got to write the occasional obituary or wedding notice — "and this turned me on."