I don't miss the dead less, I miss them more. I miss the tall pines around Lake Pleasant, I miss the brown-and-gray cobblestones on West Cedar Street, I miss the red-tailed hawks that fly so often in pairs. I miss the cheap red wine in a box and I miss the rum-and-Coke. I miss Anne's wet gold hair drying as we saw on the fire escape. I miss the hot dog luau and driving to dance lessons after breakfast at Bruegger's Bagels. I miss the cold mornings on the farm, when the handle of the bucket bit into my small hands and my feet slid over the frozen dew. I miss the hot grease spattering around the felafel balls and the urgent clicking of Hebrew. I miss the new green leaves, shaking in the June rain. I miss standing on my father's shiny shoes as we danced to the Tennessee Waltz and my mother made me a paper fan so I could flirt like a Southern belle, tapping my nose with the fan. I miss every piece of my dead. Every piece is stacked high like cordwood within me, and my heart, both sides, and all four parts, is their reliquary.
Friday, June 5, 2009
"Easy reading is damn hard writing."
~ Nathaniel Hawthorne
Amy Bloom's "By and By" is a short story told from the point of view of a young woman who saw her best friend kidnapped. (Only later is it determined that the best friend was killed, too). It isn't a happy story. The narrator describes what happens, physically, to the heart and body most-mortem; she's very detached yet clearly very affected. The last paragraph is my favorite:
I wrote some fiction last night; it's a start. To get back to that place where made up ideas flow, where I don't feel silly describing someone who doesn't really exist, will take time. I've been in the "truth telling" mode for quite a while!