where we have to go-lauren kirshner

“i’m glad you mentioned the word ON the street festival”

ah, you gotta love matt galloway and how much he loves books, and toronto. (and, for that matter-the radio. his latest interview for the grid with ira glass is so great..) but shame on the representative of the mayor’s office that fucked up the name of the city’s book festival at the toronto book awards a few weeks ago, damn-that’s a fail. or, a true representation of the mayor’s office. as i was reading through this one, i was thinking how it was my pick for the award, and then i found out that it actually was a finalist. hashtag, no accidents. i love that the book happens largely in my neighborhood, in such brilliant little collections of sentences:

“Men stared at Erin with soft looks in their eyes, like they were reading an old book they really loved. I was the period of the sentence that Erin’s swishing hips wrote.” (215)

“But I couldn’t concentrate. I was so hungry that the type was swimming in front of my eyes, smudging into blots of blurriness. This happened all the time. It would start with the commas. They’d sway like sneakers being dangled by their laces from an overpass and then bang, they’d tumble off the page. Then went the apostrophes, these westward fledging sparrows that my eyes craned to catch but missed. The regular letters made up words I had to squint to follow. Lately, reading a book was as deadly as watching a train derail. I’d miss one word, then a line, and then a whole page would crash.” (174)

“Now it occurred to me that just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean you won’t miss it when it goes away.” (252)

so imagine if you do like something. ok, someone. if tuesday is d-day for an affair, wouldn’t you want to celebrate until then? (sigh) but i guess that’s the difference in those who believe that there are “obligations” in life and those who know to choose every moment.

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2 thoughts on “where we have to go-lauren kirshner

  1. family matters:

    “I stared at the canisters on the counter and thought of how when my grandmother was alive there’d be chicken soup and liver dumplings and enormous turkey thighs that Dad devoured in a way that made him look like Fred Flinstone eating the choicest brontosaurus cut. When my grandmother was alive, these visits reminded us that we were a family instead of four paper dolls held together with glue.” (26-7)

    “I cut another curl from the back of his head. Cutting his hair made me feel like I was removing the lousy parts of him, the ones that made me feel like I was removing the lousy parts of him, the ones that made him come home late and have to go to these meetings, or think blonde girls were the chosen creatures on earth.” (36)

    “‘When you’re smart, looks matter very little,’ Dad said.
    ‘Thanks,’ I said, but I didn’t buy it because his eyes clung to the butt of every blonde we passed.’” (60)

    “The house felt strange without Mom in it. It felt like a hot-air balloon without the balloon.” (76)

    “She was right. The two men in Mom’s life were unavailable to her in completely different ways: Dad was real but never home. Hack Boyer was an illusion but always there when she needed him.” (266)

  2. some girls:

    “She took off her polo shirt and her beige bra with the little tennis rackets applique between the cups, and then dared me to touch her breasts. Her breasts were different sizes and I didn’t know which one to touch. So I chose the smaller one, because I figured she resented it. I just pet it, the way you pet a cat you hardly know. My hand made little circles on her breast, feeling the curve of her top rib, soft yet hard at the same time, like a piece of celery.” (82)

    “These girls were quick, radiant, and light, a storm of butterflies careening out of a net. I was slow and focused, like a steam locomotive moving up a hill. I wasn’t invisible. I was impossible to miss, but in the worst way.” (161)

    “For them friendship was rich and contained, but not too meaningful, like the single-serving 10 per cent cream they poured delicately into their coffees. I envied these women, who I imagined were never confused. Their lives seemed beautiful and totally made.” (242)

    “People are like switches. When they’re on, the currents of life are flowing through them: they’re funny, they sing you a bar of a stupid song without caring about how they sound, and they talk before they have a chance to think about what they want to say. I was like that with Erin. Dad used to be like that with me, in his own blunt way. Now he shut everyone down. Now he’d shut himself down.” (259)

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