Tag Archives: literature

Research – Warm-up

 

Research

 

* For an explanation of this project click here

‘Huh, I feel like I’m being interviewed on television,’ he said, sinking back in the chair. He allowed his shoulders to kneed around the back of the chair for a comfortable space. ‘So what exactly are you going to ask me Julie?’

I smiled at him. He glanced at the notebook in my hands, and then shuffled his shoulders around again against the back of the chair. He crossed his legs, and then uncrossed them again. I glanced at the question written at the top of the otherwise blank page. I dragged a finger down the page, over the lines. I watched his fingers drumming nervously on the padded arms of the chair.

I leant over to the tape deck beside the fireplace and pressed the red record button. I relaxed back in my chair.

‘This is Julie Roth, interviewing Douglas….’

‘O’Hara’ said Doug.

‘Douglas O’Hara. Okay Doug, we’ll start with your earliest childhood memory. Can you tell me about that?’ I said.

Doug looked up to the light and narrowed his eyes to slits. I’d started to notice that people looked to light bulbs for answers deep in their past. Perhaps there was something about the bright light that could expose these dormant memories from the dark corners in which they sat. Doug seemed to squish his face up, even clasp his jaw little, and I could tell that the exertion the recollection of this memory was taking was pushing Doug somewhere he hadn’t been for a while.

‘I was about three, or four maybe-‘

‘Which was it Doug? Three or four?’

‘Eh, three.’

‘You’re sure?’ I said.

‘Yes.’

‘Okay, so what happened Doug? Don’t worry, you’re doing great.’

I gave him a quick smile to reassure him. He was still rolling his shoulders around, doing things with his legs, desperate to find the seated equivalent of crossing his arms.

‘I remember being outside, sitting the empty driveway, in fall.’

‘Whose driveway?’

‘Our driveway.’

‘How did you know it was fall?’

‘There were leaves everywhere. Brown, orange, fall leaves.’

He leant forward and took a drink of water. I could see him shaking a little. He sat back in his chair and looked again to the light.

‘And who was there with you Doug?’

Doug kept looking to the light. He squinted at it again before pinching his nose and ruffling his brow.

‘I don’t recall.’

‘Doug, who was there with you?’

‘I don’t recall.’

‘Try harder.’

‘I, I…don’t….I can’t remember who was there, I can’t. But, but there was, someone.’

I looked down to my notebook and quickly scribbled my thoughts. I kept my exterior completely stoic, but inside I beamed.

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I read this today-

-and it arranged my emotional clutter into a precise line.

‘I felt like a cloud in someone else’s dream’ – from ‘I Love Bocce‘ by Sean Lovelace

x

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26 Books in 52 Weeks

Stitched Panorama

As part of my much larger New Year’s Resolution (Talk less, listen more) I have chosen 26 books to read this year. Here they are, in order.

1. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov

2. The White Tiger – Aravind Adiga

3. Collected Stories – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

4. Life – Keith Richards

5. The Mysteries of Pittsburgh – Michael Chabon

6. Metamorphosis – Franz Kafka

7. Mrs. Dalloway – Virgina Woolf

8. Atonement – Ian McEwan

9. Money – Martin Amis

10. Lanark – Alisdair Gray

11. The Road – Cormac McCarthy (sigh)

An extremely handsome pigeon just landed on my windowsill. His head is the same powered royal blue color that brass has a tendency to turn to when exposed to the elements. It fades quietly into that orgy of incandescent magenta and a shimmering metallic teal that the sod’s necks tend to go when they’re aptly groomed. He’s a mincing fowl lothario. Not a rogue feather straggling or an unruly tuft protruding. Regal. Debonair. Wonderful.

12. As I Lay Dying – William Faulkner

13. A Passage to India – E.M. Forster

14. Three Men in a Boat – Jerome K. Jerome

15. Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury

16. October Light – John Gardner

17. A Visit From the Goon Squad – Jennifer Egan

18. Empire Falls – Richard Russo

19. American Pastoral – Phillip Roth

20. Rabbit at Rest – John Updike

21. Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck

22. Savage Continent – Keith Lowe

23. In the Garden of Beasts – Erik Larson

24. Short Stories – Anton Chekov

25. Angela’s Ashes – Frank McCourt

26. Ulysses – James Joyce *

* Why the fuck not?

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