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TALES OF AN ORANGEPEELER

an archive of pleasures, wounds, sublimations
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07.15.03, tuesday night

Before work today, I read some short stories that were published in the early 80s. Names I've never heard before. A Raymond Carver one got me to shutter my eyes, the interior of a cathedral blooming in the darkness.

Examining this photo of a photo, I remember my mother's Singer, especially the sounds it made, a humming, grumbling, like a giant awakening, fie fie fo fum, as its one tooth thrilled to newly cut cloth. When in repose - rare when I was very little - the Singer was still quite considerable and even though it was quite considerable, it accompanied us from house to house.

Just as she sewed piecemeal on this Singer, my mother also sewed our clothes; she had sewed the white bellbottoms the little boy wears one day in the early 80s, when the short stories I read today had been written and published, distinguished from previous decades' "relationship" stories by time-sensitive particularities (language, the shape of a dress, a crazed Vietnam war vet character) - so distant to my first moments of consciousness, i.e. the transition from childhood to womanhood. As a 25-year-old woman, I discover them as minor peculiarities rather than as particularities with which i can identify intimately.

The little girl, that's me, of course. I remember that little storebought pink parka. Nut-brown plastic buttons. Fake fur bristling pink in a field of snow, so startling cold to the Santa Ana-bred girl, whose hair faded into auburn during those summers of ladybug-speckled grass and sidewalk hot enough to cook tender young feet.










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