“The Dreadful Mucamas”
They are very rigid, stubborn women from Bolivia. They resist and sabotage whenever possible.
They came with the apartment. They were bargains because of Adela’s low IQ. She is a scatterbrain.
In the beginning, I said to them: I’m very happy that you can stay, and I am sure that we will get along very well.
This is an example of the problems we are having. It is a typical incident that has just taken place. I needed to cut a piece of thread and could not find my six-inch scissors. I accosted Adela and told her I could not find my scissors. She protested that she had not seen them. I went with her to the kitchen and asked Luisa if she would cut my thread. She asked me why I did not simply bite it off. I said I could not thread my needle if I bit it off. I asked her please to get some scissors and cut it off – now. She told Adela to look for the scissors of la Señora Brodie, and I followed her to the study to see where they were kept. She removed them from a box. At the same time I saw a long, untidy piece of twine attached to the box and asked her why she did not trim off the frayed end while she had the scissors. She shouted that it was impossible. The twine might be needed to tie up the box some time. I admit that I laughed. Then I took the scissors from her and cut it off myself. Adela shrieked. Her mother appeared behind her. I laughed again and now they both shrieked. Then they were quiet. Continue reading
Almost finished with this bad boy, or as “finished” as one can be with Davis’s stuff, which I tend to linger on, return to. Full review forthcoming.
All of this is basically reading around/between/over Gravity’s Rainbow:
Rereading Roberto Bolaño’s Nazi Literature in the Americas again. (I reviewed it here on this blog over five goddamn years ago). I want to read 2666 (yet) again, so this is…I don’t know…a staving off against that urge?
Yuri Herrera’s excellent novella Signs Preceding the End of the World also makes me want to read 2666. You should read this book (Signs, but also 2666). I will write a Full Goddamn Review—but excellent. Get it from And Other Stories.
Reading GR interspersed with short (often very short) stories from the collection Africa 39—two hits, a miss, and a shrug so far. More thoughts to come.
Can’t and Won’t by Lydia Davis. Like a palate cleanser. Wait. Not the right term. I mean, like, a sorbet—tasteful, tasty, snappy, bright. There are some longer pieces at the end, I see, that I will not get to for awhile. More to come—but let’s get real, you either like what Davis does or you don’t and your indifference, like all indifference, is uninteresting, but not boring or damning, let alone an indictment of your beautiful character. Chill.
David Winters’s collection Infinite Fictions. Damn him! Not really. This book is great—the book I wish that I had written.
I have tried and failed to write about Jason Schwartz’s first book A German Picturesque four goddamn times now.
I don’t think I will even try to write about Gravity’s Rainbow. (Unless I do try).
The first two sections of one of my favorite short stories, Lydia Davis’s “Marie Curie, So Honorable Woman.” Collected in The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis.
Salon has posted a new interview with Lydia Davis. From the interview:
I can’t write incorrectly. I find it very difficult to just relax and have spelling mistakes and grammar mistakes and punctuation – I cannot do that. But I can’t do that even if I write a shopping list, so that’s not surprising. I can’t be casual, so it’s more correct. Sometimes I have fun writing it nicely – doing parallel constructions or, you know – but of course it’s more relaxed than a formal story, but it’s still a piece of writing that has an effect whether it’s a really good friend or a business email so I’m still quite conscious. It’s amazing how you can write something quickly and when I reread it – I always reread my emails – I make mistakes and I’m confusing and you’d think after all this time I could write a quick email that would be absolutely perfect, but I can’t.