A friend and I once played a game around the pool at her apartment in Los Feliz, a game that we called How the Celebrity Died Badly. It involved inventing gruesome deaths for the famous. I can’t recall even one scenario, only that we laughed over a game that was cruel and made us feel clever.
It was also cynical, putting as it did a door between the cynic and what’s going on. Sure you can see through a keyhole, but how much?
This seemed a lesson I needed to continually relearn...
“I think of it every day; I never go over that bridge without thinking about it,” says Pati Gallagher. Her residence is as close as any in Portland to the Sellwood Bridge, her patio a three good strides from the river, and where she was sitting when she heard the children hit the water...
I write to you this morning via someone you knew when you were a very little boy. I do not expect you remember her, though perhaps you remember more from that time than most three year-olds. Habit can create memory, and you had little of that, but so can trauma. Perhaps people told you about the fire and it’s become part of your history, though that would require people to pass along history, and the people you knew then I don’t imagine were around very long...
On the night she died, my mom drove to a motel to buy cocaine with two men.”
This is the first sentence of Leah Carroll’s memoir, “Down City.” The paragraph ends with one of the men telling her mother, whom he is choking with a towel, “Come on you rat. Give me the death rattle...”
Fox tells me she will be receiving the Hadada Award from the Paris Review on April 6, that she is “the eighth writer to get it,” others include Norman Mailer, Williams Styron, Philip Roth, John Berryman and Joan Didion. I ask her how this feels.
“It feels good,” she says, to be recognized. “But it’s only for a short time. Time swallows us all.”
I will be on a panel this Saturday, February 11 at 9am, with four other authors who write about violence: Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich ("The Fact of a Body"), Chinelo Okparanta ("Happiness, Like Water"), R.O. Kwon ("Heroics") and Robin Wasserman ("Girls on Fire"). Do stop in if you're at AWP 2017 or in DC.
My review of Douglas Preston's new book, in today's Wall Street Journal. I suspect other reviews may liken the true adventure to Indiana Jones. I did not, but there are man-size snakes spitting venom, a forest floor "carpeted with glistening cockroaches" and a parasitic disease that will eat through your face. Check it out!