Saturday, September 28, 2013

Excerpts from Lydia Davis.

One of my classes recently introduced me to an author named Lydia Davis. She primarily writes very short short stories (Some as short as a sentence). That isn’t what’s astounding about her though. What’s astounding about her is how good she is with language. She bends it like a mystic bends a spoon. Below are some of my favorite twisted utensils from her collected works.   

On love and loss and sex and such:

… you’re planning it all, not in your head, really, somewhere inside your body, or all through your body, it’s all mounting up and coming together so that when you get in bed you can’t help it …

It isn’t over when it ends.

… she didn’t have to feel this was a burden, the fact that I loved her.

You can’t measure it, because the pain comes after and it lasts longer. So the question really is, Why doesn’t that pain make you say, I won’t do it again? When the pain is so bad that you have to say that, but you don’t.

And, everyone knows, to tolerate a person telling you about his childhood it is necessary to be in love with him.

On cockroaches:

We feel for such nimble rascals, such quick movers, such clever thieves.

It is in his moment of hesitation that you sense him as an intelligent creature. Between his pause and his change of direction, you are sure, there is a quick thought.

On cats:

… they could wait for a person longer than a person would wait for them.

… at each moment in its life, a cat has only one concern.

On the Napoleon Complex:

Small men are often inclined to take pride in their good health.

On waiting for a woman to show up:

… and the more women pass who resemble her, or the more they resemble her, the closer I think she is, and the more likely to appear.

If she does not come it would be wrong to say I will miss her, because she is always so present in my imagination.

On minimalism:

Her austerity sometimes borders on masochism.

On Women’s Lib:

… where henceforth will be the so-called superiority of the male man? In truth, I tell you: the time is close when women will become human beings.

This is the entire story (or is it a poem?) called The Fly:

At the back of the bus,
inside the bathroom,
this very small illegal passenger,
on its way to Boston.

And this is one of my favorites of hers. It has been stuck to my brain like napalm on skin since I read it a week ago. This is the entire story:

Information from the North Concerning the Ice

Each seal uses many blowholes and each blowhole is used by many seals.


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