posted by caroline picard

What follows is a series of clips from a video I made in which I collaged any number of clips from various sources to support a long story I’d also written (which is narrated). There are four parts to the series.

Part ONE

Part TWO

Part THREE (divided into 4 parts)

1/4

2/4

3/4

4/4

Part FOUR (divided into 3 parts)

1/3

2/3

3/3

posted by Caroline Picard

What great news, I can’t hardly believe it. Two Green Lantern books were shortlisted in the IPPY Book Awards. Terri Griffith’s So Much Better is a finalist in the Gay/Lesbian Fiction category and Ashley Donielle Murray’s Fascia is a finalist for the Short Story Fiction category.

huzza!

You can see the complete list of titles/categories by going here.

posted by Caroline Picard

Sara Levine read two pieces this week. One shorter work, on motherhood, has been recorded and uploaded on youtube. You can watch that below. The remainder, including a piece about political correctness, dwarves and chivalry gone awry, will be uploaded next week on our website, http://www.theparlorreads.com. You can check out previous episodes on i-tunes or by going here.

VICTOR

June 23, 2009

 

Aaron’s uncle Victor had moved to Texas in the seventies to finish his dissertation in a place without winters. Harvard had thoroughly robbed him of his belief in greatness, and he thought he could write something significant if his surroundings were more temperate. By the time that Victor settled in Texas, he was confident about this fact. And though he rarely read, much less wrote, his dissertation, he thought often of doing so often.

Victor met Gerry in the seventies, and they quickly conformed to common-law standards. The plan was not to stay in Texas, or rather to stay not in Texas, so the vehicle was not to put down roots. Victor and Gerry bought a mobile home and forewent the acquisition and interest of equity. Victor was struck one day when his mailman paraphrased Einstein’s thoughts on compound interest.

AARON (pt. 2)

June 22, 2009

The day before Aaron flew, his uncle died. His uncle had been dying for a decade, and everyone already thought he was dead. When Aaron received the call, he agreed. When he realized that they meant that he had died today, he was shocked. But not for the same reason they were shocked. They sent their condolences and asked him to write the obituary.

“Oh, I’m not really good at public speaking. Especially in public”

“No. Not the eulogy. The obituary, for the paper.”

“Oh. Do you know if he served in the Army?” Aaron asked thinking of what to put in the middle.

He didn’t.

The average obituary was 5 sentences, and Aaron had the first and last written in his mind. But what did he do in the middle, he thought? Aaron stood in the airport practicing, writing obituaries for every bald man that walked past. From pictures, he knew that his uncle was bald and he thought that a bald man would have a different second sentence than a man with hair. How could it be otherwise? The man coming out of the bathroom: credited with having come up with the idea of placing billboards on benches, Arnie always thought of new places to hide his messages. His friends called him “Mr. Idea.” The man underlining passages in a soft-bound Bible: before being reborn, Peter was the first person to put a new spin on the art of self-portrait in two centuries by adding just the tip of his erect penis into the busts. His art retrospective included chalk outlines of faded empires. The man who insisted on three seats of buffer zone: his one true love in life was his childhood band, The Tender & The Vulnerable. Aaron created a backup to this exercise, in case he ever found himself in the bar, midway and too far into this story about writing obituaries for living traveling bald men, forgetting where it lead. In this instance he would say that he was writing haikus on those who walked past, rather than an obituary. He once wrote a eulogy for a man who was still alive, and no one understood. A haiku, he thought, would be more defensible.

He wondered if anyone in Smook, Texas would notice if his uncle’s obituary were in the form of a haiku. I bet they clap when they count syllables, Aaron thought. He pictured the diner where he was told the cowboys used to hang out clapping as they read the death notices. He wondered if he could justify himself by adding that that’s what his uncle would have wanted.

Aaron decided to write the obituary on the plane over Texas, or the midland, because that’s what his uncle would have wanted. He secretly hoped that a pretty girl would sit beside him on the plane, because he wouldn’t judge a pretty girl as harshly. If the pretty girl sat next to him, he would get drunk on five-dollar gin and tonics, he decided. He would mention the funeral at the second drink, and receive free drinks and lovely shoulder strokes thereafter. The aging stewardesses would smile when he showed them his license, remarking how young he looked. Apparently, at 64 he would still look like he were 12, or by the stewardesses calculations 24. They thought this attractive. He thought this repulsive.

The pretty girl did not sit beside Aaron, so he spent the flight fighting for the middle armrest. Long ago he had come to the conclusion that it belonged to him. He forgot the logic employed, but the entitlement had taken root. He rubbed his arm against that of his fellow traveler and conquered the shared armrest. The man wasn’t bald, but Aaron wrote his obituary nonetheless. He wrote it in the soduku boxes, presuming that the man had served his country courageously, bravely in war and courageous in peace, and left it in the in-flight magazine for the next passenger to make sense of.

Aaron had a plan for when he arrived in Texas. He planned to cover his discomfort with sweat, remark often about the heat and humidity, and take frequent showers at the motel. This cycle, he thought, would always ensure small talk and an exit strategy. He also played with the possibility of taking advantage of the afternoon nap during times of grief. Though he had little to do in Texas, they would understand the notion of sorrow engendering sleep. It was natural.

At the airport, Aaron’s uncle’s common-law wife waited all day.

(crossposted at http://urbesque.blogspot.com/)

AARON

June 19, 2009

Every time that Aaron walked into an airport, he thought that he’d have stories to tell. The lines of the building always curved in a way that seemed extraordinary, if not meaningful.

With so much space with which to extend, there must have been a reason to restrain the building in this arc. It was always the same—parking lot to a tunnel of sorts, to an escalator, to a transparent gate of windows.

After being cleared by security, Aaron’s gait became more confident.

Through the endless windows, the distance could always be seen, at least three quarters of a mile’s worth. The distance was just enough to bring the eyes out of focus and force a daydream. It was shaved grass for close to a mile, and then a line of trees. Softwood stood between the airport and an unforgiving wilderness that needed to be flown over. It was a zone of confidence, always visible.

In an airport, Aaron dreamt up stores that he thought magnificent. He had no wild dreams about imminent adventures or anonymous eyes behind indoor sunglasses, but the airport gave him a feeling of dull possibilities. For a moment, Aaron stood in a crowded but expansive corridor and tried to pinpoint the element that put him in this mood.

Everything repeated itself around the corner, and yet he always thought that there was something better beyond. He always thought that they should install a series of concave mirrors along the corridor, so that one could see everything at once. Or was it convex.

Along the corridor, all the food would be delicious, except for the food behind the stands before him. He knew from past experience that it would be greasy, but not salty, and he’d have no place to wash his hands properly.

This seemed like the perfect place to experience déjà vu, and yet it wouldn’t occur. Aaron stepped in the bathroom and it was the same as before, but he knew it was different. There had to be at least one toilet that stood unflushed. The smell necessitated it.

In the newsstand and gift shop, they don’t mind if you browse the racks and read the magazines. But they wrap all the top magazines in cellophane, and they judge you more than at the 7-11. At the airport you get used to the fact that everyone is judging you. Aaron thought of riding the Greyhound, but you pay for that kind of anonymity.

(crossposted at http://urbesque.blogspot.com/)

REMY

June 18, 2009

Remy was always coming apart. The skin about his nose was always falling off and his blonde hair was always filled with snow. If Remy saw your eyes wander to his shoulders or chest he would quickly announce his hobbies. He solders, he says, small tiny electronic machines. He sticks tiny colored wires in inviting holes, and when positioned perfectly, he seals the deal with a drop of hot runny metal. And a brief puff of smoke is exhaled. Steam really.

The microchips he explains, are very sensitive. He has no rugs in his home, he remarks. Because static electricity is everywhere, he marvels, like snow. And it is the scourge of tiny machines.

He keeps the humidity low in his apartment, he explains. For the machines. This prevents him from keeping orchids, with their fragile blooms and thirst for airy water, in his apartment.

When, on the first day of graduate school, everyone created a username that would attach to their official email addresses, Remy chose remydelights. One day he sent out an official correspondence to all of his contacts to explain that his full first name was “Jeremy” and his last name was not “Delights”.

(crossposted at http://urbesque.blogspot.com/)