Foam of Sadness

I’ve spent the last week crawling over the coastline of Wales on bicycles, in suits, and with beers in hands. I did manage to do a little reading for you all however, in between the usual holiday blur. But rather than give you something I’ve read over this last week, I think I would prefer to spend some time talking about the Anne Carson story from Brick’s 100th issue, which I tweeted about back here.

The story focuses on the relationships the writer — a lecturer and poet — finds herself in. She is only vaguely strained between two brothers, both of which she has some affection for, and Vern, a female confidant and owner of a collapsing balcony.

The story starts with the lyrical flourish of trying to think up lines for a sonnet, but presented in prose — and it’s this easily agreed connection of language that is the root of Carson’s work.

She makes connection of ideas through very simple means — i.e. the words fit with the previous and an image is created out of the tension, rhyming couplets, repetition of the end of a line, an abrupt change in sentence stresses.

This light connecting of images links with her observational characters — always looking, finding tensions. She likes to stay between the two brothers, because together their connecting lines bring out something good. She is a kind of observing actor in the story, taking action only to improve their view of the world as it stands, to improve their entertainment. It’s like Carson’s protagonist here is asking for meaning in everything that is seen, the world floods over you and you connect everything that you notice before it slips away.

She watches as Eddy, who seems like the initial object of the protagonist’s affection, “gradually vacates himself” — becoming sadder, a little less full of the world. It’s this kind of sadness, and the childishness of the brother that leads to the breaking of the relationships. Eddy’s sadness “foams in her ear” and the relationship with the brother ends too. She has observed as much as she could, and now she has become too entangled that the joy of that tension is broken, like touching a bubble it all popped once too involved.

So, I am helping out at Linen Press at the moment (until they realise I am a charlatan obviously). They’re the UK’s only remaining independent women’s only press. They also have two books in the People’s Book Prize. If you have time to wiggle your fingers over to the website and vote for either The Red Beach Hut by Lynn Mitchell or In The Blink Of An Eye by Ali Bacon that would be really useful for them!

Oh, at the church where the wedding was held last weekend (in which I did a reading that was universally acclaimed as good in a way that I do not trust in the least) there was a new notice pinned the day after. It’s very normal and easy to understand.

I assume it’s about the end of the world. If you have time to work it out and explain it (ideally by adding more lines to the diagram somehow), please let me know.

One of the most closely tracked projects of this newsletter is Mike Kleine’s Lonely Men Club. And now there’s an excerpt on 3:AM. It is exactly as bonkers as expected. I am looking forward to getting my hands on it.

Can a friend kidnap a friend? Sort of, it seems. Laura van den Berg’s Friends in Catapult this week. I like the exploration of places that aren’t really anything because they’re not big or small enough — and the way that this is reflected in the joy of the relationship that certainly is something for its parameters, which include only meeting at night.

This week’s song is Miiike Snow’s Genghis Khan, again. Sorry 🙂

Thanks for reading Etch To Their Own, it was written by Christopher John Eggett and proofread by no one. I recently went on holiday, which means I went to a cemetery — but this time it was for dogs. What kind of times are these? I think I am dancing silently tomorrow evening, and eating sushi during the day, which sounds very much like my holiday continuing. Will it ever end? I hope so because I am completely knackered. Wish me luck and orderly bodily movements on the dance floor.

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