Herewith the opening lines of new story just published in Ninth Letter (Vol 7, No 1; Spring/Summer 2010).
I went to see my friend Nedlinger after his wife killed herself in that awful and unseemly way, making a public spectacle of herself and their life together, which, no doubt, Nedlinger hated because of his compulsive need for privacy and concealment, a need which seemed to grow more compelling as his fame spread, as success followed success, as the money poured in, so that in latter years when he could no longer control or put a stop to his public notoriety, when it seemed, yes, as if his celebrity would completely eclipse his private life entirely, he himself turned reclusive and misanthropic, sought to erase himself, as it were, and return to the simple life of a nonentity.
You will recall that Nedlinger began his career as a so-called forensic archaeologist specializing in the analysis of prehistoric Iroquoian ossuaries in southwestern Ontario and it was then, just after finishing his doctorate, before lightning struck, that he met Melusina, at that time a mousy undergraduate studying library science, given to tucking her unruly hair behind her ears and wearing hip-length cardigan sweaters with pockets into which she stuffed used and unused tissues, note cards, pens, odd gloves, sticks of lip balm, hand lotion and her own veiny fists, her chin depressed over her tiny, androgynous breasts–in those days she wore thick flesh coloured stockings and orthopedic shoes to correct a birth defect, syndactyly, I believe it is called. Only Nedlinger, with his forensic mind, could pierce the unpromising surface, the advertising, as it were, to the intelligent, passionate, sensual, fully alive being that hid in the shadows…
Buy the magazine–read the rest.
Well I remember that first sentence. I can hardly wait to read the rest!
I loved hearing this read at the last residency. It’s even nicer to be able to soak it in at my own speed (which in this 90-degree weather is -slow-).
Thanks, Anna Maria and Rich. It is a nice, loopy, wandery opening sentence, isn’t it?
Yes, and perfect right to mull over just now since I’m focusing on sentence structure and syntax this month, reading Virginia Tufte’s book Artful Sentences, studying beauties like those that appear in Marquez’s “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings,” and striving to put together the last critical essay and packet for this first semester. What’s amazing in successful long sentences is the element of causality and narrative arc–not just several thoughts spliced neatly together, but clauses that build upon and lead into one another creating an internal micro-drama within the sentence. (I’ve got my work cut out for me!)
What I like about this sentence is that as it builds in syntax it destroys just about everything in it, leaving us with almost nothing — a nonentity.
OK, I just ordered my copy. The rest of you guys pony up.
This looks like a handsome journal.
I love the description of Melusina and can’t wait to read about her transformation….am curious as to how the syndactyly works in….
Just got my copy today — this is a finally made journal, with many visuals!
But they screwed up the table of contents!
goes to show how much I notice these things. it is an amazingly complex print/visual magazine.
“finely made” — dammit!
One more mistake like this and it’s the glue factory.
have you noticed yourself, you know, forgetting things? Have you found yourself suddenly in a tattoo parlor getting a Chinese symbol printed on your back and you don’t remember how you got there or what the symbol means? I really thinking you’re slipping, Gary. That’s why Numero Cinq is a good place for you.