I received a text from a friend the other day ‘What is your address?’. No one sends mail anymore except if it’s important, like an engagement/wedding invitation, I thought. So, that’s what I assumed it was.
Two days later, I opened my mail box to a large yellow envelope with a hand-written address. An invitation it wasn’t. Instead it was a photocopied short story from collection he is currently reading (in the flesh) with red scribe across the top that said “For those less hip to the tricks. Miss you! R”
“This is the way it should work” I thought. A text for quick, efficient information, personalized mail, a real book with a real, in-the-flesh hand-written note. Old world, blends with new world.
The book is called “My Mistresses sparrow is dead. Great Love stories from Chekhov to Munro” and it was the short story Innocence by Harold Brodkey. It’s a great read, and I’ve been ruminating over this particular paragraph.
“I distrust summaries, any kind of gliding through time, any too great a claim that one is in control of what one recounts; I think someone who claims to understand but who is obviously calm, someone who claims to write with emotion recollected in tranquility, is a fool and a liar. To understand is to tremble. ( I freaking love that line!) To recollect is to reenter and be riven. An acrobat after spinning through the air in a mockery of flight stands erect on his perch and mockingly takes a bow as if what he is being applauded for was easy for him and cost him nothing, although meanwhile he is covered in sweat and his smile is edged with relief chilling to think about; he is indulging in a show-business style; he is pretending to be superhuman. I am bored with that and with where it has brought us. I admire the authority of being on one’s knees in front of the event.”