S1:E4 “Pathétique”

Today the fourth episode of my ongoing series was published at Corporeal Clamor. I think of it as “Trumpian Gothic,” a love story for these strange times. I’ve woven classical music throughout, and Beethoven’s “Pathétique” is one of my favorites. I’ve included a recording of myself playing the Pathétique about halfway through the chapter, or you can watch the warm-up on Facebook.

Thanks for reading – I’ve been so appreciative of your enthusiasm for this series.

“To play a wrong note is insignificant; to play without passion is inexcusable.”
― Ludwig van Beethoven


 

We watch. The dog cocks a scraggy yellow ear behind him, listening for the door. Waiting, probably, for Tala to return. So we have this in common.

I kneel so slowly it’s hardly movement, but the dog drops his head and backs toward the front door, eyes locked on mine. Is it anger or fear? I don’t know dogs, and seeing as Tala has left him in my care, she doesn’t know me. I hold out my hand and his nostrils flare. He cranes his thick neck a few inches forward toward my fingers –

A muffled ring:

my body understands the sound before meaning registers, a hot surge through my arms. I shriek and the dog darts behind the couch. On the second ring, I turn and tear past piled papers and boxes and plates and books, pull the keyring from the side table drawer. On the third ring, I scramble with the tiny key, fiddle with the padlock on the door to the hidden cupboard beneath the stairs. The padlock pops, on the fourth ring, I throw open the door, duck and crawl, and as the fifth and final ring begins, I reach for the old yellow phone –

“Hello?”

Read S1E4 “Pathétique” here.


Publications

S1:E3 “Moonlight,” Corporeal Clamor

S1:E2 “The Introvert’s Guide to Impeachment,” Corporeal Clamor

S1: E1 “Lock Her Up, Corporeal Clamor

These Days, Corporeal Clamor.

You are the Rest of Us, Corporeal Clamor.

Over Everything, Corporeal Clamor.

Test Tank, Corporeal Clamor.

You say, write something hopeful, Corporeal Clamor.

Make a Little Birdhouse in Your Soul, Corporeal Clamor.

You Can Do Anything, Corporeal Clamor.

The Right to Bare Arms, ENTROPY Magazine.

Still Gonna Do (#ShePersisted), The Manifest-Station.

Postage

LeighHereNow

PO Box 27771

Philadelphia, PA

19118, USA

Subscribe

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What’s On My Nightstand: February 2018

 

Fiction

Lucky Boy, by Shanthi Sekaran

SHTUM, by Jem Lester

 

Memoir

Heart Berries, by Teresa Marie Mailhot

Priestdaddy, by Patricia Lockwood

Twenty Horses, by Nancy E. Peter

 

Nonfiction

Thoughts on Solitude, by Thomas Merton

Hope in the Dark, by Rebecca Solnit

 

Poetry

Why I Wake Early, by Mary Oliver

 

Magazine / Newspaper

Lesbian Connection

The New Yorker

The Week

The Shuttle – Weaver’s Way Coop

 

Random 

paper clips

thumbtacks

Blue Marble Bookstore 2018 book challenge card

plant cutting

pebbles

rock:

“There will be rough times but you can never be put down.” – Alexander, age 7 (at the time of inscription)

 

About

Publications

Postage

Teaching

 

S1:E3 “Moonlight”

I see now that it was a mistake. I saw it the moment she stepped through, that I was somehow both over and underprepared, and badly. Tala’s off duty look was unchanged from her service call uniform. Jeans, boots, vest, a blue and grey checked flannel, hair a dark halo around her shoulders. I chose a maroon skort for the occasion, thinking it would be ironic, but as she stood in the doorway, the corduroy chafed at my thighs. When I moved to take her vest, she shrugged it off and hung it on the coat rack herself.

Tala was the kind of girl I used to follow around at school, silently willing her to let me carry anything, literally anything, like a backup stick of gum – the girl who gave a half smile like she knew I was there but didn’t actually mind, nor would she strike up a conversation.

“Hey,” she said. She put her hands in her pockets, and grinned, and I saw that I had been staring.

“Please,” I mumbled, and gestured behind me. “Sit anywhere.”

She paused long enough for me to see what she saw, that the coffee table was a tiny island of sanity in this house, and the fact that I hadn’t been able to see that clearly for myself was only the beginning of what I missed. The books stacked high along the edges of the living room wall, the unopened mail, the layer of dust – these were all things that might have passed as eccentric, and that was fine, but the wine and candles seemed ridiculous, no, presumptuous, which was just –

“How’s the piano?” She stood at the piano, one hand on the lid, peering up at the gash in the ceiling. “Seems like you dodged a bullet.”

I flinched. “It’s fine.” Crossed my arms, fixed my eyes on the wall.

Read the third episode of my fiction series at Corporeal Clamor here.


Publications

S1:E2 “The Introvert’s Guide to Impeachment,” Corporeal Clamor

S1: E1 “Lock Her Up, Corporeal Clamor

These Days, Corporeal Clamor.

You are the Rest of Us, Corporeal Clamor.

Over Everything, Corporeal Clamor.

Test Tank, Corporeal Clamor.

You say, write something hopeful, Corporeal Clamor.

Make a Little Birdhouse in Your Soul, Corporeal Clamor.

You Can Do Anything, Corporeal Clamor.

The Right to Bare Arms, ENTROPY Magazine.

Still Gonna Do (#ShePersisted), The Manifest-Station.

Postage

LeighHereNow

PO Box 27771

Philadelphia, PA

19118, USA

Subscribe

To receive blog updates, subscribe to LeighHereNow.

S1:E2 “The Introvert’s Guide to Impeachment”

I pace the floors at two and three, a ghost in my own home. If I step here, the boards will creak – and there, someone has placed a chair where there should be nothing. But if I kneel, if I press my tongue to the dark wood and lay inside the dust, I can pour through the cracks and find myself again.

The second sleep is thick, full of repeated words and winding places. I wake in pieces, a dull heaviness behind my knees. When I kick at the blankets, my hand settles inside a round spot the temperature of baked bread. It’s back.

*

I fill the pot with enough coffee for four and make the motions of breakfast. “Cup,” I whisper. “Saucer. Bowl.” Behind the blinds at the door, the paper is thrown below the front steps in a fresh layer of snow. I tie an old peacoat around my flannels, pull a wool hat over my eyes, and retrieve the news.

For more than an hour, I perform surgery on the headlines. I slice and rearrange them, making them say what they don’t say, giving them second lives. Last month it was the prelude, but after the leak tore a hole in the ceiling, I can’t face the piano, not yet. Sometime before lunch, my thoughts settle, and I focus on my correspondence.

*

To:  TV Guide Magazine <letters@tvgm.com>

Subject:  ARTICLE I: OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE

 

Re: “How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Sun. Dec. 24 at Midnight ET (TNT), “the Dr. Seuss tale about the Whos and the despicable Grinch, the villain with a heart two sizes too small and a plan to steal the holiday. Boris Karloff narrates this 1966 classic.”

 

Suggested revision: When caught in the act of stuffing the family tree up the chimney, when the Grinch is confronted by Cindy Lou Hoo:

 

“Santy Claus, why?”

 

“Why, my sweet little tot,” the fake Santy Claus lied.

There’s a light on this tree that won’t light on one side.

It’s just like I felt when I fired the head of the FBI

He was crazy, a real nut job, just a terrible guy.”

 

Then he went up the chimney, himself, the old liar.

On their walls he left nothing but hooks and some wire.

 

Read the second episode of my fiction series at Corporeal Clamor here.

 


Publications

S1: E1 “Lock Her Up, Corporeal Clamor

These Days, Corporeal Clamor.

You are the Rest of Us, Corporeal Clamor.

Over Everything, Corporeal Clamor.

Test Tank, Corporeal Clamor.

You say, write something hopeful, Corporeal Clamor.

Make a Little Birdhouse in Your Soul, Corporeal Clamor.

You Can Do Anything, Corporeal Clamor.

The Right to Bare Arms, ENTROPY Magazine.

Still Gonna Do (#ShePersisted), The Manifest-Station.

Postage

LeighHereNow

PO Box 27771

Philadelphia, PA

19118, USA

Subscribe

To receive blog updates, subscribe to LeighHereNow.

What’s On My Nightstand: December 2017

 

Fiction

The Child Finder, by Rene Denfeld

The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesymyn Ward

Affinity, by Sarah Waters

 

 

Short Fiction

Cranford, by Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

Cat Person, by Kristen Roupenian

The Lazy River, by Zadie Smith

 

Hybrid

Bluets, by Maggie Nelson

 

Poetry

Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings, Joy Harjo

 

Magazine

The New Yorker

The Week

 

Random 

cork board samples

packing tape

broken scissors

plant cutting

“In the midst of winter I found there was within me an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus (card by Remy and Me)

 

About

Publications

Postage

Teaching

 

What’s On My Nightstand: November 2017

 

Fiction

Inferno, by Eileen Myles

Ceremony, by Leslie Marmon Silko

 

Short Fiction

Ghosts, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Experience, Tessa Hadley

The Proprietress, Yiyun Li

The Husband Stitch, by Carmen Maria Machado

 

Nonfiction

The Places That Scare You, by Pema Chödrön

Bad Feminist, by Roxane Gay

Mean, by Myriam Gurba

Interior Color by Design: A Tool for Homeowners Designers, and Architects, by Jonathan Poore

 

Poetry

Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings, Joy Harjo

Whereas, by Layli Long Soldier

 

Magazine

Lesbian Connection (FREE! to lesbians worldwide)

The New Yorker

The Week

 

Random 

beach rocks

hair stick

shoulder exercise printout

Sherwin Williams paint chips

Smith’s Rosebud Salve

 

About

Publications

Postage

Teaching

 

“Lock Her Up” (New Serial Fiction)

S1:E1 “Lock Her Up” is the first “episode” in my new series of hybrid fiction and music at Corporeal Writing. Think Victorian gothic meets 45 meets broody Russian classical plus romance: “The first three notes tell you everything. Two hands, four grim octaves, played in fortissimo. Not so much a melody as a warning…”

Serial fiction? You will see these characters again.

Music? Played by me, best as I can (linked at the bottom of the piece).

Victorian gothic serial novels have been praised as a form that fostered “digressive literary wandering” at a time when society was increasingly organized around capitalism and the rise of the middle class. Serial fiction often portrayed everyday life as imperfect and supernaturally surreal. Plot lines developed more organically than traditional novels as a result of increased reader engagement and participation as the series evolved.

Consider this an invitation.

“We did not ask for this room or this music. We were invited in. Therefore, because the dark surrounds us, let us turn our faces to the light. Let us endure hardship to be grateful for plenty. We have been given pain to be astounded by joy. We have been given life to deny death. We did not ask for this room or this music. But because we are here, let us dance.” – Sadie Dunhill

Excerpt: S1: E1 “Lock Her Up”

“The first three notes tell you everything. Two hands, four grim octaves, played in fortissimo. Not so much a melody as a warning.

I’ve only just begun the seventh measure when the water starts. A fat drop bounces off the piano lid and I lean forward, feeling it’s a sign – at last, I have managed to play each note with such accuracy and purity that something has been moved. The next drop slips between F and G, followed by two more drops in quick succession.

I remove my glasses and look up.

An ancient crack runs at a diagonal across the ceiling, splintering on its way to the chandelier. Back along the crack, water pools from a quarter-sized patch of plaster above the piano.

Upstairs, to the most obvious origin of the leak. The bathroom tiles are the same shade of avocado they were when I inherited them, dry as I left them this morning, so the next obvious place – yes, there, beneath the vanity. The leak drips in soft, regular intervals from the pipe beneath the sink, a dank place I’ve never faced in all this time. I jiggle at the hot water handle, then the cold, poke around the faucet, push my finger inside the old spigot.

The name for the thing that could fix it. I don’t know, a wrench? A plier? A socket? In all that’s wretched about this year, there’s been nothing like this…”

[read “Lock Her Up” here.)


Publications

These Days, Corporeal Clamor.

You are the Rest of Us, Corporeal Clamor.

Over Everything, Corporeal Clamor.

Test Tank, Corporeal Clamor.

You say, write something hopeful, Corporeal Clamor.

Make a Little Birdhouse in Your Soul, Corporeal Clamor.

You Can Do Anything, Corporeal Clamor.

The Right to Bare Arms, ENTROPY Magazine.

Still Gonna Do (#ShePersisted), The Manifest-Station.

Postage

LeighHereNow

PO Box 27771

Philadelphia, PA

19118, USA

Subscribe

To receive blog updates, subscribe to LeighHereNow.