This Story, Hitting On All Cylinders

A Most Blessed and Auspicious Occasion, Story # 3 in SWWLYIAYDG: Stories by Raphael Bob-Waksberg

“We should’ve eloped,” I say. “We could have avoided all this stress and spent the money on a honeymoon.” Even as I’m saying it I know that’s a stupid thing to say, because a) what money?

HA. HA. HA. HA. HA. HAAAAAAA!!

On Being the Goat-Slaughterer at a Wedding Feast

… my little brother’s studying to be a goat slaughterer at the university, so of course he has a lot of ideas about everything. “You know how much blood that is? You have to do the slaughtering at the end, otherwise you’re going to slip in goat guts while you’re doing the Dance of the Cuckolded Woodland Sprite and the blood will get all over your marriage cloak and the video will end up on one of those wedding fail blogs.”

— from A Most Blessed and Auspicious Occasion (Story # 1 in Someone Who Will Love You in All Your Damaged Glory, by Raphael Bob-Waksberg(

Someone Who Will Love You In All Your Damaged Glory: Stories, p. 4

fullsizeoutput_6a1

Perhaps every can of cashews has a fake snake lurking, but you keep opening them, stupidly, because in your heart of hearts you still believe in cashews. And every time you discover the cruel fiction of the cashew can, you swear to yourself you’ll trust a little less next time, you’ll be a little less open, a little more hard. It’s not worth it, you say. It just isn’t worth it. You’re smarter than all that. From now on, you’re going to be smarter. Well, I’m here to tell you that this time will be different, even though I have absolutely no evidence to support that claim. Open this can and everything will be okay. The salted circus cashews are waiting. They are so savory and delicious.

Five Best Heroes Self Encountered in 2019 (All Fictional)

Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit

Frank Guidry, November Road

Henry Tilney, Northanger Abbey

Niall Delaney, The Parasites

Sunny, Record of a Spaceborn Few

Quite a range of heroes, from a thriller, a romantic comedy, a du Maurier (who is in a class all her own), a fantasy, and a work of science fiction. Three of the five books that gave self her favorite heroes of 2019 were written by women.

Though self ended 2019 far below her Goodreads Reading Challenge goal, she is setting an even higher goal for 2020. Would you believe it if self told you that she used to be able to read 60 books a year?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Five Best Heroines Self Encountered in 2019: One Real, Four Fictional (Stay Tuned for Part 2: Heroes)

Anne Glenconner, Lady in Waiting, My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown (memoir)

Catherine Morland, Northanger Abbey (novel)

Cora Seaborne, The Essex Serpent (novel)

Nora Gerraoui, The Other Americans (novel)

Rita Sunday, Once Upon a River (novel)

All of self’s favorite heroines were in books written by women. Coincidence?

Kathryn Ferguson: The Haunting of the Mexican Border, A Woman’s Journey

Half the time, self is reading this book with deep anxiety. Why? Because the author is a woman and self’s background is conditioning her to expect an ‘incident.’ But, so far, Ferguson’s encounters have been refreshingly free of ‘Bad Hombres.’

p. 54:

One of my first faux pax in the Sierra is to tell Hiram, a Norogachic vaquero and friend of Santiago’s, that I like his horse while he is saddling up a mule. Politely but firmly he explains the difference. Mules and horses look alike. Except mules have long ears. I have since become a great observer of ears. I don’t want to call someone a jackass who isn’t.

Stay tuned.

Self-Regard

Since finishing The Hobbit, a week and a half ago, self has read two books by women: The Haunting of the Mexican Border, by Kathryn Ferguson (University of New Mexico Press, 2015) and Trick Mirror, by Jia Tolentino (Random House, 2019).

Ferguson undertakes an exploration of the southern border, with a vague hope of making a documentary: she doesn’t have funds, doesn’t know anyone, but stumbles around, talking to whoever will talk to her. And she IS lucky: nothing bad happens to her.

Jia Tolentino is lucky. The daughter of Philippine parents who became Canadian citizens, she is smart as a whip, in-your-face, and funny. Her style is to sit back and analyze everything that happens to her, and everything she does.

In Essay # 2 of Trick Mirror, she recounts her time as a reality TV contestant (She was 16. Never one to miss an advantage, she packs a lot of pocket-sized mini-skirts. Points!). After analyzing her fellow castmates (one was “a sweet guy,” another was “the all-American girl,” still another was “the wacko,” etc.), she asks her castmates what they thought she’d been cast as:

Though I’m sure they would’ve answered differently if someone else had been asking, my castmates guessed I was the smart one, or the sweet one, or the “fun Southern one,” or the prude.

(It is amazing that someone would ever think she’d been cast as “the prude,” given the pocket-sized minis!)

But then she writes, disarmingly, that reality TV “is a narcissist’s fantasy come true . . . everyone likes to have an audience. Everyone thinks they deserve one.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The “I” in the Internet: Essay # 1, TRICK MIRROR

  • Having a mutual enemy is a quick way to make a friend — we learn this as early as elementary school — and politically, it’s much easier to organize people against something than it is to unite them in an affirmative vision. And, within the economy of attention, conflict always gets more people to look. — p. 22, Trick Mirror

Sunday Reading: The Haunting of the Mexican Border, p. 22

  • Later I will see Wenders’s film, Paris, Texas, written by Sam Shepard. Watching … in a dark movie theatre, I will experience in advance what I will later come to see on a desert trail — that we are all the myth of America. The playwright’s American dream of abundance is a fragile thing lined with longing, alienation, and rage, things that … we in the country know, and foreigners who adopt our country come to know.

THOTMB, p. 7

There are some jobs I can’t make myself do. An eight to five is deadly; I need to fill more than my stomach. I can’t work in the mines, can’t work at Walmart, and can’t be a Border Patrol agent. For those jobs, you’d have to wear a hairnet or some ridiculous rectangular uniform, or be there for hours on end, like being in a cage. That would be impossible.

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