August 23, 2010

On the subway once, I saw a black woman open and eat part of a cellophane-wrapped cake or doughnut with powdered sugar on it, then wrap the bite or two that remained back in the cellophane and put it back into her winter coat pocket, and the woman with her told her that that was ghetto.
--Mark Dow, "Dome Light"
One person's ghetto is another person's scrap treasure...after all, I've done that before. Why not save those last cake scraps for when you really want them?

I always forget that memoirs don't have to be full-length books; they can be short-story length, too -- or essays, I suppose. I wouldn't have been able to detect whether "Dome Light" was a non-fictional piece or a short story, if it hadn't been classified under "memoir" in the table of contents. That, in my mind, is the mark of a nicely written memoir. Although I'm a fiction hound through and through, there's definitely something alluring about reading the passage below, and knowing that the author actually felt and did those things (assuming he is telling the truth, of course).
Once I lay imagining her thinking of me. I was inside of what felt like a steel concavity. The world had become much too large and I too present on the edge of my bed somewhere inside it. I tried to stop myself, behind the steel where I couldn’t breathe, from saying her name, because I knew she wouldn’t hear it or come to me if she did. But I had to say it, because I couldn’t let myself, without falling further back into a seemingly unsupportable present, not believe that I could change what she wanted by knowing it so hard that she’d arrive again and make what had led to this point a dream, or done, it’s nothing, baby, you’re OK. So say her name.

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