Many nights I fall asleep reading. Glasses on my face, a light turned on beside me, fans whirring, only a few pages in: in bed, on the couch, or, a couple times lately, in the bathtub. I awake with a start, close the book, settle into the brief remaining dark. Here are three I’ve been reading.
She seemed to have read everything, and thus I imagined that she lived, as Joyce wrote, near to the wild heart of life, in Ireland attending Joyce conferences in her fabulous boots, dipping down to Southern Spain to write in the sun with a bottle of wine and cavort with beautiful intellectuals, writing dazzling papers on international flights, and having her hair deep conditioned and brushed in the meantime. Hers was the life that would be mine in the next decade. In my thirties, I thought to myself, I will have read everything and I will have a chestnut mane. During one of her lectures I made an idle note to read every volume of In Search of Lost Time over the summer.
“I mean the fantastical is as old as stories themselves, is perhaps where stories begin, but when a Latin American uses that trope we are immediately categorized. Boxes are safe. Safety doesn’t interest me, not in art. “
Soft rosy water puddled up in the light, and in the sand, seabird wings lay half-buried and a hermit crab died without dignity. I was still ashamed for silencing the children’s joy. My friend observed that the scrubby tops of the hills, their gentle descent into the sea, looked like the crumbs on top of a coffeecake.
For my part, I remember regularly, systemically, intruding upon my little sister’s dreamstate. The idea occurred to me one night as she snored in the pull-out trundle beneath my twin bed. A perfect motor inside of her. Four years younger than me, I could pick her up whenever I felt like it, and I would. That night I lifted her into the closet, placed her gently amongst the sneakers, and shut the door, hopped back onto my bed. She awoke with a start, a snort, a gasp.