Weird Fucks and 7th Heaven: Patti Smith and Lynne Tillman

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Always I have been a fan of little things. I had a wagon as a child, a little red one, and used to drag it around the garden and to houses checking if anyone had any “little things” to spare.  I favored tiny objects: a plastic monkey from Barrel of Monkeys, a ceramic owl, a broken tiny figurine, a fancy shaped rock.

My passion for small things extended to books. Even now, my faves are  03, (74 tiny pages), Briar Rose by Coover, (86) Theseus by Gide (51). And I’d rather have ten pages of Aristophanes  than 100,000 of old English verse.

As a teenager, one  of my favorite discoveries was Seventh Heaven by Patti Smith: 47 pages, in a tiny little white paperback, and with the following poem, in its entirety, about Marianne Faithfull:

I was born in Hampstead. My mother wasn’t

screaming so they didn’t believe she was in

labor. Later I went to convent school. Later

I rode in leather. Later I took some sleeping

pills. I needed to lose

Jane Eyre is tiny, too, at least my 1932 edition is. So is Smith of Wooton Major.  Could it be that small terrors must be contained in small spaces? That striving to fit all we can into into a tiny box or space or form or page, is a way to control that emotion, that experience, that pain.   Lynne Tillman, having recently received my 52 Men galley kindly sent me her little book, above, the 58-page  Weird Fucks.  And it’s all there: the intensity, the glee, the intelligence, the pain and the loss and the making of her, we, us.

 

About louisewleonard

Author of 52 Men, 2015. Excerpts in The Rumpus, Tin House, Fiction Advocate and Gargoyle.
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