Little Weirds

This book is a party — not a set of grievances. It’s a weird party for a woman who has returned from grief. It’s a peppy procession of all of my little weirds. Many different scenarios present themselves at a really good party. Somebody kisses somebody. Somebody falls. Cake is eaten. Cake is thrown. The lights go out and somebody screams, “My jewels!” You meet your husband for the first time. Somebody gets kicked out. There are snowballs and cannonballs.

There are fragments that come together as a whole. My book is a thing in motion — just as you would respond to the question “Is there a party going on?” with the answer “Yes, it is in progress!”

In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through the wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
directed me:
“Live in the layers,
not on the litter.”

Stanley Kunitz, “The Layers”

I repeat and repeat the daydream. But now the fantasy person makes no sense, because he is an amalgamation of my different recent loves, who have all been terribly disappointing and irredeemable, which is a big blow to my romantic inclinations, because I do love a comeback.

Now, the man can’t even be wished for. The facts are too firm. The man would have to be someone other than who he is and he is simply and only himself, no matter which one of the men he is. I have encountered nothing but a flock of flimsy fools, I say, with a bad attitude. So now there is not even anyone to dream about and what an odd feeling. I don’t have the strength to put together the features of a fantasy face. I am heartbroken over no one.

In the middle of the pouring rain she met (explosion) the first thing she could call a boyfriend in her life, her heart beating as if she’d swallowed a little fluttering and captured bird.

Clarice Lispector, The Hour of the Star

I’m stuck here in a cycle and I am getting older but I am not growing up and my heart is getting soft dark spots on it like a fruit that has gone bad or is soft because too many hands have squeezed it but then put it back down not because I am not ready but because they were not ready for my type of fruity flesh. I felt so ripe and sweet — what was off? The truth is, I was forcing myself into people’s mouths. I jumped out of their hands and into their mouths and I yelled eat me way before they even had a chance to get hungry and notice me and lift me up.

If there is an animal to hold and sooth or just smooth the fur, do that.
Turn your head to the side and give yourself a little kiss on the shoulder.
Wash your face and hands.
Put on an outfit of all one color.
Only do a little gossip and make sure it doesn’t make any dents in anyone.

Jenny Slate, Little Weirds

I tried to write down how I felt. I recently found the note I wrote to myself, and all it said was “I’m too overwhelmed to say any more and I’m too scared to say any more and I feel too foolish, but I must not forget this, so I’m writing this down and this is the best that I can do.”