“This city does not have a metallic heart and it does not beat for me—only I imagined that in my swollen hands, beating away the night letters. Those keys opened no doors but to my own desperate need to belong. What a stranger a young man can be to his own dreams. This was me, always.”
As an expression of our inability to live up to the standards of experience, which aren’t even that high, art is transcendent, beating reality at its own game, making reality real, the imagination wearing mortal flesh, slumming, readying itself to go back to God after sprinkling its messages like apple seeds across a nation, which will grow into fruit-bearing trees. Because of this, artists have more, or less, sex, or the same amount. Think of Picasso and Kafka. Art is made instead: if life were enough, we wouldn’t. But we need art’s off ramp to a parallel road, less congested, more beautiful, where it means something just to pass by.
Craig Morgan Teicher is the author, most recently, of To Keep Love Blurry (BOA, 2012) and the chapbook Ambivalence and Other Conundrums (Omnidawn, Fall 2013).
making it as a writer and as a woman in the big apple
from this article on theawl.com
In 1967, Patti Smith wrote in Just Kids, she was considering a move to New York City. “I had enough money for a one-way ticket. I planned to hit all the bookstores in the city. This seemed ideal work to me.” Twenty-seven years before her, in 1940, Shirley Jackson and her soon-to-be husband Stanley Hyman graduated from Syracuse and moved to New York. According to this biography, “For quite some time they had known exactly what they were going to do: move to New York City, live as cheaply as possible, take menial jobs if necessary and wait for the Big Break. Not just wait—push for it.”
The early and mid-90s Entertainment Weekly was a trade magazine for the masses: A publication that promised to make consumers, whether 11 or 45, into near-experts. It took a while to figure out the format—at first, it was a little too snobby New Yorker and not enough Henry Luce-style middlebrow—but by the mid-90s, it had hit its stride.
My sister teaches languages at a school in the northeast and did not actually witness the composition of this masterpiece, but a colleague confides that the two girls (both second-graders) had finished their work about 12 minutes early and decided to write a “book” using napkins (possibly from a classroom birthday party?), with staples for the binding.