I closed my eyes, head drooping, like a person drunk for so long she no longer knows she’s drunk, and then, drunk, awoke to the world which lay before me.’Kathy Acker, Don Quixote (1986)
Most of my friends know that I have some hermit tendencies. I am socially anxious before I go anywhere. I’m fine once I actually get there, but sweet mother of big foots, you do not want to see me right before an event. I am a pacing, fast-talking bundle of angst with stage fight. It never stops me, but it’s a pain and I’m pretty positive it’s the reason I never went into the performing arts even though I adore the performing arts.
Anyways, the weird thing about Covid-19 in Maine where we are all still pretty good about wearing our masks and socially distancing is that our front porch is now cool.
And I don’t have time to get social anxiety and stage fright because people are suddenly there.
Seriously. We have a big-ass front porch and people are stopping by and talking. We maintain more than the six-foot distance, but we are hosting people in a way that we have never hosted people before.
On our porch. And sometimes in our driveway, honestly.
This is not the scene I dreamed of. Like much else nowadays I leave it feeling stupid, like a man who lost his way long ago but presses on along a road that may lead nowhere.J. M. Coetzee, Waiting for the Barbarians (1980)
And every time people leave, I want to hug them goodbye, memorize their faces, make sure that I have them ingrained inside of me, their stories, the sound of their voices, their laughs, just in case I lose them. I memorize the things they say as they leave. What I say. Our last lines.
Every moment, every line, feels like a gift.
About ten years ago, The American Book Review, published what it determined were the 100 best last lines from novels. And the books are mostly adult novels, written mostly by white men. It made me think about that dominance in the industry, but also about all the last lines out there. Do you have a favorite? Please share it with me. The Review’s list is here if you want to check it out.
Continue reading “Porches and Last Lines”
It was a fine cry—loud and long—but it had no bottom and it had no top, just circles and circles of sorrow.Toni Morrison, Sula (1973)