Apr 6, 2007

REMBETIKA: BUT BEAUTIFUL
SEATTLE, Washington – Camille Cusumano made me cry.

The day already had been rough. Fifteen minutes on hold with the taxman, then much confusion ("Wait, the IRS sent me a form no one at its headquarters knows of?").

Then a twangy voice reeled down the line. "You paid into the wrong account. You have a $740 credit."

$hit howdy, as my friend Marie says.

"Check the mail," urged my inner gambler. "It's there, you know it's there."

Sure enough: the long-awaited manilla packet with two copies of Greece, A Love Story.

I can't face my essay, At the Seashore with Medea: A marriage unravels in Athens, yet. So I skim the introduction. Tavernas, yes; nasty landlords, of course; sexy Ottoman-eyed fisherman, nai, nai, nai.

Wait: My name.

The ego-monster awakes... and I read this: "Amanda Castleman's essay offers one of this collection's most brilliant examples of how life and art are inseparable. One morning in Athens, Castleman's husband serves her sweet Greek morning pastry along with the bitter news that he wants a divorce. In telling her story, Castleman writes prose that would make Henry Miller, acclaimed author of The Colossus of Maroussi, turn green with envy: "Plum shadows outline the Parthenon. This buttress of land, the art upon it – defying time and Turkish detonations – are so ancient. The moon even more so, a bruised apricot. My woes, suspended briefly between the two, have no weight."

Awwwww, Camille! My eyes wobble, syruped by tears.

I can't remember the last time I hit sweet wood ... the home-run crack of the bat that says over-the-fence and through-the-woods-to-grandma's
-house-we-go.

Maybe 11 years ago with the strippers?

Ohi. "Beauty for Rent" sang.

But this piece – to paraphrase my geekgirl crush, Poynter Writing Guru Roy Peter Clark – this piece plays jazz.

8 comments:

  1. Anonymous6:38 PM

    Ah, Amanda!
    Now that this beautiful, heartrending essay is in print, perhaps you can LET GO of the bad vibes from your bad marriage and face the future with confidence!

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  2. Awwww ...

    You're a grand slam in my books, Amanda.

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  3. Anonymous2:07 AM

    I did mention that it was my all time favourite piece of writing long before the book hit your mail box, DIDN'T I?


    Your enormous friend from sunny Blighty

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  4. Efharisto para poli, all of youse. My three whole fans.

    Anonymous: I'm happy these days, much as freelancers with outstanding invoices can be!

    Dingobear: I forgive for calling my fella "sugargoo" or whatever... You can even reinsert the porn-star-stached publisher interlude back into the Schulz piece and I won't carp!

    To my burgeoning Blighty belle: one can never hear such things enough. In fact, once those outstanding invoices roll in, I'm getting a tattoo of your critique!

    Xoxoxox, Ax.

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  5. Like, OMG, I'm soooooo excited about this book, I just ended three sentences with exclamation marks!!!!!!!

    Revoke my editor and writing-instructor licenses NOW.

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  6. !!!!

    !!
    !!!

    !!!!!!!!

    !!

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  7. !
    Now that's writing.
    TS in PC

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  8. Almost as good as the Toy-yoda column, maybe!

    ReplyDelete