The World Before Mirrors (River Teeth Literary Nonfiction by Joan Connor

By Joan Connor

"What do you do for a living?" the podiatrist (or the photographer or the girl within the teach station) asks, and Joan Connor solutions, "I’m a writer," ready with a draw back for the inevitable rejoinder: "Oh, boy, do i've got a narrative for you!" How such choices, now not tales yet small experiences from the thick of lifestyles, develop into wealthy reflections at the nature of ready and writing, language and love, reminiscence and wish, is the secret of this award-winning number of essays. touring among the poles of Ohio and Vermont, early life and motherhood, Connor writes of a peripatetic family members whose oddities make the quirks of a Thurber family appear downright subdued; of a thirteen-year-old son as an not likely spouse in the course of the torments of middle-aged courting; of previous loves and new; and during all of it, of writing as a way of discovering the shortest distance among traces: wish. With language that distills perception from anecdote and transforms the stuff of middling lifestyles into telling metaphor, the realm prior to Mirrors, winner of the River tooth Literary Nonfiction Prize, lifts the telling of a life’s tales into the area of flight. (20060103)

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Sample text

Opinion. As an irritation strategy, it was expert. ” opinion. I wanted to scrag his teacher’s scrawny little opinionated chicken neck. “Norman, there are no opinions. There are no facts. They’re My Son at Thirteen 23 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 all intermingled. Some facts are just outright lies. ” “opinion,” he said. “Fact,” I said. How could I explain facts in a world of Lewinsky and Starr and Whitewater and Waco? Fact, fact, opinion, fact.

The spider is gone. An ice jam leaks quietly during the January thaw into the corner eave of my bedroom. After I have tinned the candles and the soaps, stripped the beds, stored the linens, packed up my clothing and meanings, what does this place mean, how does it mean? Does place have an immanent meaning when my arrival is not imminent? Does my house brood? Dust settles and shifts. Time passes. I, revenant, open the windows, shake out the linens, sweep up the dust, banish the cobwebs, restore meanings.

A woman who carries a plastic flamingo purse knows no shame. ” You are resigned. You are a Gandhi-ji of conversational long suffering. You are the Mother Theresa, the patron saint of platitudinous mercy. You settle back for a long listen. You watch the landscape rolling. You converse with your watch. Something about her aunt and a gallbladder operation. You are not a nice person. You are profound in your misery. 0pt PgV ——— Normal Page PgEnds: TEX [35], (3) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 brought you up right, so you nod and mumble, Interesting, which it is decidedly not, imagining the train platform onto which you will leap for your life to merge anonymously into the crowd.

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