Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Could the Gone Lawn Get Any Goner?

The lawn’s still as gone as gone can get, maybe goner; but the late summer blooms surrounding my Missouri country cottage more than compensate. Some few last words, like rosebuds, on Gone Lawn 8.

In Angela Genusa’s The Baby, what ultimately gets delivered is language, speech, even more to the point, hearsay. And what a weird delivery. We have the fact of the baby before the womb in which it will be carried to term. But why pursue purchase of a womb if the baby’s already arrived, healthy and beautiful, especially its crafted lips from which speech will issue in time? Is that what the priest means by “a difficult time;” the time in which her baby is speechless, incapable of the wordplay to come? Language/communication is an expensive and risky business in this story: morticians are its hucksterish gatekeepers, and a rather crude priest, its mediator.

In sound and image The Baby would be a stylish bit of animated Edward Gorey grotesquerie. If I were to watch it repeatedly perhaps I would feel more certain as to why when the priest answers at the end, it’s “joyously.” Is it because he’s left the operating room with the uterus, and finally has a womb of his own? Or is it because of the simple message he’s about to deliver--a word he knows in a language he can understand? Or is the joy impish or worse, derived because he’s perpetrating a deceit, making a deliberate slur of two rather more affirmative words: Good buy…?

Or is he indeed a man of his word, just one’s that genuinely happy to be the harbinger of a poignantly bitter rejection?

In Kristina Marie Darling’s excerpt from Melancholia a woman is reminiscing about her love affair with a phantom, and I, with respect, am going to recuse myself from writing about this one. The subject hits a nerve and I find myself reflexively recoiling at her words; unfair to her, so I won’t belabor it.

  Recusal: a perfect way to end my musings on Gone Lawn 8.

It was such a delight to be included in this collection. I am pleased with my story Philosophies of Access, and expect the pleasure to be abiding. Reading the other far-flung writers gathered here by guest-editor Edmond Caldwell made me a better reader just when I needed to be. It has been wonderful spending a portion of summer 2012, the lion’s share of the literary portion, with Gone Lawn 8. Thank you, writers and readers, all.   

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