I do not want to get too deep into my description of the novel. I loathe book reviews. I am sitting here trying to imagine The Keep, its tower, it's windows, its edges, turrets, and all that. And I am now remembering Berto. I am the real 19 again and I am living with a creepy 42 year old due to scratch the fucked up itch that is my ever so fucked up daddy issue. He makes, in terms of money, what I make now. Mind you, today I am not even working. I get a teensy bit of cash for being a mom from the babbydaddy. Berto made about 20 grand, tops, in those days as a tutor and busker on his odious instrument. And he would exclaim, upon learning that a colleague, friend or peer made 50K or whatever that he wanted to ask them, "What, do you live in a castle?"
Berto was not the sort of boyfriend you'd bring to meet your friends, as he'd prolly already hit on them in some sort of creepy way. He had he worst titty fetish I've elver come across, which was prolly linked to not growing up. I seriously have never met such a breast obsessed dude. And for those of you who know me at all, I was not the girl for Berto. I am still so ashamed of that relationship. What I wanted then, and still want now is an adopted father, the kind who will stop my night terrors.
Don't you dare fucking laugh, but this is my dream relationship:
In the blog I am trying to boycott, this idiotfuck, Disclosure write of Go Go Rach, and her rightfully stressed out response to the pseudo academic MA, "Therapy is needed." I would argue to him, "Personality is needed, Douche," But it is not worth it. But, this lame as fuck response popped into my head as I posted my sick as sadness picture of the teeny bopper movie and shameless admission of this blog author's daddy complex. Um
Berto and I lived in a rural tenement; however, in my mind, its windows, the hand hewn beams, the wooden floors... All of it equaled a castle. I still believed in "the program" back then. Interestingly,
in some ways, it kind of worked...until it didn't. I realized living with Berto took more out of me than I ever had imagined possible. He was so hateful underneath what only appeared as mentally ill and partly perverted.
He had a castle sticker, a sparkling one, that he put on his throat losenger tin. I bought him this sticker after he told me how he felt about people who made a normal amount of money. I can see it there, in between by the clutch us in his used car that smelled like every kind of health food you could imagine, but mostly of garlic. I can hear the tin opening. I can see his long fingers. I can remember what it was like to feel you had a future so brilliant you could afford to emotionally mutilate yourself with a mentally ill boyfriend.
The castle of Berto's imagination would be some sort of lefty, green-as-fuck hastily put together commune compound deals. Think the commune on Lost. WACO without the guns. Maybe something that Michael Rapunzel of Western MAssachusetts would have built, with his, um, fifth thousand a year. That commune, but nicer, more nineties. The scared cult of daddy. This, below, but much, much nicer, with a mote.
Here is what I imagine the castle looking like from the Keep. I have very few fantasies of Europe. If any, I dream of going to Sweden, alone, most certainly without the boys. I would rent a clean room (think minimal, Raymond Carver, Hemingway...), and I would walk and write. I would also visit middle class family's houses so I could peer into their bookshelves and admire their castle-looking chimney.
Fuck, do I love those; and I have only seen them in Swedish design blogs, like this blog where I have spent hour after hour lusting with an intensity that seems foreign to my bod: http://dosfamily.com/all-home-tours/
I will find a castle/chimney/wood-stovey-thingy later.
As for the castle in my mind, and prolly yours, too:
I had such a terrible day today. The rain crucified me. I was running on empty. I was astounded by her--Jennifer Egan's--articulation of addiction. Though I was low and depressed all day, her articulation, her poetic ability to fucking GET IT--stayed with me all day. It seemed to punctuate--to pierce--the lowness of the day. Yesterday, Mr. Z's big day was good. He was so terrific when he came home from his day. All I could think of as I listened to his low manly voice and concentrated on the circular, unjaggedness of his Polish baby boy cheeks was the song Pink Moon. That lullaby melody, Nick Drake's perfect, harmonized sweet voice. My perfect boy on his first day of being older, going to the place where there are no more babies.
In the novel, The Keep--I have tried to get to this and I am in such a tangent spiral--the female protagonist is a meth addict, not an opiate addict, like me. However, her description made perfect sense to me. During this shitty as fuck day, I hung onto certain parts of her novel:
Egan's character is using here:
I smoked my fist pipe with Seth. I knew the stuff was bad, but I was so tired of being the cop, begging and raging at him, throwing pampers in his face when he walked in the door. I wanted to be on the same side again. So I smoked with Seth one afternoon when the girls were napping, and oh my God, I can only think about this for a minute of every part of me will turn into a mouth wanting more; the sexiness of it, fucking Seth like wild for the first time in months, going on even when the girls started to whimper an bang on the door. The looking out of the window and seeing the world shake itself to life: the heavy trees, the sky. And I was bak on top. We were going to make it, Seth and I. The voice in my head was back again, telling me to write stories, too may to write down or even tell from one another.
And she is not here:
And after all the horrors, the searches and arrests, after losing Corey and those dark blank months in the hospital, after all that I was relieved just to be alive and clean and have my children back, the two that were left to me. I moved carefully, like the world was made of glass. I got the job at the college and finished my BA and started a master's in writing.
But even with all that, which I was grateful for and knew full well I didn't deserve, I can't exactly say I was happy. Relieved yes. Lucky, yes. God yes. All that. But I thought happiness only came from getting high, and I was never dong that again, never, ever, even if it meant not being happy one more day in my life.
And she falls in love and realizes that this feeling is like being high; she is happy again:
The excitement that rocks through your body when you're a kid like lust does when you're a grown up: just pure excitement--for Christmas, for grape Kool-Aid, for playing in a treehouse--I felt all week long as my teaching night got close. I started reading again, finishing a novel every few days. On my lunch break I'd sit outside at my picnic bench and listen to traffic, those big loops of sound, and behind it I'd hear something else, barely there, so shadowy I tried not to scare it away by paying too much attention, but I knew the voice was back.
In my memory, the character talks about how teaching is like a high, but when I just went bak to my kindle, I do don't see it. But I was so outta my mind with identification while reading that I was speed reading. I am pleased and calm and confident about this: If I were still in AA, I would be thinking I "got her disease" and I'd be thinking my fucking disease knew her disease. I'd utter that it is "the blue that knows you, it knows where you live, and it is never going to forget" echoing the Kate Braverman story I read in high school straight outta The Best American Short Stories. But now I realize: She used and so did I. I get the whole feeling of being blown away that comes from getting loaded, whether your deal is meth or opiods. And I totally get her , as she is literary; she discusses her addiction and her writing voice as if they are nearly one n the same, which is so fascinating. What I am writing here, and what Egan depicts through her character seems so real it is almost tactile; I feel it viscerally. Being at a meeting, and hearing someone, even if they're literary like S.P.: it is bullshit. It is the epitome of inauthenticity. Interestingly, Braverman writes about this same inauthenticity in AA in her latest book of stories, Small Craft Warnings. I love seeing her progression as a writer and as a person in this way; I was completely impressed. I did wonder how much of my own experience I was bringing into my reading. But this is what we do as readers. We read autobiographically, or at least many of us do.