Here in Massachusetts, where it’s raining a little on the chimneys, you get to thinking about Puritanism and grimly mowing the lawn, keeping yourself right in the eyes of Judgment, which is not so much a single set of floating eyes or even many sets of eyes but a vast eye-mucus gum, that sticky feeling of making one decision after another, freighted decisions, handled clumsy, bound for worry, leaving you fraught over past transgressions and mowing the lawn in the rain.
To feel better, you might want to read “Tied to Us” by John Maradik, American Short Fiction‘s web pinup for September. Maradik’s story is about the tension between inevitability and style. It opens by saying “She was an excellent kisser so we couldn’t help but have a baby.” That baby puts its foot in duck fountains and has a face like a zipper. Yards look outer-spacey. Necks pop like bullwhips. We might do well to mention Leonard Michaels or web-favorite Daniel Spinks. But Maradik’s story is also gooey and twitchy in a way that’s very much its own. Its got its own shoulders tensed at a very strange angle, which makes me want to tell you about it. It’s a good story. It’s a big lawn.