Once, I got romantic in a Shaws grocery store and bought a bottle of pamplemousse rose flavored perrier water and then climbed a mountain of snow until I found some craters on the top. I played in these snow holes until packets of taco bell hot sauce fell out of my pocket. Before the mountain of snow melted I drank the rest of the bottle of pamplemousse.
A week later, I tried to buy more pamplemousse. There was no pamplemousse. I went to whole foods. There was no pamplemousse. I drove to three other grocery stores. I could not find any pamplemousses. I looked online. I could only find some gland cream. Months passed. I forgot about everything I ever knew about my mouth enjoyment.
Last week, I went to Stop and Shop to buy eggs. I looked in the water aisle out of habit. I found twenty bottles of pamplemousse. I bought them all. I drove to another Stop and Shop. I found ten more bottles. I have over thirty bottles of pamplemousse. I’ve returned to the Stop and Shop since, but there has been no more pamplemousses.
It’s nice that I have all the pamplemousse left in the entire world. If you would like some pamplemousse I can send you an empty bottle and you can let it drip on you and then maybe you can suck on these last drips.
1. When I was little, I loved for my mom to read me this poem by Elinor Wylie before bed:
The old moon is tarnished
With smoke of the flood,
The dead leaves are varnished
With color like blood,
A treacherous smiler
With teeth white as milk,
A savage beguiler
In sheathing of silk,
The sea creeps to pillage,
She leaps on her prey;
A child of the village
Was murdered today.
She came up to meet him
In a smooth golden cloak,
She choked him and beat him
To death, for a joke.
Her bright locks were tangled,
She shouted for joy,
With one hand she strangled
A strong little boy.
Now in silence she lingers
Beside him all night
To wash her long fingers
In silvery light.
2. A wonderful essay, “Landscape and Narrative,” by Barry Lopez. Lopez writes, “The interior landscape responds to the character and subtlety of an exterior landscape; the shape of the individual mind is affected by land as it is by genes.”
1. Michael Rapaport in the movie Special.
2. Isak Dinesen’s short story, “The Blank Page.” Read it here.
3. The first paragraph of Winter’s Bone, a book I was given before it made the now-infamous and stupidly misguided List, which I began reading today. At least it has a female protagonist? Nice sounds:
…Meat hung from trees across the creek. The carcasses hung pale of flesh with a fatty gleam from low limbs of saplings in the side yards. Three halt haggard houses formed a kneeling rank on the far creekside and each had two or more skinned torsos dangling by rope from sagged limbs…
Garth Greenwell is the author of Mitko, a novella of sexual passion and transaction in Bulgaria, which calls to mind the richly textured fictions of Imre Kertesz, W.G. Sebald, and Marguerite Duras. Greenwell grew up in Kentucky, studied poetry at Harvard, and taught high school in Michigan, before settling (for now) in Bulgaria, where he teaches at the American College of Sofia. Mitko is available in bookstores, and also through Small Press Distribution, Amazon, and the publisher. We corresponded last week by Facebook messaging.
MINOR: I first became acquainted with you through your poetry, but your first book, Mitko, is a work of fiction, a novella, which reads in some ways like that variety of fiction that hews close to autobiography.
GREENWELL: Until coming to Bulgaria, all of my creative work was in verse, and in some way I don’t fully understand I think that moving to a place so free from things I recognized or understood READ MORE >