The sun became the sun because that’s all a ball of hydrogen can do.
From “Strange Case” by Craig O’Hara, Confirmation 100:
“INTERVIEW WITH THE TUMOR
Author: We’re here with the tumor inside Edgar Beehive’s lung. Thanks for taking the time to speak with us.
Tumor: Thanks for having me.
A: So, what was it made you start mutating like this?
T: Well, like so many things in life, it’s really hard to tell.
A: I guess what I’m asking is: Did you wake up one day and decide to mutate or was it something that just came about naturally?
T: Who knows? I mean, how did you become a writer? How did the sun become the sun? How do we know why anything does what it does?
A: I became a writer because I don’t have any other marketable skills. The sun became the sun because that’s all a ball of hydrogen can do. But you had a choice. You could have become a normal lung cell like the others, yet you didn’t. Why?”
Hobart post 2 of 3
One of the other things Hobart was kind enough to send along was issue 13 of their literary magazine. It’s got a luck theme, and I like lit mags with themes. Some are a bit loose around the theme; tin house will present a theme but a lot of the things involved relate tangentially or in an opaque way. This wasn’t like that, the stories dealt directly with luck, wondered out loud about it, were openly shaped by it. I liked the opening essay a lot, a piece by Jac Jamc “Notes Towards a Definition of Luck.” “When I was 25,” she writes, ”I went on 27 dates in six months.”
Here’s the breakdown of my success rate:
15% I do not remember at all.
15% I only recalled when I was able to pull up a picture of the person.
15% had previously been married.
4% sent me scantily clad photos of themselves.
8% made it clear, on the first date, that they had serious histories of substance abuse.
4% were closeted submissives who started out conversations by sheepishly telling me what they wanted me to do to them.
8% had girlfriends that they didn’t tell me about until the second date.
63% made contact after the first date.
4% called way too many times for comfort.
4% performed surveys of people who worked in bogs “for a living.”
4% said they would rather live in a happiness pod than experience real life.
4% happened to be the guy who worked at the Walgreens near my college who I called “Walgreens Thom” and had a crush on four years previous.
4% made it to the fifth date, which is the maximum number of dates any of them went out on me, excluding my current boyfriend who was the last guy I went out with.
I’m not saying the twenty-seventh man is “the one,” because I don’t know that I believe in “the one,” but I like him a whole lot. I’d say I’m pretty darn lucky, but I tried my luck a heck of a lot of times. If I’d stopped at 26, I would not have felt lucky.
So maybe being lucky is trying one more time.
I like this a lot because trying one more time strikes me as the exact opposite of luck. Finite trials are inherent in luck, luck is accepting that within a certain time frame it either will or won’t happen, to try one more time is to imply that a particular something should happen, and there’s no should in luck.
“If Teddy’s been cheated then what’s been stolen? There is, of course, his time. Energy put into another: this is the entropy of a “we.” The dispersal of energy, that’s all it is. Maybe it was time he was less spread out than he’s been.”
That’s from I Have Blinded Myself Writing This, a book I got when Hobart (a person(s?) / lit mag / publishing house / kitchen equipment enthusiast) made a generous offer on tumblr.
The book is a first person narrative, but it’s a disjointed and non-sequential narrative. The narrator is a woman who loses memories when she’s cut, and the book is a lot of rumination on memory and self and couplehood and what we have to give each other. Linking memory loss to blood loss gives a physical quality to an intangible thing, and that carries through to other things, i.e. “If Teddy’s been cheated then what’s been stolen?” Or here:
“Afterwards, we adjusted, lay side by side together on the bed, evidence of what’s left would show on those dark sheets.
After we had caught our breaths we held them.
Teddy wondering what we were supposed to do next.
I wondering what we had just done.”
After we had caught our breaths we held them. That’s great, great stuff. The book is a little disjointed, in the sense that there’s creative and use of line breaks and pagination that isn’t typical of prose works. That’s style, though, and beneath that is some pretty devastating writing:
“You can condition yourself to remember a memory in a certain way. Someone can teach you to think of third grade differently. Or hear that Bob Dylan song “Most of the Time” and not cringe like you always do. So that you don’t remember the third grade when only the newly acquired names of planets kept you company. Or you could coast through the more painful reminder of your current love who tells you how much he cares about his ex. So that when Dylan sings: “Don’t even remember what her lips felt like on mine. Most of the time” you don’t wish you could fit your heart into the food processor.”
Recommended. More discussion of Hobart works is coming soon. Thanks to Hobart for the generous offer that got me the book in the first place, apologies to Hobart for taking this long to talk about it.