Quite a Quote

     At no. 27 Viktoriastrasse, in Berne, a young woman lies on her bed. The sounds of her parents’ fighting drifts up to her room. She covers her ears and stares at a photograph on her table, a photograph of herself as a child, squatting at the beach with her mother and father. Against one wall of her room stands a chestnut bureau. A porcelain wash basin sits on the bureau. The blue paint on the wall is peeling and cracked. At the foot of her bed, a suitcase is open, half-filled with clothes. She stares at the photograph, then out into time. The future is beckoning. She makes up her mind. Without finishing her packing, she rushes out of her house, this point of her life, rushes straight to the future. She rushes past one year ahead, five years, ten years, twenty years, finally puts on the brakes. But she is moving so fast that she cannot slow down until she is fifty years old. Events have raced by her vision and barely been seen. A balding solicitor who get her pregnant and then left. A blur of a year at the university. A small apartment in Lausanne for some period of time. A girlfriend in Fribourg. Scattered visits to her parents gone gray. The hospital room where her mother died. The damp apartment in Zürich, smelling of garlic, where her father died. A letter from her daughter, living somewhere in England.
     The woman catches her breath. She is fifty years old. She lies on her bed, tries to remember her life, stares at a photograph of herself as a child, squatting at the beach with her mother and father.

Lightman, Alan. Einstein’s Dreams. New York: Warner Books, 1994.

Quite a Quote

“It’s all dumb luck,” the Doctor’s Wife says, explaining her new theory to my mother. I’ve already heard the theory.
     “What’s dumb luck?” asks my mom.
     “Life. It’s all dumb luck.”
     “Don’t you think that genetics has something to do with it?”
     “Genetics is dumb luck.”
     “What about education?”
     “Dumb luck.”
     “That’s not what you thought when you were younger.”
     “Of course I did,” the Doctor’s Wife snorts.
     “It was not dumb luck whether or not I got good grades. I was expected to study. Is it dumb luck if you study and then get good grades?”
     “Well,” the Doctor’s Wife says. “It’s dumb luck that you had the sort of parents who made you study.”
     They work quietly for a while, cutting up the pieces of apple, getting ready for the others to come.
     “Aren’t we lucky?” the Doctor’s Wife asks.

Jaramillo, Luis. The Doctor’s Wife. Westland: Dzanc Books, 2012.

Quite a Quote

The fœtus floats outside your window while you are having sex. It wants to know how many beads of sweat collect between your breasts and at what point, exactly, they begin their journey south, it wants to know if your eyes open wide or close at orgasm, if at that time your partner is holding your hand with his hand or your gaze with his gaze. It wants to know if your sheets are flannel or satin, if you lie on wool blankets or down comforters. And when fluids issue from the struggling bodies, with what do you wipe them up: Towels? Paper products? A T-shirt pulled out of the laundry? It wants to know if the bedside alarm is set before or after the lovemaking; it wants to stay informed, your love is its business.

Jackson, Shelley. The Melancholy of Anatomy. New York: Anchor Books, 2002.


For the Intermittent Writer


Short books about albums. Published by Bloomsbury.

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