I’ve been reading some poetry by Alice Fulton recently, and simultaneously her lone novel, the Nightingales of Troy. I love when poets write fiction, because it is truly the most beautiful fiction. Aspects of Fulton’s fiction remind me slightly of Lorrie Moore, but this is more a comparison of subject matter (not to say that all writers writing wittily about women and their relationships with other women are reminiscent of Lorrie Moore, although in some ways that would be nice) than prose.
This book takes place sparsely over a century, but this passage is from 1999:
Your father’s hotel isn’t what it used to be,” she said when she returned. “It’s like Père Lachaise up there. Dark. Really dark. With bottles, syringes, and graffiti everywhere. There was nobody at the desk, and somebody yelled down, Who youse looking for? Then a big burly guy appeared. He opened a drawer full of guns and knives. I was thinking, if we get to choose our weapons, I’ll choose grammar.
Fulton makes for excellent nighttime reading, when summer is ending and the nights are so noisy. I have been falling asleep reading How to Eat Supper (this hasn’t changed my dreams like I’d hoped it would–they’re not about food or anything). I am learning so much from this book–this book is meant to be read and absorbed, not just glanced at, like other cookbooks, I think–and feel like all of my dietary habits are lackluster (popcorn for dinner, anyone?) and need to change. The new semester is about to start, and all the new freshman are arriving with their little refrigerators and their excited parents with their “I’m a Pitt mom!” hoodies and I don’t wish I were moving into a dorm but I do wish I were going back to school (in a more substantial way). The best thing about a new semester starting is it gives even non-degree seeking students (me! hi!) a change to reevaluate and set new goals and work towards something different. I wish I could buy a new Trapper-Keeper or planner or something exciting. That would feel substantial.