*goes and eats oatmeal cookie*
Okay, fine, I'll give it a shot, and I'll try not to just use gushy superlatives. I felt pierced by these stories - each one was like dreaming a beautiful, strange, frightening dream that sent me back to the waking world with some new insight about, or love for, the rest of humanity. The characters are wonderfully queer and outlandish, and yet achingly familiar in their flawed floundering for love, or understanding, or attention of any sort. The titular (hee) vampire is an old man who has lost the trick of flight and fears that he is losing his wife, who has retreated to the caves high above the lemon grove. The description of lemon soothing his aching fangs is visceral. Reading this story always makes me want lemonade.
In Proving Up, a bizarre law in the Homestead Act requires that dwellings have a window in order for the family to be given title to the land - this despite the fact that "our house is a dugout in a grassy hill". The families share a window from homestead to homestead at Inspection time, so one family's young son is tasked with carrying the window, like the most precious of jewels, to another family. The pitiless ravages of nature, the mysterious figure of the "Inspector", the "crystal risk of riding at a gallop" turn the story into a sort of nightmare road trip. And it becomes this sort of multi-faceted origami structure of 'she's taken senseless bureaucratic rules and treated them as sacred. Which makes them seem even more ludicrous. No wait, does it? People are actually DYING here..." So I felt like I'd discovered something vitally important, but I wasn't sure exactly what.
|Photo from Flickr. By Travis.|
And now I'm exhausted and if I try to keep at this I'm going to end up demolishing that bag of snack mix (I probably shouldn't write at the kitchen table), so I'll do St. Lucy's tomorrow.