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Pretty used to being with Gwyneth

Regrets that her mother did not smoke

Frank in all directions

Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais

Simply cannot go back to them

Roll your eyes at Samuel Beckett

John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion

Metaphors with eyes

Life of Mary MacLane

Circle what it is you want

Not really talking about women, just Diane

Felicity's disguise

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Entries in linda eddings (29)


In Which We Know All Of Our Weaknesses



I make the dark sea out of my hands. It is a restless, needy dough that presents itself as salve and illness both. Are you expecting someone (me) to get so upset she can barely breathe? I am not that kind of person. I am the sort of individual who packs the snow in my hands before the rain breaks.

I had done a lot of things for you by that point. I never made a list, or even counted them. I knew it was a lot because of the way you thanked me.

Your pet peeve — what you hated — was feeling worthless. A therapist named Dr. Walters had imprinted into your brain an incredibly dangerous word: value. She neglected to mention that the phenomenon went both ways.

When we place value on ourselves, we call that self-esteem. (Some people also call it snitching.) When you placed value on me, you neglected to mention that it was entirely conditional on the converse. But actually, once I recall asking you if you believed in unconditional love. You said, "Like, no matter what?" It was the same as telling someone what a pencil was.

I knew I was an angry person at the age of 12. I saw a girl print out an encyclopedia entry and submit it as a book report and I wanted to put her on a raft and push her out into the ocean. Now I feel a weird compassion for her plight. At least she knew, without the slightest shred of doubt, that she was a fake.

As a teenager we made repeated trips to a lighthouse where an old man lived with his wife. He let us go to the very top. I couldn't help but think we were not seeing very far from there. Certainly not as far as we should have been able to, given the height. Fog stopped us, rolling in off the ocean.

Twenty years have passed since those days, and I do not even think about them anymore. I think of the pope's attitude towards women in the clergy, the mileage on my car and my next meal.

I talked already about what you hated most, You disliked many other things: my mother, my tendency to repeat myself and apologize for doing so. You rolled your eyes when I said "The long arm of the law." Why do I remember that so vividly?

Most people I could pick apart. It's a matter of knowing their weaknesses, as well as your own. I deliberately did not do that to you — not because I thought it was important to be nice, but because I was afraid you would return that attitude in kind. I think it is the real me.

Linda Eddings is the senior contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in Brooklyn.


In Which We Have To Go Crazy For Someone

by edna andrade

Your Forecast


Aries: God gave you the earth, the sun, and the stars? What did you do with it?

I saw you walking among the plants. You smashed a tomato, a living thing which did not breathe or offer up its name. Years from now, your skull will take on tiny, imperceptible fractures at the base. Call your mother.

Taurus: The awkward moment when you arrive anywhere, as if it is someplace you think you truly belong.

I can read the exhaustion on your face. What you are tired of are things complete in themself, which do not even require you a little bit.

The moon in July emits an acrid light. Avoid its gaze like you do mine. I hope in Bali, a decade from now, I run into you with your wife, and she smells vaguely of vaseline and turpentine.

Gemini: All flaws double. Next to you on a plane a child traces the sign of the cross. He aimlessly kicks the seat of a better person than you.

You are engaged to some basic with the personality of a brontosaurus. Your mother says she is harmless and bakes a cake for my anniversary. I always sensed we got along a lot better than you and I.

Cancer: Last year my dog was sprayed by a skunk on Gravel St. The skunk marched away officiously, letting me know what she had done was not only a reflex, but also a choice.

Badgers, groundhogs, centipedes and fire ants. There is no accounting for preference. But when I saw a gentleness in you, I shuddered, like watching a hyena care for its young.

Leo: Makeshift piles of all the things you wanted to remember, spread out in a oval. "I want to travel," you bleated, but the farthest you made it was the island off that little beach. In the distance, clouds negotiated a gentle peace with each other.

Don't take all the oxygen. Leave some for the birds.

by vija celmins

Virgo: You don't know anything beyond what you have been told. What you were told was passed on by a crooked woman with the longest nails in the county. The county seat was vacant for many years. All the flowers and streamers were placed in a dumpster. They were replaced by a generous philanthropist whose name escapes me.

Libra: You could make the dish in the traditional way. Would it not be more fun to think abstractly? What is food? What is this reality? On the far side of the planet Saturn, men meet and decide such important questions as what they will wear to the dinner party and how best to empathize with creatures from outer space.

You know this place isn't yours, even though you keep your things here. What you can own isn't even half a percent of what you see.

The traditional way is lost to us now.

Scorpio: Pass.

Sagittarius: Thumbs pointed up, you climbed a mountain. Each step you took was the eventual marker of an angry soul. And look at the pieces of the avalanche! The face you recognize the most is not the one you love, but an approximation.

Find a way to work the shit emoji into a text with your new boyfriend.

Capricorn: Hold a treasured doll at a ninety degree angle to your face. When a treasured friend asks for advice, mete out the opposite of your inner belief. You have lost that treasured guide. You have come to a treasured Asian bakery.

Below this establishment, kittens play easily, sweetly. They play Uno.

Aquarius: Standing next to you in line, I sensed others watching us. They wanted to see how we would touch, when we would touch.

Instead we address each other without proximity or ease of use. "Your alma mater," I say. "Alone for miles," you respond, and the lights meant to direct us forwards flicker on and off.

I could stand further back, or move in a step or two. Neither would put me close to the thing that I am when I close my eyes.

Pisces: You are so sweet to talk to me, to tell me you are thinking of me. You are so kind. You make this sordid act of living better and I am grateful for you, until the next orbit.

Linda Eddings is the senior contributor to This Recording. You can find an archive of her writing on This Recording here.


In Which We Would Absolutely Die As John Keats

An Awkward Bow


I am ashamed of writing you such stuff.

The last days of John Keats involved a great deal of wishing for death. Indigestion plagued his stomach, and the severity of his symptoms from tuberculosis drove him to leave England for Naples, where it was thought that a better climate would enhance his prospects. Because of his illness and general low mein, none of Keats' friends wanted to accompany him to Naples. Instead an acquaintance would go.

John Keats by Joseph Severn

The young painter Joseph Severn had little in the way of money, so he took on the job of caring for Keats. Storms prevented them from going any farther than Northampton at first, and Keats was deeply bothered by a female passenger suffering from consumption. He had observed years earlier that "Milton meant a smooth river."

Keats had already left his previous life behind when he boarded the Maria Crowther. He penned goodbye letters to his sister and fiancée, both of whom were named Fanny. On board the Crowther he could not even muster the strength to masturbate and regretted never having sex with Fanny Brawne. "I should have had her while I was in health," he complained to a friend.

She contrived to disappoint me in a way which made feel more pleasure than a simple kiss.

Because of an outbreak of typhus in London, the Crowther was quarantined for ten days. Keats described his chest as burning with the fire of hot coals, and continued to regularly write letters to his friend Charles Brown. Penguin has put together the best of Keats' letters in a single collection, and although some are childish, others contain the best writing of the period.

He understands many a beautiful thing, but then, instead of giving other minds credit for the same degree of perception as he himself possesses, he begins an explanation of such a curious manner that our taste and self love is offended continually.

After his ship was again quarantined outside of Naples. Keats moved to Rome, into an apartment at the Piazza di Spagna. "The very thing I want to live most for will be the great occasion of my death," he explained somewhat insincerely in one of his last letters. He spit up what Severn noted was "fawn-coloured phlegm," and Keats' doctor predicted diarrhea. Their plan for daily walks through the plaza was now out of the question.

Severn gave up the responsibility for administering opium to Keats' doctor, because he was giving John too much of the substance. Dr. Clark hired a nurse because Severn would stay up all night sketching the poet to keep him company, never bothering to sleep. "He talks of a quiet grave as the first rest he will ever have," Severn wrote.

Severn had never eaten so well in his life as he did by Keats' bedside. He served Keats bread and milk every day, because it was all the man could keep down. For himself he had fish or meat, and always pudding afterwards. He loved the convenience of having fresh produce in Italy. Keats finally feel asleep for good one night in Severn's arms.

Casts were made of Keat's face, hands and foot. Doctors found in the autopsy that his lungs had been entirely devastated for the past two months. Despite not really knowing each other all that well, Severn and Keats are buried next to each other in Rome's Protestant Cemetery. All of Keats' friends in Italy put daisies on his grave.

Linda Eddings is the senior contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in Manhattan. You can find an archive of her writing on This Recording here.