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Excerpts from a novel in progress

My Pudenda. A Stubborn Man. Poor Me! Lewdness Suggested. How the Sight Affects Me. A Ground-Floor Dulling Room.

I met Oscar Small, Junior on the twelfth of June, the year of my adventurous courage, although I lack a clear intelligence.

“What do you want to get married for?” Mother said. “Aren’t you having a good time?”

My mother told me please don’t marry him. He was very handsome.

The Oscar Small Seniors are rather tired and I had touched their banister. It was a leather one I was told, but I found it to be covered in balding short red cut-velvet.

Next, I experienced a golden age at work, at play, in the dark. This left just one way to proceed so that our children will have good jobs and good husbands and wives and good children and so that so will we.

Vienna Roll for Breakfast. A Small Amount of Money is Gained. A Diamond Ring. Frankfurters for Dinner. Animals, Trees, Almost Anything. Erotic Matters.

The subjects we can see among us are marriage, health, jealousy, money.

Oscar wears a homemade bandage for all activities. We make our effort to be spectators of the well-to-do. Moreover, one day, I saw Barb Grogg, with her quirks, sitting in a café.

She is stocky in the manner that assures me she has strong points. She told me to, “Sit down, dear.”

I am both for and against her.

She cleared her palms of her bun crumbs and I took the advice she gave me. We looked at each other in surprise and with our deep desires and our passions.

The work pace then sped up and in addition it was hard to withstand hand mirrors from all sides, a hairslide, multi-colored beads, glass beads, and a pair of shorts and will I ever run out of cheese?

Something Goes Right in Stockholm. Early to Bed. A Love Letter. Too Much Cavatelli. The Ear Nose and Throat Doctor.

I had met Oscar Small, Junior through a mutual friend.

I underwent a certain amount of ardor against my will for reasons I never refer to and hardly believe.

The furniture is of wood and the walls are outstretched. However, our trees—look what the trees went through, went through! Look what they went through!

I found a monstrous sack—retrieved it on the street near my household. I thought it was filled with candy. I cooked our dinner, made my inspection. No candy! Brooches!

This one is for my mother! This one will be for Barb! This one is mine.

A must-have, a must-have! A winged scarab, a wishbone with heather, a love knot made of wood.

One morning in the summer, on a ritzy sort of a day, with an expensive gold ring, more thickly bright than the sun is, in the sky, I found a diamond brooch on the street and I gave it to the police. I found a white gold ring in the street and I gave it to Carmen. A paste star pendant from the street I keep and I wear and also a lady jigging on a link chain that I found. They pile up in cupboards or they land marooned like some of our great talents.

Oscar gave me a talking to and I took up Carmen and bumped aside Barbara and then brought Oscar very much closer to me.

Resolve, Second Guessing, Less Fear. Carmen-Oscar-Barb. Debauchery. Warm Salad. The Hardware Store Owner.

Oh, now that’s my fault! This woman—that was the end of the life of my mother. Since they have the body, I thought they could bring it in. She gets all of the recognition.

A few weeks passed in my young years around this time. What happened to her? What happened? Oh, that’s very convenient, they just die.

My mother is currently not available at this time. My hopes! Take a whole cluster! Don’t turn it into a skeleton. I had hoped that her shrewdness, her supervision had improved her—me.

The Wild Boar Story. A Failure. Instructions for the Genitals. Puddings and Presents. At the Hotel Diplomat.

After Mother’s death, unlike some, I was looking foolish and feeling less skillful and Oscar died. I married Calman.

“Little Milka Wants to get Married!” A Voice Answered, “I’ll Take Her!”

I have black hair and they asked me, “Why are you here?” They always ask me, “Why are you here?” What did I do?

I was nearly generous to people. I was flirtatious. I was pretty. The thing about my mask is that it’s not frightening. I drank my coffee. The rest of my behavior, I believe, failed to steady me.

There was a lady eating a berry cake there and the scenery out the window was so bowed and so small. There was a unique type of stuff on the gravel drive that could have been moved over.

It was at my wedding at the moment after the kiss I saw the glowing ball and then I leaned my head against my husband and wished to put a tissue to my nose.

I Could Slip It Right Out if I get the Story. The Story? I Met Calman. The Story.

A mirror hung near our front door. The silver in it was gone. Clothes, bottles, houseflies—things usually in their places—were slightly filthy. Candles and the lamps were lit. “Don’t make me go alone,” I said and Calman said, “You’re so pretty.”

“I could wear the skirt I am wearing—okay?”

“You’re comfortable in it?” he said.


We had entered our own reception hall where somebody can ignore the balloons, the choking damp, family life, the evening schedule, a person’s work life, a horse fly on the run. I remember helping to kill the horse fly there. I was trying to point out to Frisky the cat where the fly had gone and I was standing on the sofa and batting at the cornice with the needlepoint pillow Sally made with the Hungarian Variation, with the Amadeus, with The Scotch Checker, and The Double Cross and I was standing on tiptoe so Frisky could kill the fly.

Earlier, I’d soaped my face and under my arms and visited the hairdresser at The Romantic City of Hair. The hairdresser had said, “At least you can make your hair do things.” She said, “You’re lucky you can make your hair do things.” She said, “You’re lucky I can make your hair do things.”

These are the Main Factors of the Rise and the Fall of My Life. They Make the Full-Length Figure, With no False Keels, No Fancy Lines or Fashion Pieces.

It’s as if I am Frisky who needs to apologize and I was yawning on the trail that stinks of pine trees.

The Names I Changed. I Changed the Places and Things. I Changed my Feelings.

I just ran into Angus on the street and he said he wanted to talk to me, so we are going to have lunch tomorrow.

At The Bay of Gems I looked around and I saw all the busy fingers and the mirrors with the frames and the nice artwork and I thought this may be interesting. Yeah, right away I had this impression – there is something to this place and then I saw all the trays with jewelry that were sitting on tables and I got really intrigued and then when the staff was leaving me alone with all that stock and brooches I was impressed.

I stole a ring—so I think what Calman did is he went to the store and paid for it and to my great embarrassment that’s what I received for a Christmas present.

So, partially I wanted a new ring.

I didn’t know how Calman rated me, but what I worried about more than my marriage was the safety of married life. Would I manage? I sat and had a cup of coffee. Somebody was in the house and I had this great cup of coffee and I was seeing the sun and then I fell asleep. But those thoughts—this was an important time.

Calman is a gynecologist and obviously very successful. We live in this beautiful house. I am a speech therapist. If I think about my grandmother’s sisters I don’t remember whether they wore rings or not. I must have thought that every woman was wearing rings like I was wearing my socks.


Diane Williams

Diane Williams is the author of six books of fiction and founding editor of NOON.


The Brooklyn Rail

MAR 2008

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