Great image for Mattel’s Thingmaker sets & kits (1967)
YOU CAN TELL THINGS WERE COOLER BACK THEN. PSYCHEDELIC HORROR TOYS.
Lydia Davis’ Short Stories
Collaboration with a Fly
I put that word on the page, but he added the apostrophe.
You ask me about Edith Wharton.
Well, the name is very familiar.
Here is a woman I know coming up to me. She is very excited, but she is not an interesting woman. What excited her will not be interesting, it will simply not be interesting.
At a party, a highly nervous man talking fast says many smart things about subjects that do not particularly interest me, such as the restoration of historic houses and in particular the age of wallpaper. Yet, because he is so smart, and because he gives me so much information per minute, I do not get tired of listening to him.
Jane and the Cane
Mother could not find her cane. She had a cane, but she could not find her special cane. Her special cane had a handle that was the head of a dog. Then she remembered: Jane had her cane. Jane had come to visit. Jane had needed a cane to get back home. That was two years ago. Mother called Jane. She told Jane she needed her cane. Jane came with a cane.
I don’t know if I can remain friends with her. I’ve thought and thought about it – she’ll never know how much. I gave it one last try: I called her, after a year. But I didn’t like the way the conversation went. The problem is that she is not very enlightened. Or I should say, she is not enlightened enough for me. She is nearly fifty years old and no more enlightened, as far as I can see, than when I knew her twenty years ago, when we talked mainly about men. I did not mind how unenlightened she was then, maybe because I was not so enlightened myself. I believe I am more enlightened now, and certainly more enlightened than she is, although I know it’s not very enlightened to say that. But I want to say it, so I am willing to postpone being more enlightened myself so that I can still say a thing like that about a friend.
They Take Turns Using a Word They Like
“It’s extraordinary,” says one woman.
“It is extraordinary,” says the other.
At the back of the bus,
inside the bathroom,
this very small illegal passenger,
on its way to Boston.
What an Old Woman Will Wear
If she had a husband, she would sit out on the lawn with her husband. She hoped she would have a husband by then, Or still have one. She had once had a husband, and she wasn’t surprised she had once had one, didn’t have one now, and hoped to have one later in life.
Christian, I’m not a
No one is calling me. I can’t check the answering machine because I have been here all this time. If I go out, someone may call while I’m out. Then I can check the answering machine when I come back in.
If you ask her what is a favourite story she has written, she will hesitate for a long time and then say it may be this story she read in a book once: an English-language teacher in China asked his Chinese student to say what was the happiest moment in his life. The student hesitated for a long time. At last he smiled with embarrassment and said that his wife had once gone to Beijing and eaten duck there, and she often told him about it, and he would have to say that the happiest moment of his life was her trip, and the eating of the duck.
Buy the book here.