If you're in New Jersey or in New York City tomorrow night, come to Rutgers New Brunswick. Lydia Davis will be reading from her work, which needs no introduction, as they say. Yours truly will be introducing her, preceded by Mark, who will be introducing me. It should be a great night, as has been the case with all Writers at Rutgers events. Here's the text of one of her superb and funny stories.
In this Condition
by Lydia Davis
from Almost No Memory and The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis
In this condition: stirred not only by men but by women, fat and thin, naked and clothed; by teenagers and children in latency; by animals such as horses and dogs; by certain vegetables such as carrots, zucchinis, eggplants, and cucumbers; by fruits such as melons, grapefruits, and kiwis; by certain plant parts such as petals, sepals, stamens and pistils; by the bare arm of a wooden chair, a round vase holding flowers, a little hot sunlight, a plate of pudding, a person entering a tunnel in the distance, a puddle of water, a hand alighting on a smooth stone, a hand alighting on a bare shoulder, a naked tree limb; by anything curved, bare and shining, as the limb or bole of a tree; by any touch, as the touch of a stranger handling money; by anything round and freely hanging, as tassels on a curtain, chestnut burrs on a twig in spring, a wet tea bag on its string; by anything glowing, as a hot coal; anything soft or slow, as a cat rising from a chair; anything smooth and dry, as a stone, or warm and glistening; anything sliding, anything sliding back and forth; anything sliding in and out with an oiled surface, as certain machine parts; anything of a certain shape, like the state of Florida; anything pounding, anything stroking; anything bolt upright, anything horizontal and gaping, as a certain sea anemone; anything warm, anything wet, anything wet and red, anything turning red, as the sun at evening; anything wet and pink; anything long and straight with a blunt end, as a pestle; anything coming out of anything else, as a snail from its shell, as a snail's horns from its head; anything opening: any stream of water running, any stream running, any stream spurting, any stream spouting; any cry, any soft cry, and grunt; anything going into anything else, as a hand searching in a purse; anything clutching, anything grasping; anything rising, anything tightening or filling, as a sail; anything dripping, anything hardening, anything softening.
In a not completely unrelated matter, I will be teaching a weekend class in short prose forms this coming June at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Click here for the details. (You'll have to scroll down.) Lydia Davis's work will be central to our discussions, along with whatever work of your own you want to bring in.