Out on the plaza’s lozenge Momma’s kitchen commanded a fine view—spires, domes, towers and irregular columns of gray and green—filling her horizons. Slavishly exploring the avenues of a culinary technique adopted many years before she would rarely leave the condensed-moisture walls of her L-shaped moisture-condensed kitchen. Only on occasions when she sought to involve our interests would she enter the chain of our inner rooms to announce her plans for the afternoon. Top of the list was a selection of her own favorites—fine pastry blizzards which though spectacular in themselves served here only to herald the arrival of our individual shooting stars—a centerpiece of sugar-coated bread in the form of a star held aloft on crisscross strands of marzipan baked in syrup. Later on in the evening bone-carved duplicates would be committed to the shelves of family mementoes. A song invariably accompanied the presentation of each piece, Momma taking the soprano lead whilst we followed in unison with an amateurish
Aisha Sabatini Sloan
Episode 22: “Form and Formlessness”
In an essay specially commissioned for the podcast, Aisha Sabatini Sloan describes rambling around Paris with her father, Lester Sloan, a longtime staff photographer for Newsweek, and a glamorous woman who befriends them. In an excerpt from The Art of Fiction no. 246, Rachel Cusk and Sheila Heti discuss how writing her first novel helped Cusk discover her “shape or identity or essence.” Next, Allan Gurganus’s reading of his story “It Had Wings,” about an arthritic woman who finds a fallen angel in her backyard, is interspersed with a version of the story rendered as a one-woman opera by the composer Bruce Saylor. The episode closes with “Dear Someone,” a poem by Deborah Landau.
Rachel Cusk photo courtesy the author.
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