The first time I saw it, I thought what an ugly specimen. It looked like Grandma’s bathing cap, grown green and small after all these years. I sliced it open and tasted the pale flesh. And gradually she offered herself up leaf by leaf. In her depths she held a tiny, faded star, a spark that fell in the meteor shower over Frank’s garden. I developed a taste for her expensive style: fancy restaurants, wines by candlelight. Sometimes we stayed inside and read by firelight, drinking the leftover melted butter, wiping the grease on shirt sleeves. I introduced her to friends. She had the heart of a Buddha. Green leaves of flame.
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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