Yesterday I finished "Bad Behavior"by Mary Gaitskill. What I most appreciated about this stunning first collection was its complete unsentimentality, its laying out of facts without flinching. Without judging.
In "Romantic Weekend," two characters rendevous for what they consider a romantic weekend, but for most who are not interested in the practices of sado-masochism, perhaps it would be called something else altogether. The woman is not particularly attractive, has low self-esteen and she's excited to meet up with an already married man who enjoys belittling, penetrating--in a psychic way as well as the literal, and completely conquering women. What I love about this story is that both the characters and the readers end up discovering some surprising insights:
"This exasperating girl, on the other hand, contained a tangible somethingness that she not only refused to expunge, but that seemed to willfully expand itself so that he banged into it with every attempt to invade her. He didn't mind the somethingness; he rather liked it, in fact, and had looked forward to seeing it demolished. But she refused to let him do it."
- Originally from Vermont, I now live in North Carolina. My work can be found in recent issues of REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters, The Jabberwock Review, The Emerson Review, Storyglossia, The MacGuffin, Confrontation, Passages North, SmokeLong Quarterly, elimae, wigleaf, and Pank, among others, and forthcoming from Gargoyle #57 and REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters. One of my stories has been translated into Farsi by Asadollah Amraee, and many others by Jalil Jafari, two of which have been published in the Iranian journal, Golestaneh Magazine. For two years I worked as an assistant editor for Narrative Magazine. Currently, I serve as a mentor for Dzanc's Creative Writing Sessions. I'm working on two novels and a short story collection. In May, I was awarded the Carol Houck Smith Contributor Scholarship for the 2011 Bread Loaf Writers' Conference.