In Which We Hate None Of The Things You Hate

Hard to Say is This Recording’s weekly advice column. It will appear every Wednesday until the Earth perishes in a fiery blaze, or until North West turns 40. Get no-nonsense answers to all of your most pressing questions by writing to justhardtosay@gmail.com or by dropping us a note at our tumblr.

Hi,

My girlfriend is hinting that she wants me to propose, but I am not financially or emotionally ready for such a big decision. If it matters, we have been together for three years. We are otherwise happy, and I do see her as my wife one day, but now is not the right time for me.

Artis L.

hard to say mia nguyen

Dear Artis,

Is prison too dire a punishment? Back in medieval times, a woman could be stoned for hinting on social media that she might enjoy a long term committment. But it is awful to have someone love you, unless that someone is Ariana Grande; then it is just artistically inspirational.

There is no perfect time for an engagement. Conversely there it is always the perfect time for a very long engagement. Put yourself in her shoes: would she rather tell the world – “we broke off our engagement, it wasn’t quite right” or “he never proposed to me because I am a worthless bag of trash that Mayor De Blasio won’t even pick up because he’s terrible at running a city”? I may have gotten a bit off topic there, but my point is still completely solid. The former sounds like something that happened to Helen Bonham Carter in Majorca, the latter sounds like a typical week in the life of Shannyn Sossamon.

You can always get out of an engagement, but a woman will remember that you did not want her forever.

Hey,

My boyfriend Wesley and I have been dating for about six months. Recently he has explained that he has preferences for the kind of makeup he wants me to be wearing. He says that he likes bright red lipstick and a lot of blush – not a style I usually embody. Part of me doesn’t see the harm and wants to please Wesley, and another part of me is a bit weirded out by this sudden declaration. What should I do?

Alexis T.

just plain afraid to fail

Dear Maxi,

It seems like your boyfriend doesn’t want to confess on his most recent discovery. It probably involves three words: NARS Orgasm collection. According to The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants book club, the NARS blush in orgasm is a dream and matches every skin tone. It’s bright without being too red. Yes, it makes your face look like you have had sex for days on end. Maybe this is what he is referring to. If not, we can trace his trajectory of his last shopping experience.

It probably involved a bored sales associate from Sephora mongering him with samples. Most likely untrue, but it could happen. He most likely walked around the mall entranced by the brightness of the orgasm blush that he had to go back. Again, most likely untrue. Shopping mall experiences vary from person to person.

You’ll have to stumble on clues. Depending on your living situation with him, you can check white towels for any blush or lipstick residue. You still have time. Make-up is just an enhancer and you don’t have to wear it all the time. Next time, you’re repurchasing your stock bring him along. He’ll probably know a thing or two.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.

“Alligator” – Lone Wolf (mp3)

“Crimes” – Lone Wolf (mp3)

In Which We Surface For Air In The Near Future

Senor

by HECTOR LEGRANDE

Night comes early here, so quickly that everyone I know gets up with the sun, except for her.

The restaurant serves any kind of seafood the fishermen bring in. The owner is from a country where they eat everything. I won’t say the name of it because I don’t want to offend the people who live there. Maybe it is okay to eat all that exists in the world.

Chris, she is a vegetarian. Her father is a stonemason. He builds chimneys, including the one in the house where we live. If he thinks one of his clients isn’t going to complete payment on their chimney, he puts a plane of glass in at the top of the chimney, beneath the cowl. He removes it when they pay for the work. On occasion some cheapskate’s house will fill with smoke, and he will call Chris’ father in a panic. Dropping a stone through the glass always fixes that particular problem.

The first few times I told my friends about this practice, I laughed. Now I think it says something about Chris’ father that is not entirely humorous, and perhaps describes a quality of Chris as well. The chimney is repaired, but something has to be broken to get it that way.

Having a fire every night is in some places considered a luxury, but it is more of a necessity here. There was no fireplace in the house I grew up in. We built a fire in a pit when it wasn’t raining, which was not very often.

Chris never had to deal with this kind of stuff. For one thing, her father made a fine living. When she was 15, Chris’ mother came back into her life. She was dreadfully apologetic about missing the first fifteen years, but as Chris put it, “not much had happened to that point anyway.” With the entrance of Chris’ mother Darlena into her life came the appearance of another central figure: Darlena’s new husband Roger la Barclet.

I knew of Senor Barclet, as he asked everyone to call him, before I knew he was Chris’ stepfather. He had run for mayor a couple of times without much success. I don’t think he ever expected to win, but it was a good way to promote his business – he owned four or five fish taco stands set up along the beach.

Senor Barclet’s father was a fisherman, just like my father’s father. But they were nothing alike. Neither were Senor Barclet and my father, god rest his soul. My father never went beyond the third form, while Senor Barclet studied business at the Universite. Senor Barclet always had a mischievous look on his face, like he was in possession of that ineffable quality which distinguished him from the collective: élan.

Once Senor Barclet was in Chris’ life, things began to change for her. She had lived modestly with her father: now she could afford clothes, jewelry, makeup and hair products most people around here only dreamed of. And once her stepfather got to seeing that I was never going to leave Chris for any reason other than if she asked nicely (and maybe even then), he treated me like a member of his family.

I was not into accepting gifts, but I’m not so stupid I can’t appreciate kindness. Predictably, Chris’ father did not like Senor Barclet. Eventually, he got to hating him so bad that he broke into his ex-wife’s house and threw him around. That’s when Senor Barclet came around the restaurant and asked me if I would do something about it.

I told Senor Barclet that I respected him a lot, and that Christina’s father was a bit of a pill. But maybe he didn’t want to take the matter that far. He pretended to consider what I had said, but I could tell he was just thinking of a way to get me to do it.

Like a lot of cowards, he planned to accomplish his aims by indirect means. You see there is this kind of pufferfish we served in the restaurant. Mostly it was to VIPs. If you ate it fresh, you would probably die unless you got to a hospital quick enough, and even then it would be touch and go. But if you took out the liver of the pufferfish, you could eat it easily and the meal, some of our customers said, was quite tasty. Possibly their sense were heightened by the fear. I really wouldn’t know. I never could stand the taste of fish after working in that kitchen.

Instead of putting Senor Barclet off, I smiled and nodded. I told Chris all about it. This is what she said, “I sympathize with Senor Barclet. He will never be happy as long as my father is around.” By then I thought I had figured out a whole way around the situation, but I wasn’t sure yet if Chris would go for it. We had rough sex and she smoked her e-cigarette. I could see that something was floating around in her mind.

She said, “I know what you are thinking.”

“I doubt that.”

“Pssh,” Chris said, fumbling on her bra. “I know you better than you know yourself.”

Our house was pretty tiny, but Chris kept it spotless. She also cleaned her mother’s house, because her mother allowed her the use of her car if she did. Most people didn’t have cars in town, so this was a real treat.

It was a red hatchback, and I used it to drive to the restaurant. We were closed on account of a very local holiday. The town’s namesake had perished on a beach somewhere, trying to greet the natives. Instead of accepting the conquistador with open arms, they cut him down.

Things could get out of hand if you retaliated, and I think Senor Barclet saw that. It was better to simply strike the final blow, or have someone strike it for you. I guess Christina figured if a rock fell through a chimney on her father, it would pretty much put him of commission. It wouldn’t kill him, but it might stop him from killing Senor Barclet, who she liked better than both of her parents.

At the restaurant I rounded up a few pufferfish and removed the livers. The fish smelled pretty good once I cooked them, and I even had a bite. I drove the car back to Senor Barclet’s house and Darlene was in the driveway, shoveling the feces of her dog into a little pit. She accomplished this chore in high heels, but it was nothing I wasn’t used to. She called me over.

“Hi Darlene,” she said.

“Hi,” I said.

“Chris isn’t here.”

“Making dinner,” I said. “Senor asked me to bring these over first.” She laid the shovel demurely at her feet and thanked me. The way she thanked me let me know that she knew what she had in that tupperware. I took one last glance at the house she and the Senor shared. So many rooms.

Chris and I got married at a small chapel. She’s known the priest since she was a kid building sandcastles. He had all the paperwork he needed, and said he would file it at town hall in the morning.

It is difficult for us to live without our parents.

Hector LeGrande is a contributor to This Recording. He is a writer living in New Jersey. He last wrote in these pages about a place to hide.

Paintings by Aline Feldman.

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 10.34.51 AM

“The Way It’s Always Been” – Brandon Flowers (mp3)

“Can’t Deny My Love” – Brandon Flowers (mp3)

In Which We Hesitate To Move Against The Lord Commander

Dear Sam

by DICK CHENEY

Samwell Tarly gets letters.

hey Sam,

I heard you haven’t made a move with Gilly yet. You should probably tell her that she excels at lots of things, like washing floors and cleaning up after her incest baby. Women always love a hot compliment, as well as Once Upon A Time. They want to feel like girls again.

P.S. You’re a big bag of shit.

Allison in Moat Cailin

such a mediocre face to wake up to

hey Sam,

Boy, you’re really getting a lot of mileage out of that one white walker you killed. Even Bran killed a white walker; this is not an accomplishment years later. You can find obsidian at any depth. You look ridiculous.

P.S. Your dad is fantastic.

Nina from the Iron Islands

the dragons are extremely upset they don’t get wireless in the dungeon

hey Sam,

Blow me.

hey Sam,

Things really suck in Mereen since they took away the fighting pits. The only thing to do now is cower inside from the local dragon and draw pictures of our queen arranged among sconces. We think she is a really wonderful queen though.

P.S. Stop coddling that girl with the greyscale.

Greg from Hogwarts

“Master Aemon, this one is from a guy in the Citadel who says he misses you?”

Approval from Stannis Baratheon is the most serious commendation Samwell has received since Jon Snow told him he was his third best friend, after Mance and the little boy who serves him his lunch.

Somehow J. Snow has arranged it so that he is making a long, arduous trip north with another ginger wildling. Funny how that happens. Fortunately, Stannis is enthralled by Jon Snow’s newfound charisma and above-average likeability in polling. He stares at the guy like Bradley Cooper looks at his date at the Met Gala.

I think Jon said Stannis about fifty times in this episode. “Stannis is giving me ships, boyyyyys!”

The most exciting part of last night’s episode found Tyrion and Ser Jorah Mormont taking an ill-advised cruise through the doom of Valyria. This environmental catastrophe probably indicates Valyria was at one time Central Europe, since it is filled with sketchy guys looking to steal your gondola. Mormont’s fear of pirates was perhaps misplaced; what would they want with a dwarf and the biggest downer since Robb Stark’s annoying common-born wife?

Performing CPR on Tyrion’s mouth could not have been pleasant.

In the North, Roose Bolton has obviously not learned that remember when is the lowest form of conversation. The guy is incredibly low key and never so much as tortures a woman, but he’s humblebragging about sexual violence from 20 years ago? How about a flashback?

Before that we got a lengthy introduction to Ramsay’s annoying girlfriend, the one who thinks biting someone’s lip makes her more than the kennel chief’s daughter. She is only going to end up becoming another notch in Sansa Stark’s belt, which irritates me. Like, have Sansa kill Ramsay herself. Don’t set up a catfight, that’s just annoying.

Damn these people for leading us to expect the return of Sansa’s direwolf.

Ramsay has all the subtlety of Aemon Targaryen’s blind sexual advances on Jon Snow. He just goes around snarling, informing everyone nastily about what he wants. I can’t enjoy broad characters like that. He reminds me of Matlock. I really hope Stannis makes him marry Lady Greyscale or serve as the Onion Knight’s secretary/treasurer.

They have a lot to discuss regarding their bad taste in men. I believe Sansa’s direwolf was named Mollycoddle?

It seems like nothing really happens on Game of Thrones anymore. I understand that keeping up the pace of one major character character dying each episode wasn’t realistic. I don’t give two shits about some guy who looks roughly the same as I do in the mirror (with hair) perishing in Diagon Alley. He was probably going to pass from natural causes very soon in any case. Ser Barristan Selmy should not have been fighting anything except a cold.

She will stroke the place Grey Worm’s balls used to be in the deleted scenes.

Perpetuating the weird romance between Grey Worm and Dany’s slave only reminded me how little love is on Game of Thrones. Not one single person besides that eunuch is in love. Everyone I know in the real world is actively in love; in the case of Donald Rumsfeld, love with three remarkably different women. But no one on Thrones can find this happiness at all. If I was David Benioff’s boyfriend, I would be deeply afraid.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.

“Something Must Change” – Novella (mp3)

“Sentences” – Novella (mp3)

In Which We Used To Admire These Individuals

sweet t aklk

Green Love

by SUMEJA TULIC

My first memory is very dull and searing: a huge sun squeezing out air, mirages coming out of the pavement and me jumping from one bare foot to the other. My life began there, in the suburb of Ajdabiya, in a compound rented by the company in which my father worked. Judging by the shells we’d find when digging just a few inches beneath the surface, the compound, an hour away from the coast, was situated on soil once a seabed. Having spent preschool years digging in search of treasure and running after the ice cream van that cleverly came in the gaaila (siesta) when all parents slept, life seemed magical, sticky and painted in all possible varieties of warmth and happiness.

The beginning of my life as a pupil made life less magical and more practical, and it brought three things: the color green, ambition and ideology. At the age of nine, my motivation to be the best in my class came from hoping that good grades and outstanding display of revolutionary and anti-American spirit would lead me to meeting baba Muammar al Qadaffi. Of course, my favourite color was green and whenever someone asked how old I was, I would say I was born in 1985, the year before the Christian-Western aggression on Tripoli, in Al Haddra (the Green) hospital.

From then on, my green childhood became a string of very long summer holidays that would eventually culminate in Al Fatih’s public celebrations of the revolutions. I loved it all: the chanting and the dancing for him, the slogans from his book on TV before the news, him speaking endlessly in Libyan colloquial about the Great Man-Made River brought from deep within the Sahara, having a pencil box with two hands cutting chains of imperialism, him or his paroles printed on our green gym wear. That Libya transfixed me. I was never Bosnian, European or white. The freckles on my face were mere testimonies of human will to overcome and shape the obvious and thus, the truth.

Suddenly, our green love experienced its autumn. In an early morning, Suleiman, our young and handsome imam, was arrested and taken away. There were no charges and no appeal. Suleiman was “too Muslim” with his white tunic and therefore, a threat to Jamahiriya. The morning he was taken away, many others also vanished. For months, there were no wedding celebrations. Women whispered, men didn’t gather. Life was painfully discrete and silent.In years to come, coffins were brought to the doorsteps of those taken away years ago, before the sunrise, as when they were handcuffed and taken away.

Years went by, fast and uneasy. The imposed economical sanctions on Libya meant fewer things to buy. Oddly, the so called social supermarket distributed Benetton apparel. We may have craved all sort of different sweets, but we were dressed in Italian designer cloth from a decade ago.

dillon gee

Soon, satellite dishes appeared on roof tops. That changed our lives. We were shocked to learn that the U.S.A. did not have fires or tornado attacks each day, as the Libyan news has been reporting night after night.

One of those hot summer nights, I gazed at the moon trying to recite a classical Arab poem praising the beauty of the moon and the charm of the night. In midst of many failed attempts, one of my friends told me that the Americans carved Qaddafi’s face on the moon. I tried to reason with her, to explain the obvious. As I simultaneously held both arms, shaking her, I screamed “We are their enemy! Why would they want his face on the moon?!” Back at home, my father had to explain another difference between people: there are regular friends and there are friends whose parents are military personnel.

risk free appointment

In 1995 came the last stroke. In response to peace efforts between Palestinians and Israeli government, Qadaffi expelled some 30,000 Palestinians living in Libya. Some of them were left on the border, in the middle of the desert. The family of my friend Ilham was one of those expelled. Month after Ilham left, I watched the father of the first boy I ever liked being hanged on the national TV for treason and conspiracy against the Revolution.

Needless to say, I never met the man dressed in funky outfits, the one who lived in an illusion soaking in blood and oil, fear and hatred. Instead I met Hannan, Aisha, Salah, Miftah, Sayf, Ruwayda. Summer nights, we talked with each other, shouting from the sootoohs (roof tops) of our houses. The unbearable heat and the low voltage at which no air-conditioning worked meant we would be sleeping there, just beneath the sky. I was never content as I was back then. I knew harshness, injustice and evil – Sarajevo was under siege, Libya was beneath a claw – still, I felt freedom within. Anguish would come like a sandstorm, usually in the late morning and it would completely disappear by the time we drank our afternoon tea.

Dictators are “for real”; an invariable circumstance that is an integral part of an individual plan. Unlike democratically elected presidents, who are just that: a choice on a piece of paper that we or Florida made, a topless man playing hoops or a stubborn cowboy, a long relationship that will end up with him moving out. Dictators are here to stay, to have and to hold, from forever to ever, for worse, for poorer, in sickness and in health. Until recently, this union might end with one becoming a dissident. Today, you can end it by become a revolutionary standing in a square or behind a machine gun. Even then, with everything at stake, the connection remains. It is not a type of Stockholm syndrome. Nothing like it! It is a weird lasting link built of conflicting emotions and memories that can be reduced to one sentence: all the people and things we loved and lost because of people we used to admire.

Sumeja Tulic is the senior contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in Sarajevo. She last wrote in these pages about the compound.

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In Which The Passion Of Anna Infects Our Various Cells

Invisible Ink

by ALEX CARNEVALE

The difference between a dated film and a timeless one is measured by the lengths of the skirts.

Irish hermits colonized Faro Island, halfway between modern day Norway and Iceland, in the eighth century. Ingmar Bergman shot The Passion of Anna there during the fall of 1969. Anna (Liv Ullman) appears almost out of nowhere in the film’s opening minutes, gripping a shabby cane and asking to make a call to Stockholm. Andreas (Max Von Syndow) forces himself to listen in on the conversation.

In his notes for the film, Bergman writes, “One morning I awakened and decided to abandon the story about the two sisters. It feels too large, too unwieldy and too uninteresting from a cinematic point of view.” Instead The Passion of Anna revolves around Andreas’ interest in two women, neither of whom he has any idea how to love.

Shortly after the introduction of Anna, we meet Eva (Bibi Andersson) who is her more desirable double. It is the performance of her unhappily married woman opposite Andreas that gives meaning to the entire film, for where Anna’s style is basically dated, Eva is disturbingly modern in contrast. “It is hard to realize one day that you’re meaningless,” she informs Andreas, inculcating his worst fears. After the overwhelming eroticism fades, both ourselves and Bergman’s hero are left with not very much. Therefore he looks to Anna.

Bergman hated the miniskirts that Bibi and Liv Ullman suggested their characters wear, but he gave into their instinct. “That misfortune was not noticeable then but revealed itself later,” he complains in Images, “like writing in invisible ink.” Miniskirts are the least of the horrors on the island, since such things come into fashion again. Elsewhere, eight sheep are mutilated and killed; an innocent man is pushed to suicide after he is accused of the crime. Andreas finds a dog almost dead by hanging and serves it milk, but he is fighting a losing battle against the universe. His despair is Bergman’s.

Between scenes of Andreas’ desolate hermit life on the island and his seduction of the women there, Bergman blends straightforward interviews with the actors about portraying their provincial characters. He later regretted including these departures, admitting “the interviews should have been cut out.”

Watching a documentary about a movie alongside the movie itself is not so nearly disorienting today, and it gives The Passion of Anna an inflated importance, making the film’s chaotic events seem to add up to more than they really do. The masterfully subtle performances Bergman receives from Von Sydow and Ullman further distract from the inadequacies of the script. The Passion of Anna is not near one of Bergman’s best films, but it is his messiest.

During the forty-five days it took to shoot The Passion of Anna, Bergman fought endlessly with his cinematographer, Sven Nyquist. Bergman felt he needed The Passion of Anna to be a success after the financial failure of Shame, and he was handicapped in his ambitions by the fact the screenplay he took to Faro Island was incomplete, comprised mainly of “moods.” Images finds Ingmar musing that “The Passion of Anna could have been a good film.”

It was their first color effort together, and although the natural light they received on the island is perfect, the final color of the film is disastrous, frequently displayed as overexposed and especially hard to look at in interior scenes. Sometimes this is intentional, as when infidelity occurs. Other times, the spectrum is simply chaotic. The Passion of Anna is one of Bergman’s only films to not rate highly in its overall presentation, suggesting why he was so frustrated by the process of filming it.

Faro Island for Bergman was a kind of hell, representing what he called a Kingdom of Death. Any tendency towards isolation, The Passion of Anna suggests, is self-annihilating. This anoints the present as a sincere improvement on the past, for the reason that we are all closer together now than we ever were. “You are scared,” Bergman writes, “when you have for a long time been sawing off the branch on which you sit.”

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording.

“Let It Die” – Sean Rowe (mp3)

“Colors and the Kids” – Sean Rowe (mp3)

In Which We Like All The Things That You Like

Hard to Say is This Recording’s weekly advice column. It will appear every Wednesday until the Earth perishes in a fiery blaze, or until North West turns 40. Get no-nonsense answers to all of your most pressing questions by writing to justhardtosay@gmail.com or by dropping us a note at our tumblr.

Hi,

My new boyfriend Keith is a great guy. He is very well-read, though and never lets you forget it. When he met my mom, he talked about Spenser for like fifteen minutes. Books are kind of his passion; often when we’re together he will read quietly for long periods. Sometimes this isn’t so bad – it’s better than hearing about Spenser, for example. But I’m starting to wonder if he maybe needs someone who shares his hobby. I like to read, but am I wrong to think this is extreme?

Jana S.

just plain afraid to fail

Dear Jana,

One person’s dream is usually someone else’s nightmare. Bradley Cooper talks about the theater all the time, a fact his previous girlfriend found dreadful and a situation which I assume was the thinspiration for your question.

In High Fidelity, Nick Hornby whined for upwards of thirty pages… wait, sorry I’m talking about a book. There was a movie, too. John Cusack was upset because his girlfriend, who weirdly never was in another movie after that, didn’t share his same hobbies. The odd part of it was his only discernible hobby was listening to music, which can be done conveniently during other activities, like protests against the police or masturbation.

It seems like if Keith takes the humblebragging too far in front of other people, there is a subtle way to reel him back in. Try these words, “Keith, wasn’t Spenser a murderer? No? I thought I read that. I refuse to read the words of murderers. Do you guys want to see that David Duchovny show about Charles Manson, or do you think it looks as fucking stupid as I do?” Problem solved.

As for the actual reading itself, just read the internet while he is doing this or watch The 100.

Hey,

Is total silence during an orgasm normal? It’s not a very gratifying absence of sound to hear.

Alexis T.

hard to say mia nguyen

Dear Alexis,

I have heard a variety of noises which sufficiently signify for orgasms. Here are some of the best and some of the worst.

Excellent: barking, meowing, reciting the Star Spangled Banner

Mediocre: singing, talking like Chappie, whistling

Pretty Bad: humming, whistling songs, doing that annoying heart-pounding thing from The Wolf of Wall Street

Horrendous: silence, talking about the perils of taxation, death

Encourage your partner to make all noises he wants. Most people learn to be quiet when they masturbate so as not to alert others to what they are doing, and bad habits stick around longer than good ones.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.

“Stone Flower” – Adam Beyer (mp3)

“That Would Be the Sun” – Adam Beyer (mp3)

In Which We Keep The Remnants Of Fate For Ourselves

Torture

by DAN CARVILLE

Here are the things we wanted to take with us:

– old drawings of cars if they were people

– photocopies of our hands on top of our hands

– the pluperfect, the pluperfect

– the same rock, close up, magnified, and then from the farthest distance

– triumvirate alliterations, like daddy daughter day or ravishing rick rude


– contact lenses that are no longer our prescription

– the tonality of light, daytime leaves like a bow…

– baseball cards, all the players had our same birthday. June babies, March misfits. I knew their poses.

– when he became Venom, how did it feel?

Here is what was better left in the old house, stacked next to the stairs like a rose bush too close to another.

– casseroles of double meaning

– unused stationary, the wrong address. Mailings and return to sender in those familiar printed letters.

– albums by the Police and Pink Floyd without that asshole Roger Waters

– helmets of the Spanish conquistadors

– assembling at dawn

– retrofitting porcelain tiles that did not resemble the brochure

– remember that time in Monterrey? She thought they were smoking menthol cigarettes.

– There is no point, no point at all in candles where we are headed.

–  Before the exit there’s a turn-off where you can see the whole town, Don’t stop there.

– I signed over the rights to this story, but I am not sure what we get in return, except a bib.

– The functions of things.

I sanded down two thin sticks of wood and placed them in my pencil case. It is a lot easier to get inside of a building if you have your lockpicks all squared away before then. They resemble cheap, finite creatures who barter for status. There is none of that here, in the world beyond the world.

From one vantage, the past radiates through each of us, humming like an air conditioner and bringing a more favorable complexion to view. I hate to mix metaphors, but someone very close to me had a cast on her leg, and she likened it to that. I sure don’t want to forget what happened – bad first dates, God in an oxygen tank. Writing her all those frantic letters that didn’t show enough of what they meant to display, which was this: my affection.

I glanced through what she had sent me. Corny bullshit mostly: playlists and cheap polaroids, postcards from Manila and Bangladesh. Her opinion of all the painters who had ever lived. Everyone else is sentimental. I used to wish I was like that, and my wish came true.

Dan Carville is the senior contributor to This Recording. He is a writer living in Los Angeles. You can find an archive of his writing on This Recording here.

Images by Los Carpinteros.

“Seven Hours” – The Helio Sequence (mp3)

“Phantom Shore” – The Helio Sequence (mp3)