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Tome On The Range

Short Fiction: From Lucy K Shaw's 'The Motion'
Karl Smith , April 5th, 2015 11:34

Published earlier this week by 421 Atlanta, this week's new writing is delivered in the shape of a short story from Lucy K Shaw's The Motion

I Like to be in the Sea for That Reason, I Think

1. Five years ago, on my 22nd birthday, a friend sent me ‘The Easter Parade’ by Richard Yates in the mail. I had read his two short story collections, ‘Liars in Love’ and ‘Eleven Kinds of Loneliness’ two summers previously, but she didn’t know this, I don’t think. She had just read a lot of American fiction and had a good sense for what I might like too.

2. Those are the best titles though.

3. Liars in Love

4. Eleven Kinds of Loneliness

5. I have always been, I feel, the worse friend in that particular friendship. So many of my emails started, ‘I’m sorry it took me so long to respond,’ that eventually, I just stopped responding altogether.

6. Gabby recently read ‘The Easter Parade’ and we talked at length one time about how the main character, Emily Grimes, is basically just Richard Yates, as a woman. Gabby had read an interview in which Richard Yates said something like, ‘Emily fucking Grimes, that’s me.’

7. Whenever we have a conversation about writing characters who are very similar to ourselves, Gabby quotes, ‘Emily fucking Grimes, that’s me’ and I laugh and I say, ‘Yeah. Well, yeah, exactly.’

8. Emily Fucking Grimes, that’s me.

9. There’s a section in ‘The Easter Parade’ where Emily Fucking Grimes goes to live in Iowa with a bad poet who takes himself too seriously. I don’t remember too much about that part of the book except it seemed quite good at first and then soon enough, she was miserable. Also I can recall, vaguely, the layout of the house they lived in.

10. If Gabby and I went to live in Iowa, we wouldn’t write books about ourselves thinly-veiled as male characters.

11. I feel at my best when I can see very far in every direction.

12. The first line of ‘The Easter Parade’ is, ‘Neither of the Grimes sisters would have a happy life.’ The first line.

13. We have resolved, like most sensible people, to read more books actually written by women.

The Motion is out now, published by 421 Atlanta.

Lucy K Shaw is the author of The Motion (421 Atlanta, 2015) and the founding editor of Shabby Doll House. She lives in Berlin.