Posts tagged emily carter
Getting Rid of Some
by Zan Romanoff
J was a curly-haired sophomore who drove what we called the party car: whenever he showed up he would unload an enormous duffel bag of hookahs and weed and terrible alcohol, for some reason usually electric blue bottles of Alizé. There were other drugs, too, but I didn’t partake so I couldn’t tell you what all he provided. It was never clear to me where it all came from, how my prep school classmates scored their ‘shrooms, E, coke and meth, or who met the actual drug dealers so that my friends could distribute in the parking lot before first period.
J’s parents found out about his habits and the company he was keeping and sent him off to boot camp rehab out in Utah, which sounded like it was as much a scared straight punishment program as it was treatment for any actual substance abuse issues.
After J went other classmates peeled away in short order, five or ten more pulled from class mid-week, leaving us with rumor and speculation: he was in the psych ward at UCLA before they would let him get on a plane; she was doing heroin in her bedroom by the time her parents figured it out. These rumors ought to have served as cautionary tales, but seventeen year olds experimenting with hard drugs are not exactly looking for the lesson in things. It seemed like every time one of them went, those who remained would redouble their efforts, hellbent on proving to everyone just how untouchable they were.
The Same Situation
By Sari Botton
I got a nice email from Emily (Gould) the other day about my conversation with Emily Carter, published as part of a series I write for The Rumpus. She said she wished the piece had been longer, and I immediately regretted two choices I had made.
The first was not pursuing further with Carter the subject of addiction to male approval and attention. We touched on it briefly at the beginning of our talk.
I told her that when I read the opening lines of “The Bride,” – “It may seem, by now, that males have always had incredible power over me, even more than over the average PWV, which stands for Person With A Vagina, the first of many acronyms in an initial-cluttered life.” – I wanted to both laugh and cry (urges that continued throughout the piece, and the rest of the collection). This has been the “Red Thread” running through my history, too, this feeling that without boys’/men’s love, “I had no power.” Of course, that is not vaguely original. This illness, while hopefully curable, is pretty much epidemic in our culture.
What Glory Gets
As the title suggests, Glory “gets” things. She gets more punishments than prizes, though, and together her list of experiential acquisitions is long: She gets expelled from all the good schools in New York City. She gets thrown out of CBGB (literally). She gets “dope-sick.” She gets fucked in the ass by guys whose last names she doesn’t know. She gets HIV. She gets sent to rehab in Minnesota. She gets sober. She gets married.
It’s only those last three events—and only in retrospect— that lend Glory’s life any appearance of ascent, and even those come with a lot of caveats. Glory Goes and Gets Some is, I guess, a success story, but it’s hardly redemptive.
Elisa A. on Glory B.
a little appreciation from Elisa Albert
These stories have the self-satisfied fierce unflinching ha-ha-ha-oh-I’m-going-to-kill-myself quality of having been written very, very late at night, probably almost dawn. Glory in all her hilarious bleak alcoholic junkie glory is unsustainable, of course, even if she is a crazy fucking joy to read, so the bulk of the book is like a rough come down, this infinitely challenging detox parallel. Which is as it should be, yes, sure, no question. And yet. That fucked up girl prowling neighborhoods her great-grandfather worked his whole life to get his family out of, well. If a more luminous shameless wretched delight exists in literature, I haven’t met her.
Anyway, she survives, she recovers, she is worse for the wear, and she endures. There is actual redemption in this book. Actual redemption, people! Come and get it! Weird redemption. Redemption so complex and sad it might not even seem much like redemption at all. But oh-ho, believe it.
She’s a special one, our Glory B. A seer. She’s like the love child of Elliott Smith and Kristin Hersh but brasher, untouchable. Nick Flynn’s twisted sister. It’s like Bob Dylan sang to me this morning: “She’s got everything she needs, she’s an artist, she don’t look back. She’s got everything she needs, she’s an artist, she don’t look back. She can take the dark out of the nighttime and… paint the daytime black.”
God, it’s so much more difficult to talk about something I love, something precious and valuable. Absurdly hard. Shit I hate, I could go on all day (ask me about obstetrics!). But awed and inspired, words fail. Hey, this is the best book ever, seriously, you have to read it, you’ll be so happy, it’s so good, if you care about anything at all just read it we can shake our heads at each other and say nothing, okay?
buy it here
No Hierarchy of Pain
by Sady Doyle
Emily Carter spends a lot of time, in Glory Goes and Gets Some, playing with ideas about who has the right to pain. I suspect that inside many of us there’s a voice that says me, I’m the one with the problems, pay attention to me, along with a conviction that we will lose out if we’re not the saddest person in the room. Carter actually invites you to do this. She pushes your buttons, pisses you off, gets you to actively dislike her protagonist Glory until finally she turns around and slaps you full force with what Glory’s been through.
Glory is holding a good hand in this particular game. She’s been beaten by her first husband, been addicted to several controlled and uncontrolled substances, been fucked cruelly to pay for them, been diagnosed with HIV, been put through rehab, and has lost New York and an “intellectual” family and a punk rock lifestyle, in favor of a recovery-centric existence in the Midwest. These are serious problems. If you were foolish enough to get into a competition with Glory, over who had the most serious problems, you might lose.
What You Deserve
I didn’t expect to recognize myself in a short story collection that centers on an HIV-positive ex-heroin addict who moves to Minnesota to get her body clean and her life in order. I own a lot of skirts that hit below the knee and the only thing I’ve ever really been addicted to is other people’s approval.
Emily Carter knows what it’s like, whatever “it” is. She knows the sweet seduction of willed failure, the feeling that makes you want to “go have a drink, or … eat an entire Philadelphia cheesecake, which will make it impossible to think about anything but [your] intestines for the next three hours,” immediately after meeting someone accomplished. She knows that “There is no man anywhere so psychotic, so drunk, so evil, so helpless, so brutal, indifferent, or even just annoying that some woman somewhere won’t keep him warm even if she freezes to death doing it, just for a chance to wipe away the invisible tears she thinks she sees on his face, like clear ice on a cold windowpane.” She knows that this is especially true if other people are helpfully pointing out that there are, really, no tears. Glory says, “But I didn’t want to get what I deserved. Who does?”