Literarisches Events (in and around Lawrence KS)

  • TIM LANTZ, BECKY MANDELBAUM & TED KRITIKOS, Lawrence. Thursday, August 28, 7:00 p.m. Raven Bookstore, 6 E. 7th St.
  • DENNIS ETZEL, JR. & RACHEL CROSS. Lawrence. Thursday, September 25, 7:00 p.m., Raven Bookstore, 6 E. 7th St.
  • TONY TRIGILIO. Lawrence. Thursday, Oct. 2, 4:00 p.m., English Room, Kansas Union, KU Campus. FREE.
  • CALEB PUCKETT & JUSTIN RUNGE. Lawrence. Thursday, October 16, 7:00 p.m., Raven Bookstore, 6 E. 7th St.
  • KRISTIN LOCKRIDGE & ROBERT DAY. Lawrence. Thursday, December 4, 7:00 p.m., Raven Bookstore, 6 E. 7th St.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

More on oldness (and me)

I should say, in re: my post in re: Old Women Look Like This, by Susan M. Schultz that my remarks are colored by these factors:

- I've been visiting our next door neighbor, who is dying of cancer, in a nursing home recently, and I haven't been in one for a while;

- I have a father who is 83 and - knock wood - lucid, healthy, and mobile (for now);

- I am not getting any younger and have yet to fully come to terms with that fact.

I think that, if I see the chapbook as being tragic, rather than - what? - a romance? - then it probably has as much to do with me as with it. It also has to do with the fact that the chapbook asks us to take in a lot of people at a glance - so the full force of dementia in its many permutations hits one all at once. In this respect, the work is different than the same author's Dementia Blog (Singing Horse Press, 2008), which chronicles her mother's decline into Alzheimer's (and her own responses, in historical context) - backwards, in good blog (and dementia) fashion. The upshot is that the change, while already an accomplished fact, is revealed more gradually - and we focus on one sufferer in greater detail. Moreover, the loss only becomes fully apparent at the end.

But I still think that the power of Old Women comes from its unwillingness to try to give a happy ending to a process that resists it - a rare resistance to the forced optimism of American culture.

1 comment:

Susan M. Schultz said...

Thanks, Joe. I wonder about the ending, the "forced optimism of American culture," which is a very true statement. Are there not other endings that are not happy or sad, per se, but that simply take in what is and honor it as such? What bothered me about some of the pieces that came out of children's stories, is that the narrative was so explicitly fictional to begin with that to have them contain the stories of Alzheimer's patients simply tweaked the fiction . . . anyway, I feel my own blog post coming on--aloha, Susan