“I love you so much I want you to eat my organs. Forks and knives are in the top drawer, Sue.” The sentiment is so strange that I can’t help but want to know what Dickinson could have possibly written to provoke such a “translation.” In this case, it was:
My Heart upon a little Plate
Her Palate to delight
A Berry or a Bun, would be,
Might it an Apricot!
I had always suspected that Emily was a little twisted.
The hiving off of “fantasy” in bookshops is, and always has been, a nonsense. After all, who wrote about witches, monsters and spells? Homer. Who wrote about fairies, wizards and ghosts? Shakespeare. Zombies can be as serious as any Caliban or Poseidon.
And in the hands of Atwood and Alderman, I’m sure they will be.
Bookstores require a sometimes uncomfortable, sometimes even annoying amount of humility from their patrons. As a veteran bookstore owner once indiscreetly confided to me: “We do this for the books, not for the customers.”
The books can’t take care of themselves, after all.
“The past is not dead. Actually, it’s not even past. You know who said that? Faulkner. And he was right.”
And you know what else? Because I said that, the folks who represent him are going to sue me for violating copyright someday.