Collaborate2011

Windowing, Again, Katherine Sanders

In Katherine Sanders, nonfiction, poetry on July 17, 2011 at 9:00 am

I was thinking about you today in your new apartment with its fresh white bedroom. Does it still smell like paint and hum with your neighbors’ air conditioners? You said you’re living with a stand-up comedian. I sometimes wonder whether comedians are as funny in person as they are on stage; I’m sure there’s a lot of pressure being a comedian in the off-hours, like at parties where people find out you’re a comedian and expect you to be funny on the spot all the time, as though it’s your job. Anyway, I was thinking about that time we got biscuits and gravy in New York and talked about influences. About how when you’re putting something together, you choose who to invite to the table (and by table I mean page) with you. You talked about how in your research you can’t invite every theorist to go to dinner (metaphorically speaking) with you. So you invite the people you would most like to talk to about your specific questions. I’ve had questions come up in my writing lately and its been helpful to think about American writers who lived in Paris, in particular Stein, Wright, and Baldwin, who as much as I’d like to picture them happy and out on the town of Parisian night life, and though I’m sure came to Paris at least in part for the glamour, came to Paris mostly to leave the America that wouldn’t accept them. I came to Paris under very different circumstances of course, and it’s a different time, even if it is the same place. But I’m thinking about what these writers created and what I find myself still searching for: community. I’ve been finding it in small pieces, which is, I realize now, why I’ve been writing in small pieces. Today you’re a part of that community for me. And yesterday reading one of V.S. Naipaul’s essays about how every culture must be written about in its own way, was another one of those pieces. I can’t write about Paris like a Parisian, only like an American in Paris glancing backward toward home and inward toward what I think I see.

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