Burial Hits the Beach
My first book, Burial, is now available from Tarpaulin Sky Press, just in time for summer vacation!
Set in the mind of a narrator who is grieving the loss of her father, who conflates her hotel room with the morgue, and who encounters characters that may or may not exist, Burial is a little novel about an immeasurable black hole. The book grapples with ontology and trades plot for ambience; the result is a lyrical elegy with no small amount of rot and vomit and ghosts.
You can read a review of the book at Publishers Weekly and learn more about its portability at PW’s Best Summer Books 2013 list.
Burial is available from Small Press Distribution or directly from Tarpaulin Sky Press. (It’s also on Amazon.)
Also available from TSky are three new books by David Wolach, Joyelle McSweeney, and Johannes Goransson, all of which of which were thoughtfully edited by the inimitable Christian Peet, and all of which I highly recommend.
Stay tuned at my website for details about a New York launch and book tour.
Thanks for all of your support, and enjoy your summer reading!
Greetings! I have a new website. It contains downloadable writing, audio, a goofy picture I drew, a teaching portfolio, and so forth. Also, I am now blogging upside-down at http://clairedonato.tumblr.com. Come say hey.
If you’re here via my new website for my old school yoga-related writing, you’ll have to click back into the archives a bit. (Musings from my summer 2011 stay at the Millay Colony come after the yoga writing and thus appear before it here.) “What you need to know” about the yoga-related writing is that it takes place during a teacher training in spring 2011; at this time, I am conscious of the fact I am about to lose my beloved social justice teaching job (thanks to the federal government). Happy (or not-so-happy, but consequential nevertheless) reading.
Yesterday, I placed half an autumn leaf underneath the ‘X’ of twigs I left on Edna St. Vincent Millay’s grave. I placed the second half under an acorn on Norma Millay Ellis’s grave. Then I made a wish. Sometimes, you have to trust in luck.
I ran along a new long road yesterday, taking a small break from East Hill Road, the road I always take. I avoided the new road for days due a gnarly-looking hill that, against my body, at once felt daunting and good. The road curved up and wound around itself like a corkscrew worm, and when I reached a certain point (I hesitate to write the word ‘peak’), the view looked like this, only greener and more blue.
I did not see a car or person the entire time. The flowers by the road were overgrown and pink. After some time of feeling ‘at peace,’ ‘composed,’ and ‘serene,’ my mind turned toward the thought of my dead body, bloody in the flowers. At which point I turned around, ran back down the road, and thought to myself: I have been reading too many books.
It looked like this; now there is rain. The rain is an obstacle, or it is not. It complements Virginia Woolf’s The Waves, a cyclical reality whose language I coil around, twist around, wind around: ‘Now I will wrap my agony inside my pocket-handkerchief. It shall be screwed tight into a ball.’
I read The Waves with my head’s pair of globular organs. I read Solaris with my soft, nervous tissue, and its massive id ocean is incomparable to the rain. Easy Travel to Other Planets is stored inside my mind as a mood, a steady light that illuminates the image of a dolphin blanketed in blue.
Pictured here are gardens, hot-baked in the sun, tough and bright orange. As I look from the window, I see another garden where purple cabbage grows. I think to myself: It is hackneyed to say writing takes place from a window. Yet I acknowledge my impulse to say this in much the same way I acknowledge the artificiality of my lyricism, which does not reflect my speech.
Projected Twin Peaks against a wall in the main building on the night of the full moon. One day, my log will have something to say about this.
A family of frogs now lives in the pool where Edna St. Vincent Millay’s pool parties took place. These pool parties were affairs requiring no clothing, unless one wanted a drink at the bar: then one would retreat into the changing stall and dress.
The following is a list of things to do in Austerlitz, NY, besides read and write: Go running to the pool; go running to Vincent’s pile of gin (which also includes Clorox bottles and other miscellaneous trash); go running to the end of East Hill Road (both ways); talk to fellow residents; Skype with JJ, Brix, and your mother; practice yoga: twists, arm balances, and inversions; pick and press brightly colored flowers in a book; nap on the floor in-between chapters (both written and read); decorate walls with images from old books, quotations, and mail received; sample bug sprays; sunblock your tattoo, shoulders, and face; tour the estate; drive to Chatham (3x) and the post office (1x); watch Bluebeard (2009), Twin Peaks (1990-91), and videos on YouTube; help bake cookies (peanut butter, chocolate chip); look at the stars; look at the burial sites and endless, open fields, seeing for miles; survey the woods for deer; survey the sky for saucers: pretend you’re in a sci-fi book; browse shitty jobs on craigslist; drink coffee and wine — contort your consciousness — and dream of a world in which the place where you live is ½ the way it already is, and ½ this.
Some days I go for runs along the Poetry Trail, a trail in the woods lined with poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay. I listen to songs like ‘These Days,’ ‘Lover’s Spit,’ and ‘Orange Juice,’ and, as I run, I secretly wish to see deer. I go running when I need to think about my book, my ever-expanding book which is advancing both nowhere and somewhere. If questions comes up — and they do — movement usually provides an answer: I take notes as I run, then return to my little (big) room in the barn, write, and practice balancing upside-down.
Animals I have seen include: frogs, butterflies, hummingbirds, a dead mouse, &c. Two days ago, a green garden snake crossed my path. According to the Internet, this is a symbol of healing.
Most days, however, I write until my back is sore and my mind is spun inside-out and I have imaginary carpal tunnel syndrome. Then I write more.
Two days ago, I toured the house where Edna St. Vincent Millay lived until her death in 1950. Everything in the house is exactly the way it was the day she died, our docent said. Then he opened the front door and called out her name: ‘Vincent, you have visitors.’
All About Pittfield (1981) is an exciting, fast-moving game for the the entire family. The objective of the game is this: acquire the items on your shopping list from an assortment of local businesses. Along the way, gather travel cards, surprise cards, and paper money.
‘Preservation’ is a word that means ‘to keep.’ The bedspread in Edna St. Vincent Millay’s bedroom is the color of white blossoms. If you look closely, you will notice a stain. All About Pittsfield (1981) contains sheets of perforated coupons that were never torn away. Now the businesses are ghosts.