This week's Member Pick comes from Antonia Crane
, the Los Angeles-based writer whose work for The Rumpus
has been featured on Longreads in the past. We're excited to feature "Yellow," a story about her relationship with her mother, about stripping, and about loss. The piece will be published in Black Clock #17
, due out this summer, and it's adapted from her forthcoming book Spent
. Thanks to Antonia and Black Clock for letting us share this story with our members.
Support Longreads—and get more stories like this—by becoming a member for just $3 per month.
PUBLISHED: April 18, 2013
LENGTH: 11 minutes (2959 words)
The writer pays a visit to a friend:
"I visit him on Tuesday nights at the only time they’ll let me see him. I show the receptionist my driver’s license, confirm my social security number and home address, and sign my name on a dotted line.
"'Relationship?' I’m always asked.
"'Friend,' I always say.
"The woman—it is the same woman every time—looks, at first, disinterested. She doesn’t even bother to raise her head. She types my name into her computer—click click, click click—but when she finds me, her face lights up.
"'Oh, there you are,' she says, smiling, as if it’s possible I’ve disappeared."
PUBLISHED: Feb. 1, 2013
LENGTH: 13 minutes (3445 words)
The Eat, Pray, Love
author talks to the Lucky Peach
editor about how she became a writer, and the key to creativity:
"I was just so committed, and I did have six years of rejection letters. And it really didn’t break my heart. Some of them made me really excited because some of them had little handwritten notes at the bottom. Pretty good, but not our thing
. And I was like, I got a really great handwritten note from Harper’s!
And I would hang it on my wall, like, That’s such a great rejection letter!
I don’t know why I felt like I had the right to do it. I don’t know. I’ve always been really surprised—and I really remain very surprised—at people who don’t think they have the right to do their work, or feel like they need a permission slip from the principal to do it, or who doubt their voice. I’m always like, What? What? Fucking do it! Just fucking do it!
What’s the worst that could happen?! You fucking fail! Then you do it again and you wear them down and they get sick of rejecting you. And they get tired of seeing your letters and they just give up. They don’t have any choice. So part of it was real confidence, and part of it was fake confidence, and part of it was insecurity. It was a combination of all them."
PUBLISHED: Nov. 1, 2012
LENGTH: 40 minutes (10118 words)
A writer examines issues of racism he witnessed while growing up in Waterloo, Iowa, and running a grocery store with his father:
"When I went back for an event for my college fraternity, I introduced myself to one of the new guys, my brother who is the first 'black guy' in my fraternity. When I asked him where he was from, he said, 'From South America originally.' I laughed and said, 'No, I meant where from in the US—St. Louis, Kansas City?' The suburban kid from St. Louis didn’t want to be considered 'African American.' For him, being South American was a safer play in a predominately white fraternity.
"I’ve wondered whether an African American would have gotten a small business loan like my father did.
"In 1989 when the movie came out, a reporter asked Spike Lee a question about what viewers 'should learn' from Do The Right Thing. Lee smiled and quipped that maybe black folks should be able to get financing to run their own pizzerias."
PUBLISHED: Sept. 26, 2012
LENGTH: 12 minutes (3032 words)
A son attempts to get an unpublished manuscript of Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle for his dying mother, an avid science fiction and fantasy reader:
"Mom is completely nonplussed. I am a little hurt, but then I realize I haven’t seen Mom once the past several weeks with her hands on a paperback or her Kindle.
"I decide that if things come through with the Paolini book—and I spend a lot of time thinking about this, more time than I probably should, because it’s an easy and hopeful thing to think about—I will read it to her myself. Out loud, while she lies in bed too weak to hold the pages up in her hands. When my grandfather was dying of pancreatic cancer, my aunt rubbed lotion into the cracked skin on his feet. She guided a straw from a glass of ice water to his lips. I imagine my reading to Mom will be just like performing these tasks, only different."
PUBLISHED: Aug. 20, 2012
LENGTH: 10 minutes (2690 words)
A man copes with the loss of his wife:
"Say, for argument’s sake, we hire the car that morning and drive to Busteni, or take the train instead. Say the rental agent is not sick. We are his only business, valued customers in fact, for whom he has a late 90s Peugeot gassed up and ready to go. We make good time out of Bucharest, past the abandoned industrial parks and new farms, and arrive quickly to Busteni. We ride the cable car up the mountain, take photographs under the white cross at the top, poke around a bit. We find an easy day hike across the ridge and back, eat lunch, drink our celebratory beers on the porch outside the basement of the hostel.
"We say that it was good to get out of the city and away from our routines. We should do this more often. On the ride down the mountain, we tell our friend about our weekend in Cali Manesti, for Katie’s birthday, how we hiked near the sulfur springs and got lost in the farm where I surrendered my shoe to a manure pile. Coming down the mountain, the cable car clicks and swings, and stops for a while over the deep valley to wait out the high wind, but it starts again. We do not travel to Busteni three months later. Katie does not die on the ridge of that mountain on a Saturday in late June. The ridge is not made sacred by her violent death. A bear crosses the ridge that day and attacks no one. Instead, that afternoon in March, we cross Busteni off of our list. There are other parts of Romania to visit that summer, for my birthday, before we leave the country for good."
PUBLISHED: July 13, 2012
LENGTH: 16 minutes (4001 words)
A woman confronts memories of abuse:
"When I was little, I thought the word was 'rake.' I imagined a man standing over a woman, in a pile of leaves. He dragged a rake over her naked body. I imagined it happening in my own back yard. Now, as an adult, I’m not sure that this image is entirely incorrect.
"How it begins: I am 18. I am 6 hours from home. I am in a relationship with my childhood best friend. I am nervous."
PUBLISHED: June 14, 2012
LENGTH: 15 minutes (3751 words)
On boxer Manny Pacquiao and gay marriage:
"It’s here at this church that Manny Pacquiao comes to pray after his fights. He kneels down and gives thanks. In that same way we knelt with a rosary all day when my kuya died of AIDS. All day for seven days, with lots of food, and lots of prayers, on your knees everyday. It’s what we do when someone dies. I heard that a woman had a pin in one of her knees and couldn’t kneel and I pictured a sewing needle stuck there and I silently wished to get pricked by that same needle— because I couldn’t see how what I was doing there in that church was helping any of us out there on the dirt—in the land, on the fields with the farmers, and the trash heaps, and the kids with the little blue-brown faces left by the chapel, or the boys, with their bloodied underpants and soiled shorts, and all the musk from all the work, and the distant gaze from all the glue. How was this rosary tending to this life?"
PUBLISHED: June 11, 2012
LENGTH: 7 minutes (1951 words)