Tuesday, August 25th, 2009
22

The Hot New Mary Gaitskill Game Sweeping the Country

CATSLots of people are playing a little game this week-you can play along at home, it's easy! The game is called: On Which Page Of Mary Gaitskill's Nutty Memoir About Her Lost Cat And Everything Else Will You Start Weeping? It's not a fun game but here we are in the hot lonely wasteland of the end of August, so what else do we have? Also it helps if you have ever met the lady herself. Last I saw her was in the downstairs lobby of Carnegie Hall's Zankel auditorium. She looked pretty much like a witch who'd just come out of the woods; indeed, she had just come back from a mistaken trip to Yaddo or somewhere, and it was like she was in a psychic bubble, privately living out a hybrid of her own private Kate Bush video and The Blair Witch Project. Anyway! See if you can make it past page three, which includes the line: "I said I had fallen in love with the cat, and that I was afraid that by exposing him to human love I had awakened in him a love that was unnatural and perhaps too big for him." Or you know… the dreaded page 4, in which The Fresh Air Fund is introduced!

22 Comments / Post A Comment

I don't know, I was sad until she went to the pet psychic and (to use a phrase) that was when I clicked close tab.

BlinkyMcChuck (#202)

That is the Escape to Witch Mountain part! Go back! Read it!

skybarn (#304)

Try sitting in a classroom with her as a teacher for four months. If she didn't like a story, she would turn you into a frustrated accountant.

OMG. I BET. I cannot imagine actually! TELL.

skybarn (#304)

I think sigerson is pretty precise when saying it was like a performance art piece which is possibly the worst thing in the world to be subjected to when you're just trying to get feedback for one of your crappy little stories. I was a pretty shitty writer then, but her feedback on stories was ridiculously not helpful. This was in Houston, and she didn't have a car, which would be fine in any other fucking city, but meant that she needed to bum rides from students. I actually heard a verbatim speech from her Charlie Rose appearance. She actually wrote me a rec for grad school but made me pay by calling my house and asking if I was leaving threatening phone calls for her. None of this has anything to do with her writing by the way, which is objectively great but gives me anti-Proustian flashbacks.

OH MAN.I sort of love her helpless shtick? Which is also alternately TOTALLY annoying.

sigerson (#179)

Yes! I did give her rides in Houston. I recall that now that you mention it. Very Blance Dubois is Mary, always relying on the kindness of strangers. Did I mention I love her? Did she awaken in me a love that was unnatural and perhaps too big for me?

sigerson (#179)

When I was getting my MFA, I took a seminar from Mary and loved it. It was like a performance art piece or an avant-garde rendition of "teaching" from a personal stance. I love her slavishly and unreservedly.

BlinkyMcChuck (#202)

I loved this slavishly and unreservedly. Things like this: "…on receiving a photo he said that yes, he definitely had my cat. He went on to say that, like me, he had fallen in love with Gattino and taken him home to Nigeria, but if only I would send the airfare, he would return my darling. Upon Googling the first few lines of ‘Samuel’s’ note, I found an outraged warning about him from someone who had paid the fee and never saw her cat."

skybarn (#304)

I have never told the world this. I feel naked and alone. Also, hungry.

Let's snack together then.

Nothing will ever match Gina Gershon's concept album on her search for her missing cat. Nothing.

grandpa27 (#804)

One reason to keep pets is to experience death up close. To harden us to the reality. Sorrow is not easily overcome.

zidaane (#373)

purgatory- "When I die I want to be reborn as Mary's cat"

berthamason (#740)

Here is sort of the quick digest version of the same piece:

http://www.oprah.com/article/omagazine/200810_omag_love_gaitskill

jennie (#25)

oh, good god. that destroyed me,

bennimaddi (#314)

this is probably revealing way too much of myself (and keep in mind that i had basically not slept for 24 hours before reading the thing) but for me the line was: "If gentleness can be brutish, cruelty can sometimes be so closely wound in with sensitivity and gentleness that the cruel one winds up deforming and humiliating his own soul.
:'(

Emily (#20)

Ok well I had slept 9 hours, and I started crying when the cat started speaking to her via their psilink — "I'm afraid," "I'm lonely" etc — and did not stop until the final message which, oh god, I might start crying again just thinking about it. RAFFLES! COME TO ME!

zidaane (#373)

My mother used to yell at me through the heating ducts. When I get a my first message from the other side I'm expecting it to come from a return vent.

skybarn (#304)

Is this story the new "Little Nell?"

Grillin Ferengi (#1,419)

oh no! she looked something up in the dictionary!

vespavirgin (#1,422)

The Mary/Gattino dream convos reminded me too much of when the dinosaurs show up at the window in "The Skin of Our Teeth," begging to come inside.

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