Sunday 14 July 2019

Catherine Lacey, Certain American States

I've really been enjoying Catherine Lacey's short story collection. 

There are times when what you get out of a story is that it teaches you something or you gain access to an emotional perspective that is so different from you own, you get to temporarily inhabit a life so unfamiliar and insightful. Other times, you relish in your identification with a character, relating to a story, situation or feeling that results in a deep comfort that your feelings and experiences are not alien or known only to you. 

Reading this story made me feel something rather new: a relatability so profound and exact, that it was not comforting at all, but deeply disturbing and disruptive, as if to have it on paper, even written by someone else, might realise fears or anxieties that you work to daily dissuade yourself from. As if, to read something so acute to your own lived emotional terror might destabilise all efforts to convince yourself over and over again that your tendencies are irrational: somehow, someone else knowing this fear, could make it real. Similarly as the below quote insinuates about your mind causing something into being, stories have the capacity to destabilise you: even someone else putting your fear on their paper could make it possible for your own life to enact their fiction. 

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