Granta 136: Legacies of Love was a very eclectic composition of works centred around the central theme. I particularly enjoyed 'Whatever Happened to IGranta 136: Legacies of Love was a very eclectic composition of works centred around the central theme. I particularly enjoyed 'Whatever Happened to Interracial Love?', 'Potted Meat' and 'The Tenant', but the overall standouts were 'Raqqa Road: A Syrian Escape' and 'Africa's Future Has No Space for Stupid Black Men', which were both so moving in uniquely different ways.
Introduction - Sigrid Rausing “Love and pain, love and loss: the two are twinned. To know love is to know (or to imagine) the loss of love.”
“Love is haunted by loss; generosity is haunted by guilt.”
Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? - Kathleen Collins “Everyone who is anyone will find at least one ’negro’ to bring along home for dinner. It’s the year of ‘the human being’. It’s 1963: whatever happened to interracial love?”
“...to her the young freedom rider of her dreams is colorless (as indeed he is), that their feelings begin where color ends, (as indeed they must), that if only he could understand that race as an issue, race as a social factor, race as a political or economic stumbling block, race is part of the past. Can’t he see that love is color-free?”
“Negro’ sons went forth to the Woolworths and Grants and Grayhounds of America to prove to their fathers that they could eat and sit and ride as well in the front as in the back, as well seated as standing.”
“And what of love, instead of politics? What of that nubile fleeting sensation, when one is color-blind, religion-blind, name, age, aid, vital-statistics blind? What about the love of two ‘human beings’, who mate, in spite of or because of or instead of or after the fact of?”
The Tenant - Victor Lodato “She didn’t read much anymore, but she kept the books on her shelves. Occasionally she took one down and picked out a sentence – speaking it out loud, then swallowing it like a vitamin.”
“Harland shook his head, amazed that she’d somehow done it – improved him. Hell, she’d nearly made him beautiful.”
First Love - Gwendoline Riley “Oh well I’m not allowed an opinion you see, not having been to art school’, she said. ‘My opinion’s worthless apparently, so ... but I think they’re all crap, yes. Absolute crap, so ...”
The Price You See Reflects the Poor Quality of the Item and Your Lack of Desire for It – Melissa Lee-Houghton “...now I need to always risk losing something to feel safe.”
Raqqa Road: A Syrian Escape - Claire Hajaj “It’s a fatal human flaw; we burrow when we should flee, we cling to our homes until the last barrier is breached, until running is the only option left.”
Africa’s Future Has No Space for Stupid Black Men - Pwaangulongii Dauod “Tears taste like salt. Our tears. We are salts. Africa’s salt. And we are here shedding tears because we are trampled upon on every side. But these men don’t know this: that the more they trample upon us, the tastier we become.”
I was surprised that this issue of Granta did not have as profound an effect on me as some of the others, especially considering it contained quite aI was surprised that this issue of Granta did not have as profound an effect on me as some of the others, especially considering it contained quite a bit of fiction, which I prefer. I think the absence of an Introduction to tie all the pieces together from the start really impacted on my ability to enjoy this issue as a whole.
The Indian Uprising - Ann Beattie "There’s no copyright on titles,’ he said. ‘It wouldn’t be a good idea, probably, to call something “Death of a Salesman”, but you could do it."
"Paper is so sad. Every sheet, a thin little tombstone."
"...maybe I’ll write a story. A lot of people do that when they can’t seem to figure out who or what they love. It might be an oversimplification, but they seem to write poetry when they do know."
The Defeated - Jonny Steinberg "It has taken time, but they have learned. The earth beneath their feet does not belong to them. They step lightly upon it."
The Magic box - Olivia Laing "Between 1981 and 1996, when combination therapy became available, over 80,000 people died of Aids in New York City, most of them gay men, in conditions of the most horrifying ignorance and fear. Patients were left to die on gurneys in hospital corridors. Nurses refused to treat them, funeral parlours to bury their bodies. Politicians blocked funding and education, while public figures called for those with Aids to be tattooed with their infection status or quarantined on islands."
"Now answer me this: how do we begin to calculate what we have lost?"
Thank You for Having Me - Lorrie Moore "'Marriage is one long conversation,’ wrote Robert Louis Stevenson. Of course, he was dead at forty-four, so he had no idea how long it could really get to be."
"If you were alone when you were born, alone when you were dying, really absolutely alone when you were dead, why ‘learn to be alone’ in between?"
Please Tim Tickle Lana - Colin McAdam "Instead of focusing on language as something that distinguished me as a human, I started thinking about words as fists and caresses, fingers grooming and soothing."
"The further we get from having to find our own food, the less awareness we have of our nature."
Nudity - Norman Rush "The nudity of my parents did not assuage my ripening interest, but rather inflamed it. I wanted to see other naked female humans, and I wanted my father to keep his bathrobe on."
Birches “I’d like to get away from earth awhile And then come back to it and begin over. May no fate wilfully misunderstand me And half
Birches “I’d like to get away from earth awhile And then come back to it and begin over. May no fate wilfully misunderstand me And half grant what I wish and snatch me away Not to return. Earth’s the right place for love: I don’t know where it’s likely to go better. I’d like to go by climbing a birch tree, And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more, But dipped its top and set me down again.”
The Road Not Taken "Two Roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry i could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth"
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference."
The Sound of Trees "I shall set forth for somewhere, I shall make the reckless choice Some day when they are in voice And tossing so as to scare The white clouds over them on. I shall have less to say, But I shall be gone."
The Tuft of Flowers "I looked for him behind an isle of trees; I listened for his whetstone on the breeze. But he had gone his way, the grass all mown, And I must be, as he had been,--alone, As all must be,' I said within my heart, Whether they work together or apart."
“I wrote because of their inability to nurture me. I wrote to conceal the truth that life was filled with pain and that true beauty co
“I wrote because of their inability to nurture me. I wrote to conceal the truth that life was filled with pain and that true beauty could only come from that pain. I wrote to simply disguise that pain.”
“And now that this body is gone and has been returned to the Earth, I assure everyone that psychic energy doesn’t die, it is recycled throughout the universe and will out live anything that we do as living beings. Flesh will decay, ideas won’t as long as you believe in them and someone believes in you.”
“My thoughts are with you all. Forever conscious of the vast, absurd universe and writing my eternal story I shall remain dead, but dreaming.”
“I cry as the laughter inside me drowns and descends into the water with the ghosts of our union.”
“I want to towel off, leave my heart on this beach and walk the sand into a lake of stars, while never looking back.”
“And like my comrades, I too have tasted the bittersweet assurance that I would be okay with myself. And like so many others out there, I have given that dream away to the wind and its power over the trees.”
“For this nirvana, I willingly give in to the numbness of my wrist.”
“I cry often. I cry and cleanse my face with my tears and swim to the center of it all. A center that I have written about a thousand times, forever etched into the porcelain.”
“Her eyes burn like a match head striking my flesh with ferocity and precision to ignite the night with a divinorum induced dream.”
“Then, only then would she realize that the life that she created will extinguish with nothing to offer but the sorrow that she harvested in our souls and the holes that she dug in our hearts.”
“Sometimes at night when the moon is almost full and my hands go numb from writing, I cleanse myself of her poisoned love. I welcome the water, the inevitability of death and embrace the long painful road out of love.”
“Blood and wine are interchangeable. Love and hate are unrecognizable. Sanity is no longer with me.”
“I kiss the soil as if it is the last time I will recognize the beauty she has given the trees.”
“Caress me sister wind and stop this hate.”
“I sense him smiling and laughing and looking at me with eyes of a thousand aborted children coming back to rightfully claim their life, to claim the earth.”
“I spread my fingers outward, letting the knife tip of my middle finger rip the sky as it tares a rift in the moon.”
“And if I consume another mortal’s flesh, will I like god before me, shit a million stars upon the naked, wretched sky?”
“Out here, the open night is my church, the trees are my congregation, the stars are my angels and the moon is the only god that I know.”
“And I would give my self to this light just to have my brother and mother by each other’s side. I would swim back to the ocean and birth a creature of acceptance; I would if it let me. I would give it all away.”
“I would give my lungs to the fish so that they may rise out of the water and feel the wind.”
“I would give my heart to the religious so that they may realize that god hates us all.”
“Leave me to die a lonely death. An artist’s death. A writer’s playground. A painter’s background. A philosopher’s bread and butter. An endeavor that we all face. I just hope that I’m not the only one there.”
“The moon makes love to the ocean and in this holy conception it gives birth to a little tide.”
“I’ll search and I’ll find her again even if I have to swim in my own tears.”
“I rise from the moist crevice of thought, I beat on the shores of her holy body, I fall from the sky in silver sheets of sadness. Rise onto me my precious sun.”
“Sadness is a moment in which the world took something from you. Depression is a lifetime of torment no matter what is said or done.”
“We make our own music. We paint our own future.”
“A good student learns from his teacher. A great student learns to teach himself.”
“Because without the lows, the highs would seem pointless.”
“We learn that all life is scarce yet abundant. Profane yet sacred. Loving yet hateful. Enlightened yet obscured. Isolated yet collective. That life is somehow derived from love.”