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13

Escape from the Tropic of Squalor

4
terms
5
notes

leaving TX for CA as a teenager, college & beginning to write, applying for grad school

Karr, M. (None). Escape from the Tropic of Squalor. In Karr, M. Lit. None, pp. 13-70

(noun) a thick scar resulting from excessive growth of fibrous tissue

14

no keloid scars from boiling water

—p.14 by Mary Karr
uncertain
2 years, 4 months ago

no keloid scars from boiling water

—p.14 by Mary Karr
uncertain
2 years, 4 months ago
19

But I rounded each corner believing rescue would show up. [...]

(What hurts so bad about youth isn't the actual butt whippings the world delivers. It's the stupid hopes playacting like certainties.)

when she tries to walk to a party and ends up lost

—p.19 by Mary Karr 2 years, 4 months ago

But I rounded each corner believing rescue would show up. [...]

(What hurts so bad about youth isn't the actual butt whippings the world delivers. It's the stupid hopes playacting like certainties.)

when she tries to walk to a party and ends up lost

—p.19 by Mary Karr 2 years, 4 months ago

(noun) the large fatty omentum covering the intestines (as of a cow, sheep, or pig) / (noun) the inner fetal membrane of higher vertebrates especially when covering the head at birth

21

My granny back in Tennessee was born with the web of a caul over her head like a wedding veil

quoting the terrifying guy who "rescues" her in his car

—p.21 by Mary Karr
uncertain
2 years, 4 months ago

My granny back in Tennessee was born with the web of a caul over her head like a wedding veil

quoting the terrifying guy who "rescues" her in his car

—p.21 by Mary Karr
uncertain
2 years, 4 months ago
32

He sat behind a desk sprawled with papers, hands interleaved before him as if by a mortician. He closed the door behind me, then steered me to a chair facing his desk. I figured he'd decided against recommending me, having found the poems and essays I'd sent him in advance dim-witted. I felt oafish before him. No sooner did he sit down than he bobbed back to his feet like he'd forgotten something. He walked to my side and--with a kind of slow ceremony I did nothing to stop--lifted my T-shirt till I was staring down at my own braless chest. With his trembling and sweaty hand, he cupped first one breast, then the other, saying, By God, they're real!

Such was the interview that landed me in a school far beyond my meager qualifications.

horrifying story but so skillfully told

—p.32 by Mary Karr 2 years, 4 months ago

He sat behind a desk sprawled with papers, hands interleaved before him as if by a mortician. He closed the door behind me, then steered me to a chair facing his desk. I figured he'd decided against recommending me, having found the poems and essays I'd sent him in advance dim-witted. I felt oafish before him. No sooner did he sit down than he bobbed back to his feet like he'd forgotten something. He walked to my side and--with a kind of slow ceremony I did nothing to stop--lifted my T-shirt till I was staring down at my own braless chest. With his trembling and sweaty hand, he cupped first one breast, then the other, saying, By God, they're real!

Such was the interview that landed me in a school far beyond my meager qualifications.

horrifying story but so skillfully told

—p.32 by Mary Karr 2 years, 4 months ago
33

[...] I was seventeen, thin and malleable as coat hanger wire, and Mother was the silky shadow stitched to my feet that I nonetheless believed I could outrun. [...]

—p.33 by Mary Karr 2 years, 4 months ago

[...] I was seventeen, thin and malleable as coat hanger wire, and Mother was the silky shadow stitched to my feet that I nonetheless believed I could outrun. [...]

—p.33 by Mary Karr 2 years, 4 months ago
40

[...] There was an internal click as an actual idea of Cassirer's broke through. The sentence that had so addled me suddenly made sense [...]:

The same function which the image of God performs, the same tendency to permanent existence, may be ascribed to the uttered sounds of language.

He meant that words shaped our realities, our perceptions, giving them an authority God had for other generations. The indecipherable sentence had been circumnavigating my insides like a bluebottle fly for a week, and at last I got hold of it: words would define me, govern and determine me. Words warranted my devotion--not drugs, not boys. That's why I clung to the myth that poetry could somehow magically still my scrambled innards.

from The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms

—p.40 by Mary Karr 2 years, 4 months ago

[...] There was an internal click as an actual idea of Cassirer's broke through. The sentence that had so addled me suddenly made sense [...]:

The same function which the image of God performs, the same tendency to permanent existence, may be ascribed to the uttered sounds of language.

He meant that words shaped our realities, our perceptions, giving them an authority God had for other generations. The indecipherable sentence had been circumnavigating my insides like a bluebottle fly for a week, and at last I got hold of it: words would define me, govern and determine me. Words warranted my devotion--not drugs, not boys. That's why I clung to the myth that poetry could somehow magically still my scrambled innards.

from The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms

—p.40 by Mary Karr 2 years, 4 months ago
47

[...] Paint the apartment, write a book, quit booze, sure: tomorrow.

Which ensures that life gets lived in miniature. In lieu of the large feelings--sorrow, fury, joy--I had their junior counterparts--anxiety, irritation, excitement.

—p.47 by Mary Karr 2 years, 4 months ago

[...] Paint the apartment, write a book, quit booze, sure: tomorrow.

Which ensures that life gets lived in miniature. In lieu of the large feelings--sorrow, fury, joy--I had their junior counterparts--anxiety, irritation, excitement.

—p.47 by Mary Karr 2 years, 4 months ago

(noun, Greek mythology) protective mantle of Zeus given to Athena

53

the first poems of mine that ever saw print were sent out under Etheridge's aegis, in envelopes he paid postage on

—p.53 by Mary Karr
notable
2 years, 4 months ago

the first poems of mine that ever saw print were sent out under Etheridge's aegis, in envelopes he paid postage on

—p.53 by Mary Karr
notable
2 years, 4 months ago

(adjective) having a sloppy or unkempt appearance or aspect

65

My half sister turned out to be a blowsy L.A. blonde

—p.65 by Mary Karr
uncertain
2 years, 4 months ago

My half sister turned out to be a blowsy L.A. blonde

—p.65 by Mary Karr
uncertain
2 years, 4 months ago