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163

Self Help

1
terms
13
notes

the marriage starts to unravel; she turns to alcohol and comes close to committing suicide

Karr, M. (None). Self Help. In Karr, M. Lit. None, pp. 163-266

165

[...] My longed-for circle of family is choking me. The silk bow ties on my cheap business blouses--that middle-class disguise I'd wished for--are choking me. The good family name for my son is a strangle, since it forces me to drive with a restless kid hours in murderous traffic to dine with polite people who never, not in decades, stop being strangers. [...]

—p.165 by Mary Karr 1 year, 7 months ago

[...] My longed-for circle of family is choking me. The silk bow ties on my cheap business blouses--that middle-class disguise I'd wished for--are choking me. The good family name for my son is a strangle, since it forces me to drive with a restless kid hours in murderous traffic to dine with polite people who never, not in decades, stop being strangers. [...]

—p.165 by Mary Karr 1 year, 7 months ago
183

[...] I hold my liquor enough to hear--from the mouths of poets--work I'm itching to read, books I can vanish down into from my grind. The night is a burst of sea spray washed across my face, tangible evidence of a fresh existence only slightly out of reach.

—p.183 by Mary Karr 1 year, 7 months ago

[...] I hold my liquor enough to hear--from the mouths of poets--work I'm itching to read, books I can vanish down into from my grind. The night is a burst of sea spray washed across my face, tangible evidence of a fresh existence only slightly out of reach.

—p.183 by Mary Karr 1 year, 7 months ago
187

[...] The room is swirling with our invectives when--in the doorway--there stands Dev in his three-year-old body. He's naked and gap-mouthed. All the raging that swirls around us arrests into violent stasis. The fury in the room dispels itself like smoke siphoned up with a hose.

—p.187 by Mary Karr 1 year, 7 months ago

[...] The room is swirling with our invectives when--in the doorway--there stands Dev in his three-year-old body. He's naked and gap-mouthed. All the raging that swirls around us arrests into violent stasis. The fury in the room dispels itself like smoke siphoned up with a hose.

—p.187 by Mary Karr 1 year, 7 months ago
194

The door opens a crack, and in the spilled, triangular glow, a tall kid wearing a red bandana over his streaming brown hair slips out. He stops six feet away and bends slightly forward--almost a butler's bow--saying, Excuse me, Miss Karr. Mind if I join you?

Who is he? With his formal demeanor and gold granny glasses, he could be a student--some Ivy League suck-up.

Join away, I say, adding as I flash my wedding ring, I'm a miz.

My goodness garcious, ma'am, he says, those are some seriously blinding stones you're flaunting. We met before . . .

And we had. David was a Harvard Ph.D. candidate in philosophy I'd once been introduced to at the back of a reading by mutual pals. Some kind of genius, David's meant to be, though his red bandana is the flag of a gangster or biker, ditto the unlaced Timberland work boots.

I ask him how long he's been coming, and he says not hardly any time, and I say it's my first go, and he asks me if I get it, and I say if I got it, I wouldn't be out here smoking. He says same with him, adding while he drank a lot, he mostly did marijuana, which can't be so bad because it's natural.

I say--cleverly, I think--Strychnine's natural.

[...] After you, Miz Karr.

It brings me up short--his outlaw wardrobe paired with the obsequious ma'am thing--and I say testily, Are you fucking with me?

No ma'am, he says, his hands flying to his T-shirted chest.

Then it strikes me that he's just a shy kid from the Midwest raised to say ma'am like I do to every waitress and dry cleaner. We scuttle inside like a pair of field mice from our inept exchange.

DFW appears omg :'(

—p.194 by Mary Karr 1 year, 7 months ago

The door opens a crack, and in the spilled, triangular glow, a tall kid wearing a red bandana over his streaming brown hair slips out. He stops six feet away and bends slightly forward--almost a butler's bow--saying, Excuse me, Miss Karr. Mind if I join you?

Who is he? With his formal demeanor and gold granny glasses, he could be a student--some Ivy League suck-up.

Join away, I say, adding as I flash my wedding ring, I'm a miz.

My goodness garcious, ma'am, he says, those are some seriously blinding stones you're flaunting. We met before . . .

And we had. David was a Harvard Ph.D. candidate in philosophy I'd once been introduced to at the back of a reading by mutual pals. Some kind of genius, David's meant to be, though his red bandana is the flag of a gangster or biker, ditto the unlaced Timberland work boots.

I ask him how long he's been coming, and he says not hardly any time, and I say it's my first go, and he asks me if I get it, and I say if I got it, I wouldn't be out here smoking. He says same with him, adding while he drank a lot, he mostly did marijuana, which can't be so bad because it's natural.

I say--cleverly, I think--Strychnine's natural.

[...] After you, Miz Karr.

It brings me up short--his outlaw wardrobe paired with the obsequious ma'am thing--and I say testily, Are you fucking with me?

No ma'am, he says, his hands flying to his T-shirted chest.

Then it strikes me that he's just a shy kid from the Midwest raised to say ma'am like I do to every waitress and dry cleaner. We scuttle inside like a pair of field mice from our inept exchange.

DFW appears omg :'(

—p.194 by Mary Karr 1 year, 7 months ago
208

[...] One day at a time forces you to reckon with the instant you actually occupy, rather than living in fantasy la-la that never arrives.

—p.208 by Mary Karr 1 year, 7 months ago

[...] One day at a time forces you to reckon with the instant you actually occupy, rather than living in fantasy la-la that never arrives.

—p.208 by Mary Karr 1 year, 7 months ago
218

I exhale a highway of smoke and stare down it, then say, Each day has just been about survival, just getting through, standing it.

Don't you see how savage that sounds? Like, that's the way men in prison yards think. You live in a rich suburb and teach literature.

Composition mostly, I say (Lord, was I dead then to my blessings, a self-pitying wretch if ever one was). We're the poorest in the neighborhood. . . .

—p.218 by Mary Karr 1 year, 7 months ago

I exhale a highway of smoke and stare down it, then say, Each day has just been about survival, just getting through, standing it.

Don't you see how savage that sounds? Like, that's the way men in prison yards think. You live in a rich suburb and teach literature.

Composition mostly, I say (Lord, was I dead then to my blessings, a self-pitying wretch if ever one was). We're the poorest in the neighborhood. . . .

—p.218 by Mary Karr 1 year, 7 months ago
224

[...] I babble on about my long-held grudges against the god I don't believe in, saying, What kind of god would permit the holocaust?

To which Lux says, You're not in the holocaust.

In other words, what is the holocaust my business? When my own life is falling apart, he wants to know, why am I taking as evidence of my own prospects the worst carnage of history.

—p.224 by Mary Karr 1 year, 7 months ago

[...] I babble on about my long-held grudges against the god I don't believe in, saying, What kind of god would permit the holocaust?

To which Lux says, You're not in the holocaust.

In other words, what is the holocaust my business? When my own life is falling apart, he wants to know, why am I taking as evidence of my own prospects the worst carnage of history.

—p.224 by Mary Karr 1 year, 7 months ago
227

[...] The three of us are walking toward the street when he says, Who made all this?

The park? Some nice liberals, I say.

No, this, he says, sweeping his upturned palm across the autumn landscape.

—p.227 by Mary Karr 1 year, 7 months ago

[...] The three of us are walking toward the street when he says, Who made all this?

The park? Some nice liberals, I say.

No, this, he says, sweeping his upturned palm across the autumn landscape.

—p.227 by Mary Karr 1 year, 7 months ago
241

I add, What kind of God wants me to get on my knees and supplicate myself like a coolie?

[...] You don't do it for God! You do it for yourself. All this is for you . . . the prayer, the meditation, even the service work. I do it for myself, too. I'm not that benevolent.

How does getting on your knees do anything for you? I say.

Janice says, It makes you the right size. You do it to teach yourself something. When my disease has ahold of me, it tells me that my suffering is special or unique, but its the same as everybody's. I kneel to put my body in that place, because otherwise, my mind can't grasp it.

—p.241 by Mary Karr 1 year, 7 months ago

I add, What kind of God wants me to get on my knees and supplicate myself like a coolie?

[...] You don't do it for God! You do it for yourself. All this is for you . . . the prayer, the meditation, even the service work. I do it for myself, too. I'm not that benevolent.

How does getting on your knees do anything for you? I say.

Janice says, It makes you the right size. You do it to teach yourself something. When my disease has ahold of me, it tells me that my suffering is special or unique, but its the same as everybody's. I kneel to put my body in that place, because otherwise, my mind can't grasp it.

—p.241 by Mary Karr 1 year, 7 months ago
242

[...] He'll also remember the claim of Philosophy David (who's working a security job while trying to start a novel) that a doctor made him keep the bandana on his head else it might explore. [...]

on her time, with Dev, in the Halfway House

—p.242 by Mary Karr 1 year, 7 months ago

[...] He'll also remember the claim of Philosophy David (who's working a security job while trying to start a novel) that a doctor made him keep the bandana on his head else it might explore. [...]

on her time, with Dev, in the Halfway House

—p.242 by Mary Karr 1 year, 7 months ago
244

See, I resent this shit, I say, pressing on the horn, adding, Even the fucking traffic feels orchestrated to fuck me up. Dev needs to eat. You need to get home before dinner curfew or you're grounded.

It's funny, she says, how everybody else is traffic, huh?

—p.244 by Mary Karr 1 year, 7 months ago

See, I resent this shit, I say, pressing on the horn, adding, Even the fucking traffic feels orchestrated to fuck me up. Dev needs to eat. You need to get home before dinner curfew or you're grounded.

It's funny, she says, how everybody else is traffic, huh?

—p.244 by Mary Karr 1 year, 7 months ago
253

[...] it turned out--Wilbur Fred was paying all her bills.

Which pissed me off, since I was paying her gas bill and grocery bill. As was, it turned out, my sister. I made Lecia go down there and call me with Mother on the line, so we could confront this bookkeeping inconsistency.

Mother elided it by saying, Oh, Ben doesn't pay those. He helps me out all kinds of ways.

Helps you out how? I wanted to know.

How? Lecia said.

Well, he cuts the grass, Mother said.

I pay Sweet to cut the grass, I said, referring to an old pal of my dead daddy's.

I pay Sweet to cut the grass! Lecia said.

on her mother's triple-dipping

—p.253 by Mary Karr 1 year, 7 months ago

[...] it turned out--Wilbur Fred was paying all her bills.

Which pissed me off, since I was paying her gas bill and grocery bill. As was, it turned out, my sister. I made Lecia go down there and call me with Mother on the line, so we could confront this bookkeeping inconsistency.

Mother elided it by saying, Oh, Ben doesn't pay those. He helps me out all kinds of ways.

Helps you out how? I wanted to know.

How? Lecia said.

Well, he cuts the grass, Mother said.

I pay Sweet to cut the grass, I said, referring to an old pal of my dead daddy's.

I pay Sweet to cut the grass! Lecia said.

on her mother's triple-dipping

—p.253 by Mary Karr 1 year, 7 months ago
259

Maybe that time is so blurry to me--more even than my drinking time--because we remember through a filter of self, and of self I had little, having been flattened like a cartoon coyote by an inner anvil. With no self, experience streams past. Time lags until it's sponged up. [...]

—p.259 by Mary Karr 1 year, 7 months ago

Maybe that time is so blurry to me--more even than my drinking time--because we remember through a filter of self, and of self I had little, having been flattened like a cartoon coyote by an inner anvil. With no self, experience streams past. Time lags until it's sponged up. [...]

—p.259 by Mary Karr 1 year, 7 months ago

in a slanting or oblique position

260

But every aspect of my existence has canted me in a dark space.

—p.260 by Mary Karr
notable
1 year, 7 months ago

But every aspect of my existence has canted me in a dark space.

—p.260 by Mary Karr
notable
1 year, 7 months ago