Sunday, March 1, 2009

Table Talk: Louis B. Jones

In the spring issue of The Threepenny Review, novelist Louis B. Jones writes about clotheslines.


I, through a combination of accident and choice, have ended up in the clothesline class—and I must say it feels pretty buoyant, this particular liberation from privilege. The whole chore is an interruption in my usual hectic trance, requiring an abrupt shift to solitude and quiet, outdoors, far even from the incessant NPR in our kitchen. The meadow ground is hummocky and treacherously soft underfoot from gophers' work. The drudging physical activity itself, of pinning up laundry, if nowhere near strenuous, involves a lot of lifting and reaching and is slightly swimming-like. And then all day, until at sundown the whole line-up is stiff and toasty, I find the sight of a line of laundry actually jubilating. To a book-absorbed fellow's eye it bespeaks the old levitation metaphor of immortality and incarnation and the mystery of personality and even futurity. My two boys, eight and seventeen, are absent all day at school (as, all too soon, they will be more permanently absent at colleges), but they are also present, these afternoons, their distinctive personalities pinned up in a choir in the breeze along with ours, arms upraised among the bedsheets' great flying badges on the tilt of the meadow.

To read the rest -and to peruse some of the the other offerings, click here.

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