It’s my mom Ellen Willis’ birthday today. She would have been 71. Every year, I figure the best way of honoring her is to read my favorite pieces she’s written—things that push me to consider every moment of my life, and to fit together cultural forces like puzzle pieces. Here’s what I’m reading…
I have to shut my eyes. “I’m sorry,” I say. “I’m disoriented.”
"Story of my life," she says. When I open my eyes, she’s vaulting over a line of bushes on the other side of the park. I think, good. The world needs tougher religious artifacts. Everything you find on Sunday morning is too delicate. Candles burning over white linen. Transferring the wine from vessel to vessel, chasuble sleeves hanging perilously close. You can buy all this stuff from a catalog, but it’s expensive. Sometimes, it comes blessed.
The fountain is very close to my home and at my home’s heart is my medicine cabinet. Something feels very strange about the container of my body. As I was getting up, the corn disk hardened into a circular saw blade and went to work on the flesh of my organs. It consumes and spins faster and threatens my spinal cord. My brain howls in protest. I want darkness and my bed and the calming mechanism of a great deal of medication.