Earl passed the tryouts for Talent Night mainly because he still limped from his accident, and because he had grown taller and skinnier than ever lying around in casts. The drama teacher, Mrs. Falkes, watched him making tortured faces, strumming dolefully on a guitar equipped with button mike, and pitied him, for even his glasses looked the wrong size. Earl sweated clean through his shirt standing on the stage in the clammy, half-lit auditorium, empty except for tryouts and fat Mrs. Falkes. He'd lost his nerve and ended up doing a song he'd heard instead of his own. He could hardly believe it was him asking people to gape at him and listen to him. He hadn't said a word at home, or his Mom would plain give up all hope for him. He remembered the scarey moment when he knew he had to try out, the way before he fell he had to endure painful tests by the LORD.
Aisha Sabatini Sloan
Episode 22: “Form and Formlessness”
In an essay specially commissioned for the podcast, Aisha Sabatini Sloan describes rambling around Paris with her father, Lester Sloan, a longtime staff photographer for Newsweek, and a glamorous woman who befriends them. In an excerpt from The Art of Fiction no. 246, Rachel Cusk and Sheila Heti discuss how writing her first novel helped Cusk discover her “shape or identity or essence.” Next, Allan Gurganus’s reading of his story “It Had Wings,” about an arthritic woman who finds a fallen angel in her backyard, is interspersed with a version of the story rendered as a one-woman opera by the composer Bruce Saylor. The episode closes with “Dear Someone,” a poem by Deborah Landau.
Rachel Cusk photo courtesy the author.
Subscribe for free: Stitcher | Apple Podcasts | Google Play