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Posts Tagged ‘Ohio’

Ulysses S. Grant Repaired My Parents’ Dryer

August 3, 2016 | by

Revisited is a series in which writers look back on a work of art they first encountered long ago.

He’s always watching.

In 1974, when they were honeymooning in Atlanta, my parents bought a portrait of Ulysses S. Grant—not the one pictured above, but something close enough. They spent fifty bucks on it: cash they’d won on a bet with my grandfather, wagering that Nixon would not see out his term.

The painting hung above our fireplace in northeast Ohio when I was a girl. It matters only peripherally that Grant was an actual man who lived and died in the nineteenth century; who was the eighteenth president of the United States; and who, as commanding general of the United States Army, led the Union Army to victory over the Confederacy in the Civil War. What matters is how single-minded I found his gaze, his eyes staring down at me—to say nothing of the distinguished crinkle of the eyebrows above them, those bright buttons on his jacket, that thick beard and head of hair, sculpted like cake frosting. Read More »

Elliott Smith, Either/Or

June 20, 2016 | by

Revisited is a series in which writers look back on a work of art they first encountered long ago. Here, Emma Straub revisits Elliott Smith’s album Either/Or.

Elliott-Smith-Either-Or

For a little while, starting around 1998, Elliott Smith and I were the best of friends. I was a freshman at Oberlin, making myself depressing mixtapes to match my mood, and there was nothing that matched my mood better than Either/Or. I didn’t know anything about lo-fi music—everything else I’d ever truly loved was glossy and studio perfect: Madonna’s Immaculate Collection and Mary J. Blige’s What’s the 411—but all of a sudden, my sadness was so great that I only could have loved Either/Or more if it had literally been covered with dirt. It was street-level misery, whispered and simple. Read More »

My Grandmother’s Wheelchair

August 6, 2015 | by

The author, posing with his grandmother, Natalie Faunda, in Budapest, 1990.

The author, posing with his grandmother, Natalie Faunda, at a park in Budapest, in 1990.

My grandmother had a stroke in her late sixties. She was out in her garden, struggling in the hot sun, when she collapsed into a row of tomato plants. 

A neighbor heard her cries for help and called an ambulance. It was a mild case of heat stroke, a doctor said; he sent her home. That night, having returned to her house on Vaughn Avenue—in what, even then, was one of the poorest parts of Youngstown: a neighborhood on the East Side called the Sharon Line—she suffered a second stroke. This one was much more severe. When she stabilized, days later, the right side of her body was paralyzed. She had a few months to live, maybe a year. 

Except that she didn’t; my grandmother would go on to live for nearly twenty years. And in the weeks that followed, at a local rehabilitation center, she learned to do with her left hand everything she’d done predominantly with her right: to write, to eat, to tie her shoelaces, to button her shirts. With the assistance of a quad cane, she eventually learned to walk—though in truth it was never much more than a shuffle. Read More »

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F?!@#g Ohio

December 4, 2013 | by

Nice work, Buckeyes: you curse more than any state in the union. (Not to be confused with our Ohio-born associate editor’s odd penchant for exclaiming, “Jesus Christ and all his merry elves!”)

marchex-swearing

 

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It Involves Breaking Stuff

November 21, 2013 | by

Scott McClanahan’s readings are always highly memorable. As he wrote me about this, the video of his avowed final such reading ever, “I’m quitting. Yep, I’m just straight up quitting. It’s in Ohio which will make you want to quit anything—including LIFE. It involves breaking stuff.”

Apologies to Buckeye readers.

 

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Philosophy Turns Violent, and Other News

September 17, 2013 | by

immanuel_kant_large

  • During an argument over the works of Immanuel Kant, a Russian man was shot in the head. He is, shockingly, not seriously hurt, but the shooter faces up to a decade in jail for “intentional infliction of bodily harm.”
  • The distinguished poet Graham Nunn—former artistic director of the Queensland Poetry Festival—has apologized for serial plagiarism. After getting caught.
  • James Patterson: “I’m going to give away $1 million in the next twelve months or so, to help independent book stores. We’re making this big transition right now to ebooks, and that’s fine and good, and terrific, and wonderful, but, we’re not doing it in an organized, sane, civilized way. What’s happening right now is, a lot of book stores are disappearing, a lot of libraries are disappearing or they’re not being funded. School libraries aren’t being funded. This is not a good thing. It used to be you could go to your drugstore, you’d find books everywhere.”
  • The president of the Ohio board of education is calling for the ban of The Bluest Eye by native daughter Toni Morrison. Debe Terhar calls the 1970 novel “pornographic.” Says Morrison, “I resent it … I mean if it’s Texas or North Carolina as it has been in all sorts of states. But to be a girl from Ohio, writing about Ohio having been born in Lorain, Ohio. And actually relating as an Ohio person, to have the Ohio, what—Board of Education? —is ironic at the least.”
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