In our Spring issue, we published selections from Annie Ernaux’s 1988 diaries, which chronicle the affair that served as the basis for her memoir Simple Passion. To mark the occasion, the Review has begun asking writers and artists for pages from their diaries, along with brief postscripts.
No one wants to hear about your parrot. Even your dreams are more interesting. Even the word you stammer in search of to get across the precise nature of the pain in your stomach.
No one wants to hear about your novel-in-progress, either, not unless you can tell them you finished it, you sold it, or how much you sold it for.
And yet they ask. About your novel-in-progreess. About your parrot. Why do they ask? You know not to speak of the novel-in-progress. You know not to speak of the bird. You know both equally. So why, Levin, capable as you are, successful as you are at not talking about your novel-in-progress—why can’t you just shut the fuck up about your parrot?
That one band you had in high school—Cremaster Reflex—you were really a asshole. Not even an asshole. A asshole. How you thought you’d be famous—a famous bassist—and sell stickers and T-shirts that would read CMR. Fuck you, Levin. Go fuck yourself.
How about the way you always told yourself, from the age of six to the age of sixteen, that deep inside, under the pink chickenhawk, behind the sneeringly lipped cigarettes and post-apocalyptically styled eyeglasses, you were a dedicated Zionist who’d sooner suck a dick than fail to join the IDF upon high school graduation. How about it, then? How about it, cocksucker?
That other band you had in high school? The one with the singer who could actually sing; the one that you, lyricist and titler extraordinnaire, determined to name after a man who’d been gored to death that year in Pamplona, which didn’t, believe it or not, even approach in pretentiousness what it signified in Middle-Earthness? What about how you didn’t feel it was “creative” enough to just use the guy’s name after all? What about how you changed Urban Troll to Urban Love Troll? God, I fucken hate you. Get bent. Swallow glass. Die.
We took turns behind the tent with it, Senator.
At first the sirens seemed part of the music.
Janet began with leather gloves she had bought or found somewhere—I never asked which, and I thought the gloves worked, were cute, you know, adorable—she hadn’t learned to sew yet.
The rest of the time, she was the perfect mother.
After Torrence changed his name to something more realistic, less realistic things started happening to him. The butterfly with the Ford logo on its wings that got trapped in his windowscreen. The voices on the television. Those kinds of things. It wasn’t easy being Bill.
Alien Sanderson was always being mistaken for a biker.
The mayor wore sock garters and loved to fist fight.
It is one thing to ask us to polish with our tongues the prince’s bicycle while topless.
I only write in a journal when I’m traveling or flailing. I wrote these pages in summer 2010. I was not traveling.
Adam Levin is the author of the novels The Instructions and Bubblegum, as well as the story collection, Hot Pink. His latest novel, Mount Chicago, will be published by Doubleday in 2022. He lives in Gainesville, Florida.
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