That’s me, lurking by the elementary school wrought-iron fence, standing with my hands in the pockets of my peacoat. I’m half Chinese, half Caucasian, shoulder-length black hair, ovoid face, epicanthic eyes, soft nose, thick lips, still boyish, I like to think, at age thirty-seven. Behind me are the children, my daughters included, a rabbling swirl of high-pitched noise, shouts piercing other shouts, aural confetti, almost impossible to reproduce in a studio. Around me are my fellow parents. Dutiful. Concerned about the school. But don’t underestimate them. They will draw and quarter you if you fuck with their kids. God help you if you happen to venture onto the playground at the wrong time. I did it once, trying to record that school-yard din for a project of mine. I walked right into the recess playground through the unlocked gate, wearing headphones, carrying an omni-directional microphone and a digital recorder. Teachers, attendants, and parent volunteers swarmed me—they came rapp…
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.
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