Joy Ray lives on Great Jones Street upstairs from Sticky Mike's Frog Bar, a nightclub in front of which Rocket, drunk and loping towards the subway, was once robbed at gun point. There is a synchronicity to this that does not escape us whenever we rehash our pasts in the smoky bars and Cuban-Chinese diners of Eighth Avenue. After Rocket had been mugged and assaulted-not shot, but pistol-whipped—and was lying on the sidewalk getting his bearings back, Joy Ray, wearing a black tube dress under a long, brown camelhair coat, exited a cab in front of her apartment. In passing Rocket's supine body she dropped fifty-seven cents in change onto his back. Then, having made her substantial blow for the day against homelessness, she made her way upstairs to continue working on a portrait she would later title Hama1iб in Yellow and Green, the very painting in front of which Rocket would be standing, five weeks after my brother Neil died, when I met him for the first time. All these circumstances w…
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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