Liz Phair and Other Things

Liz Phair is an artist I found too late. I finally heard “Exile in Guyville” about three years ago and I wanted to talk to everyone about how brilliant “Help Me, Mary” is, how it says in two minutes what I tried much of my teen years to say. It says a lot about how awkward and afraid I felt, and how I really wanted some supernatural force to help me channel those feelings into a way not to be angry, but also have my revenge. “Temper my hatred with peace, Weave my disgust into fame, and watch how fast they run to the flame.”

But everyone already knows that album is great. They’ve listened and loved it and moved on.

Sometimes, I think about writing a horror novel.

The problem is that I don’t know what I’m afraid of, supernaturally, that could sustain me through a book. I mean, I think ghosts are freaky, because I don’t know. If I knew, I’d get used to them, used to having them around, and the messages from them would seem more like postcards from a stranger than fearsome missives from beyond the grave.

Vampires? God, who hasn’t see The Lost Boys and thought Michael was crazy for wanting out?

And the monsters in real life–murderers, child molesters, etc.–I don’t really care to spend so much time with.

The things I fear, like losing my family or having to be vulnerable with someone I care about without two or three stiff drinks before that, aren’t really the stuff of horror novels.

Could you imagine?

He came into the office and stood there before her, while she finished up a phone call. She looked over at him, at the same time she was pretending to pay attention to Amanda’s latest in-law story. He was just as cute as always. She could hardly wait to hug him hello.

She winked at him and slowly opened her desk drawer. The cool darkness slowly revealed the shimmering glass of the small whiskey bottle. She could almost feel it in her hand, the warm liquid burning down her throat.

But then, as she reached for the bottle, she realized it was too light. She gave it a shake. And another. “God, no,” she gasped. Ignoring Amanda’s worried inquires, she dropped the bottle to the ground.

Gentle reader, it was empty!

See, America, I don’t think you’re coming to Barnes & Noble to hear me read that shit.

Well, knowing you, America, you would show up just to point and laugh.

3 thoughts on “Liz Phair and Other Things

  1. I like your horror novel. There is nothing more terrifying than intimacy without alcohol. Whoa, did I just type that?
    Love Liz Phair, despite the newest album, about which the less said the better. If you haven’t heard it, stay “gold” and don’t.

  2. Oh, there’s plenty of room for a new genre of horror: domestic horror? relationship gothic? suburban terrors? i realize that all gothic is really about relationships, at some level, but there does seem to be space on the literary horizon for the myriad terrors of everyday living–especially when the liquor runs out.

    they laughed and pointed at Bram Stoker, y’know. And Mary Shelley, too (at least I think so).

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