Fiction

The New Dress

The New Dress

Excerpt from Virginia Woolf's 1927 short story

But she dared not look in the glass. She could not face the whole horror – the pale yellow, idiotically old-fashioned silk dress with its long skirt and its high sleeves and its waist and all the things that looked so charming in the fashion book, but not on her, not among all these ordinary people. She felt like a dressmaker’s dummy standing there, for young people to stick pins into.

READ MORE

Layers

Layers

Some days she flicks through the clothes hangers but finds nothing to wear. She doesn’t find it because she does not know what she is looking for. She picks out a silky shirt and dark trousers. The garments feel all wrong. Clothes that don’t quite match, trousers that don’t quite fit. Short of time, she leaves to meet the day, meet him. He says she’s beautiful. His words are ill fitting too.

READ MORE

Bernice Bobs Her Hair

Bernice Bobs Her Hair

Excerpt from F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1922 short story

Bending over she found one of the braids of Marjorie’s hair, followed it up with her hand to the point nearest the head, and then holding it a little slack so that the sleeper would feel no pull, she reached down with the shears and severed it. With the pigtail in her hand she held her breath. Marjorie had muttered something in her sleep. Bernice deftly amputated the other braid, paused for an instant, and then flitted swiftly and silently back to her own room.

READ MORE

Gold Collar

Gold Collar

Veronica Martin’s ‘Gold Collar’ is about things. The things on our bodies and in our spaces and the intimate distance they have in our lives. Accompanied by Alicia Meseguer’s fragments of found images, another reality – corporeal, spacial, tenebrous – is put forward.

READ MORE

Regrets for my Old Dressing Gown

Regrets for my Old Dressing Gown

A warning to those who have more taste than fortune

Why didn’t I keep it? It was used to me and I was used to it. It molded all the folds of my body without inhibiting it; I was picturesque and handsome. The other one is stiff, and starchy, makes me look stodgy. There was no need to which its kindness didn’t loan itself, for indigence is almost always officious. If a book was covered in dust, one of its panels was there to wipe it off. If thickened ink refused to flow in my quill, it presented its flank. Traced in long black lines, one could see the services it had rendered me. These long lines announce the litterateur, the writer, the man who works. I now have the air of a rich good for nothing. No one knows who I am.

READ MORE

Outfits

Outfits

Your face is pale, contours chalked out like anatomy was just a malleable paste: a blank canvas ready for Jackson Pollock to drip allover in liberating gestures. Pollock’s possessed chaos always looked orgasmic to me: I am sure abstract expressionists were taken over by the raw energy of unrepressed sexual desire as they painted.

READ MORE

Mirror

Mirror

The really nasty ones, the killers, the rapists, the child killers and child rapists; the ones who have been held in custody, denied bail, too dangerous to release, flight risk, suicide risk; they arrive in prison vans. They’re tricky, the vans. The toughened plastic windows are tinted, and we all hold up our cameras and take shot after shot anyway, but almost all of the time the results are useless. Nothing but close-ups of a black plastic window.

READ MORE

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

Excerpt from Carson McCullers' debut novel

The dress she would wear was laying out on the bed. Hazel and Etta had both been good about lending her their best clothes – considering that they weren’t supposed to come to the party. There was Etta’s long blue crêpe de chine evening dress and some white pumps and a rhinestone tiara for her hair. These clothes were really gorgeous. It was hard to imagine how she would look in them.

READ MORE

Carrie

Carrie

Excerpt from Stephen King’s Horror Paperback

“Take it off, Carrie. We’ll go down and burn it in the incinerator together, and then pray for for­giveness. We’ll do penance.” Her eyes began to sparkle with the strange, disconnected zeal that came over her at events which she considered to be tests of faith. “I’ll stay home from work and you’ll stay home from school. We’ll pray. We’ll ask for a Sign. We’ll get us down on our knees and ask for the Pentecostal Fire.”

READ MORE