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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The new McSweeney’s

Posted by on December 28 at 1:04 AM

…kept me up last night. I am a slow reader, and usually I am happy to put something I’ve been reading down after half an hour or so, make some food, look out the window, pick it up again, switch couches, play some music, call someone, pick it up again, etc, but last night I started reading the new McSweeney’s and I almost literally couldn’t stop. A friend who lives in a different neighborhood thought he left something valuable at a restaurant where we’d had drinks after work and asked me to go look and I said I would but it was raining and I kind of resenting having to put the magazine down — I was in the middle of Edmund White’s essay “My Hustlers” — and finally I went down and looked and it wasn’t there and I came back and I kept reading…

He saw me looking at him. My eyes must have been shockingly hungry — the sort of eyes that have lost all self-awareness and glint with pure emptiness. If someone had whispered, “Ed,” in my ear, I’d have had to dial my way painfully back from the boy’s handsome face toward earth, toward me, like a diver rapturous with oxygen deprivation who is drawn against his will up out of a storm-dark sea.

At the beginning White writes about wanting to lay next to a hustler and be held tightly “while down there our genitals would do something ecstatic and nonspecific,” and later there’s also a great part where he talks about kneeling under some tough guy while long strings of drool drip into White’s mouth. (The essay is an excerpt from White’s memoir due out in April.) And now I’m in the middle of an excellent Roddy Doyle short story.