Anchovies Are Creatures, Not Pizza Decorations!!

From A Seahorse Year, a novel by Stacey D’Erasmo, on tap to lead a workshop at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in 2007:

[Nan and Christopher, her teenage son, are visiting an aquarium.] They wandered upstairs and into a small atrium with a domed ceiling. Inside the dome, hundreds of silver anchovies swam around and around in circles, like a silver tornado.

[When I was seven, I dreamed that furniture was chasing me, particularly the large chiffarobe in the bedroom I shared with my sister. In A Seahorse Year, Nan’s brother reminds her that she once ran away from home.] When she ran, it was because a dark shape was chasing her. But nothing had ever chased Christopher, she’d made sure of that.

[After Christopher goes missing, Nan ponders what his girlfriend has told her about him. I read this on a day when I was asking myself the same questions about Lynn, now twenty-one.] She wonders what else Tamara knows. She wonders what she herself has forgotten, what she overlooked, what precious bit of information she dropped on her way from work to home or left by accident at the grocery store.

[Nan’s brother is described. I have known men like this. I have followed them barefoot.] Women . . . go mad for him. He’s like some potent, drifting scent, simultaneously enveloping and evanescent. Women clutch the air when he’s around, follow that scent for miles in their bare feet.

[Christopher is having a psychotic episode. He goes on the raod for the second time, this time with his girlfriend, Tamara.] It does feel better to be with him, even if they’re continuing to go nowhere. He’s a strange boy, and she loves him . . . her body has already long since sped past stop.

[Hal, Christopher’s father, is experiencing the unraveling of a romantic relationship.] Their nights together these days are rare, their days together rarer still. It seems clear that they’ve reached the end of the episode, they’re simply telling the last beads now. . . .

What is love but a series of small decisions made under impossible circumstances? One by one, they add up to years.

So this is love, he remembers, this missing. This is the fullness of absence. . . this is the wealth of yearning . . . .[He is] rich with want.

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