I’m starting to assemble my annual application for the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, due on March 19. I have to indicate my top four choices from among the writers who are slated to lead workshops this year. Among my choices is Helen Schulman, who is stepping in for another writer who has had to cancel. I don’t know Schulman’s work, so I borrowed P.S. from the library. Here are two passages that caught my attention:
When had it become so empty? When had the red neon sign begin to blink? . . . as she followed him from one academic constellation to another, when the intellectual stimulation still carried her along . . . she’d been a good wife, curious, supportive, intelligent. . . . And still, with all their good intentions and fine ingredients, the romance in their marriage had slowly and mysteriously leaked out, replaced by some heavy, invisible, colorless, tasteless cosmic gas. . . . What had happened to the bright, young, happy couple they once were?
Whenever Louise felt especially lonely, she used to fantasize about their hooking up again; it made sense sometimes, in the dark at night, when she was alone, aging away in her apartment, allergic to sleep, since they’d never seemed to have properly unhooked anyway, since Peter was still so smart and so handsome, since he seemed so permanently attached to her . . .