Doug Bruns

Posts Tagged ‘Joyce Maynard’

Too much pizza. Too much beer.

In Books, Memoir, Writers, Writing on May 24, 2012 at 6:00 am

I wrote this a month ago, saved it as a draft, thinking it best not to post it, for reasons which will be soon apparent. But I’m nursing a brainwave flatline and like its shallow mellowness. So, rather than get the synaptic camshaft cranking, I’m going to swallow my pride and roll with the post. What the hell.


Carole is out of town and so tonight I eat out. BBQ chicken pizza at Portland Pie Co. Carole does not care for their pizza so this is my place when she’s gone. And beer. I drink beer here too. Copious amounts.

I divide the pizza: eat this half tonight, this half tomorrow lunch. I eat. And drink beer and eat more. The first half is gone and I peel off a piece from the second. I hate myself for doing this. I order another beer. The hate increases.

I eat and drink and read. I read when I eat alone. Often, I read with company for that matter. Once I left a party we were hosting and went upstairs to read, the party being so very something other than what I thought it’d be. I was rude, of course. Just writing that makes me feel like a jerk. But that is a different story. I eat the whole thing. Drink more beer even. I leave loathing myself. My discipline has abondanded me. I am lost.

Tonight I read Joyce Maynard‘s At Home in the World. It is one of the finest, if the finest, memoir I’ve ever read. Maynard was a child literary prodigy–she writes like an angel– and came to the attention of old man J.D. Salinger living as a recluse in Cornish, New Hampshire. She moved in with him. She was nineteen. He was thirty-five years her senior. I was reading the part where he teaches her how to induce vomiting after eating food he deems toxic. There is a reason Salinger was as he was.

Things begin to turn ugly.

I leave, paying the tab, in a state of gastro distress. As I walk home I think about Salinger, two years younger than me, puking. I think about life imitating art. I rush home, miserable more so now that it all has settled and capped off my GI tract. Into the bathroom I go, kneeling in front of the toilet. I look at my middle finger. Is the nail clipped? I think of Brando in Last Tango.

I plunge the finger down my throat, curious at what’s down there. Interesting. I wretch. But no pizza, no beer. Just a little phlegm. Lucy is sitting to my left, looking at me. I reach out and scratch her ear, tell her it’s alright, then plunge the finger down my throat again. Again, nothing. My eyes watering I give in. This is obviously not a solution. I’m not made this way. I must pay my dues, suffer for my sins. I must digest. I ask Lucy if she wants to go for a walk and she tells me that yes, indeed, let’s go for a walk. I get the impression she thinks that to be a better solution to my current trouble than whatever it is I’m doing.

After our walk I come home and recline, the only position that offers up any comfort, and continue reading how a nineteen year old woman came to live with J.D. Salinger.