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Amanda Goldblatt on Amanda Goldblatt.

January 8, 2011 \pm\31 12:30 pm

Amanda Goldblatt  reviews a story by Amanda Goldblatt
from [C:] an mlp stamp stories anthology 

I am terrible at hosting parties (and don’t often) because I am the daughter of my mother, a woman who always buys too much food and doesn’t have any fun until the last stranger has left. Parties are awkward: happenings caught in the crosshairs of intimacy. I think about this particularly when I’m at parties in small apartments, where the line between private and public space is wire-thin, or nonexistent. The most pedestrian things, during a night accessorized by enough beer and celebratorily-flavored potato chips, can seem lewd: the half-empty condiments on the fridge door, the laundry hamper, utility bills, a single long hair stuck to the sink’s base.

I believe that a story should be a welcome. Maybe that’s why I’m hooked on the voices of hosts, in second person or not. And I like the meanings there: host of a party, host of a parasite, simply just a lot of things.

The host here is crotchety, as many of my hosts are, all irritable at the thought of an interloper yet still bound by circumstance or sense of duty. Still he is a good host, because he offers food and a bed.

In this story there is perhaps some labor involved in the invitation, but not in the same spirit of giving your friends pizza when they help you move. The thing about being a guest is that the only true agencies you have are your entrance and exit. You have only your presence to trade for anyone’s hospitality. Perhaps that’s why certain kinds of magazines spend so much time talking about appropriate hostess gifts around the holidays; it’s a power grab. But no, they tell us, you may not take back the wine if the hostess has not elected to open it with dinner.

The party that I invite my reader into is not always a fun party. But it does not stop me from offering the invitation. This story, written for the Stamp Stories, is not a fun party. It might be an okay one, like the kind where you meet a good friend to-be a year or two before the friendship actually clenches, about which you might later reminisce to each other in order to feel a prematurely secure-feeling sense of history.

Fifty words. We’re all just making an appearance on the way to somewhere else. Listen, let’s not make a bigger deal of this than it has to be. 

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