Excerpt 25

“All art is the result of one’s having been in danger, of having gone through an experience all the way to the end.”

—Rainer Maria Rilke

My mother’s wedding night was a threesome:  My mother, father, and Joe,  an Episcopal priest, who was my father’s favorite lover. They were in Fairhope, Alabama, an artsy town on the Gulf.

No family members attended.

It was 1949.

My mother told me this when I was twelve years old. We were having dinner at Britling’s, the local cafeteria, in Memphis. I really liked their shredded carrots with raisins.


Excerpt 24


Florence King said in her article, “The Niceness Factor,” (Harper’s Magazine, 9/81):

“The paradox of women’s rights in any era is that egalitarianism, which admits the issue is also the chief barrier to its fulfillment. Just as despots are the most enthusiastic patrons of the arts, only an aristocracy is secure and eccentric enough to produce the one kind of woman who can bridge the psychological chasm between the sexes: the socially impeccable bawd.” (without the disintegration of Émile Zola’s Nana)