In ‘Abortion, a Love Story’, the long story at the centre of Nicole Flattery’s first collection, a young woman, Natasha, tells the professor on whom she’s about to force a perfunctory affair that she has a disorder. ‘I can’t explain exactly what my disorder is,’ she says, ‘but it prevents me from absorbing any knowledge into my brain.’ If such a disorder exists, it may be transmittable via text, because that’s what these stories did to me.
In her memoir, Debbie Harry argues that Blondie were punker than punk. For every thirty-year-old with a personal-essay collection consisting of totally normal experiences, there’s a figure whose life is so suited to becoming material that writing a memoir is not really a question of if but when. These people—celebrities, people in proximity to celebrities—revisit their experiences not only to gain closure but also to fulfill some sense of duty to history, their legacy, and their fans.
Memory endures, though it does so unevenly. Such is the message of Salvador Dalí's 1931 dorm room print The Persistence of Memory, and such is the takeaway of the surrealist painter's legacy. Adolescent boys who will one day run multi-million dollar corporations salivate over Dalí and his theoretical elevation of the repulsive to art, rarely having to confront the fact that he was a cruel narcissist of a human being.