Tuesday, June 25, 2013

X Marks the Dress A Registry by Kristina Marie Darling and Carol Guess

X Marks the Dress A Registry, a collaborative effort by Kristina Marie Darling and Carol Guess, has been published by Gold Wake Press and puts a twist on the traditional outlook of weddings, relationships, and those hopeful, loving gestures that we take for granted on such a grand occasion. There are a variety of types of written word in this collection: prose with titles of objects you might find on a registry, deconstructed pages leaving just a few tantalizing words, footnotes, figures, appendixes, all circling around notions of relationships, love, traditions, marriage, and the breaking up of all these traditional ideas in a variety of ways and stages. This collection reveals characters that are potentially scandalous, heart-wrenchingly beautiful, naïve, unique, and altogether exciting. It is a tantalizing read and below is a brief sample:

{Pull-Out Closet Organizer & Shoe Rack}

Since when is pretending a job? I’m still paying the mortgage with my fashion sense: pink sunglasses, matching pumps, & your favorite dress. Nights like this I walk the boulevard, asking for a handout. Men will offer me rides & fine chocolate as you watch from the kitchen window. Stilettoes & frostbitten, I keep looking for someone to warm me up. I’ve been such an unruffled bride that the lace on my skirt is starting to unravel. Clothes cost money, darling. A husband like you should foot the bill.

There is a piece before this in which the spouse pretends they still have a job, the piece above is the response to it. It makes me wonder what kind of hand-outs are being asked for, doesn’t it make you wonder? I picture a woman outside the house standing on the street in her finest trying to flirt with rich men and feeling resentful that her husband inside the house cannot meet her needs. The piece gives you a sample of the less-than-perfect marriage and a darker side of how to get by when things go awry.

[Wedding Favor: Chocolate Truffles]

She drops a penny on the stoop, spun copper truffle. I’ve never been inside your house, but now I’ve knocked, and now I’m in. She wrote me such a charming thanks – pink scented paper, chocolate ink. I wrote back, so anti-Google. We’re sitting down to tea, no joke. She talks about lipstick and she talks about church. After mimosas she starts on you. Albert, I say. She calls you Bert. I want to scream your name –Adele- but after A I’m starting at her perfect mouth, still mouthing worlds. Clavicle. Delicious. Eat.

There is a series of pieces about a character who gives me the impression they are leading a double life: one as a man, one as a woman, and I’ve no idea what the original identity is. Either way, the person who knows the secret of the character with two sides evidently is not the spouse who apparently doesn’t know. The two worlds meet: the person who knows Albert/Adele and the spouse who only knows Albert. An old fashioned friendship is beginning out of a very strange connection, hence the speaker’s fascination with meeting the spouse and saying the spouse is “mouthing worlds.” Worlds apart, these three characters that are all connected somehow has caused the speaker in the piece to stop listening and only hear and notice bits and pieces as their mind wanders over the connection. It makes me want to be a fly on the wall in this encounter. I’m also eager to know how Darling and Guess created the story and where the inspiration came from.

From Appendix A: Marginalia & Other Misc. Fragments

1. A rare variety of orchid, which was mounted and displayed on a silver placard.

2. She snipped the red flowers as the music began. Her fingers intertwined with the cold metal shears.

3. “I had wanted to free myself from the endless parade of feminine embellishments. Within every window the same bouquet of pink roses. Now a vase lies shattered at my feet.”

These three lines lead me to imagine a woman who is tired of living up to an ideal and uses cold hard slashing away in the literal sense, clipping flowers, then knocking over a vase of the things that she feels are a burden to her sense of identity, freeing herself literally in order to free herself emotionally.

If you enjoyed this sample, you may purchase a copy for $15.95 of X Marks the Dress A Registry by Kristina Marie Darling and Carol Guess at:

Thanks always for reading, please drop in again soon…

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