Behind the Longreads: Antonia Crane on ‘Yellow,’ Our Latest Member Pick

(photo by teejayfaust, Flickr)

This week’s Member Pick is “Yellow,” a story by Antonia Crane about the days following the death of her mother. The piece will be featured in Black Clock #17 this summer and is adapted from her forthcoming book Spent. We asked her to tell us how the story first came together:

“‘Yellow’ actually began as a love letter to Cheryl Strayed’s essay ‘The Love of My Life’ (The Sun, Issue #430) which begins ‘The first time I cheated on my husband, my mother had been dead for exactly one week.’ I had become fixated on that essay because in it, Strayed’s palpable sorrow contained a sexually reckless rhythm that I related to as a dancer and sex worker. My own mother died of cancer two months into grad school and I was raging with grief. At that time, I quit my half-assed personal assistant jobs and chose to sit in the dark for two years at ‘Pleasures.’

“A lifelong dancer and athlete, I was more comfortable hurling my body at the world than eating or buying toothpaste. I remember that I could go strip or meet a client for money, but I could not remember to pick up toothpaste no matter how many times I wrote in on my hand with a black Sharpie. I came home one afternoon to a Walgreens bag on my doorknob with Crest in it and bawled.

“Strayed’s essay modeled the utensils I sought to stir up my own concoction of rage and loss that was tearing at my skin. I’m grateful she allowed me to cook in her kitchen. I was mourning my mother. I was dancing; and I wrote like a motherfucker.”

Read an excerpt of “Yellow.”

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