by Anca Szilagyi
We’re getting real excited for Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore’s performance at Hollow Earth Radio! Here’s an excerpt from “The Freezer Door,” the essay she will be reading on February 17 and the third installment of The Furnace Neighborhood, featuring work in which setting plays a central role.
Walking through Tashkent in the morning and doesn’t that sound romantic, but really it’s just a tiny park of dirt and dogshit, someone comes rushing up to me and says I hope this doesn’t sound weird, but I saw you on the bus the other day, and I really liked the way you dress. No, that doesn’t sound weird at all. He looks like the awkward best friend from one of those movies in the ‘80s except he was probably born in the ‘90s—in a month he’s flying to Bangkok to travel through Southeast Asia because he doesn’t know what he’s going to do with his life.
And then, as I’m getting closer to the real park, Volunteer, I mean I like everything about this park except its name in honor of the volunteers in the Spanish-American War, the way colonialism is always there, even when we’re looking at the trees and just as I’m about to enter the park I hear someone saying hell-lo! I look over, and there’s an older woman with curly gray hair in a sleek silver car, slowing down to stop the car behind her, and I think she’s going to ask for directions, but instead she says YOU. LOOK. FABULOUS.
And then I get a rush through my body, this is what I’m looking for, this feeling of feeling what’s going on inside, me…