Thursday, April 20, 2006

Favorite Lead of the Month

From the Winter '06 issue of the much-celebrated, too-little-known Oxford American, a lovely, lyrical magazine about the American south. This is the first paragraph of a story by Andrew Hudgins: Unmentionable--the Secret Life of Skimpies, Scanties, Teddies and Panties:

'As a boy, I dreamed about women's underwear, even though I had never seen any. I assumed that once I slid a pair down the length of a girl's legs surely goodness and mercy would follow me and I would dwell in the house of the Lord for, well, at least an afternoon. Hours of almost deranged ingenuity were spent elaborating this fantasy. But nothing in my reveries prepared me for the casual familiarity I now regularly enjoy with women's intimate apparel. Not a single one of my rich and lurid visions prepared me for the sublime reality of--I can hardly believe this--sorting my wife's panties into whites and colors, washing them, drying them, and then folding them into neat triangles, which I then place on her dresser bacause I am still too shy to pursue the final intimacy of opening her underwear drawer and laying them down beside their clean sisters.'

To review earlier Leads of the Month, click here and here. Sorry that we seem to have skipped a month (April). We'll just be sure to make up for it with two or more next time. Lord knows, we regularly come across enough great writing (on the web and off) to be able to do this feature weekly, or perhaps even daily. But we'll just have to wait till the Working With Words intern is aboard before we get that ambitious...


At 2:24 PM, Anonymous MilesB said...

Love that lead, especially the Biblical reference to goodness and mercy... dwelling in the house of the Lord, etc.

And the New Yorker post was also very good. Gotta read that more often than I do now.

At 11:10 AM, Blogger Youngstown Pride said...

You mean you can't tempt a freshman comm. or english major from Carroll into that intern job? Probably beats working at the rec. desk.

At 12:02 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Miles, I agree. That play on biblical language, with its perfect poetic cadences, and in such a foreign context (women's undergarments, of all things) turned this from a merely great passage to a sublime one. At least for me.

And note to my Youngstown friend: I was (mostly) joking about the intern, though that may be in the offing eventually. Till then, I want the kind of intern that Kramer had in the immortal "Seinfeld" episode: the kid who called from across the hall to confirm lunch plans with Jerry, seconds before Kramer burst into his apartment. Now, that's the kind of help I could really use.


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