Emma Cline | Five Things Right Now

Golden foliage and backyards abutting total wildness, a certain quality of late afternoon light. There was nothing remotely sexual between us – I hugged him hello and I hugged him goodbye.  
2. He was a very wealthy tech guy, someone who funded a lot of arts programs in the area, paid for all of his employee’s kids to go to college, supported emerging artists, and, it appeared, took an interest in young women struggling to type on broken electronics. It was a business card with a phone number scrawled on the back. The photos alone are amazing, but it’s also interesting to see the range of contributors, like April Greiman and Matt Groening. I love the dogs in one of his porn set photos, these four pitbulls trailing after a porn actress in a robe, a light on a stand in the foreground. She shares five things she’s reading, watching and thinking about right now. She   is one of our 2017 Best of Young American Novelists. He offered to pay my rent and expenses for a while so I could work on writing full-time. Her clean prose and nimble brain takes on these questions in fascinating ways. It interested me in the way lots of things interested me in my early twenties – I sold a pair of underwear on Craigslist to see what it was like, I hitchhiked to prove to myself that I could. They put out an anthology in 2012 that is a good alternative to trying to track down old copies of the magazine on eBay. I passed a juice place the other day with a sign in the window Your Juice Matters. What if people found blunter ways to meet their emotional needs? We went out to dinner sometimes when he wanted company.  
3. S. Sultan seems to take on that strange part of California that is both deeply manufactured and deeply human. The Answers by Catherine Lacey
When I was twenty-one, my laptop broke and would only operate when kept at a certain angle – I couldn’t see the screen, but I could still type, and every morning I went to the same coffee shop to work, plugging away at my broken keyboard. I love her spooky voice, the way she plays with these old-fashioned sounds but at a remove, like she keeps the nostalgia in quotation marks. Weyes Blood, Front Row Seat to Earth
I’ve been listening to this album a lot recently. Besides WET, Koren has written a lot of books, among them Undesigning the Bath and Arranging Things: A Rhetoric of Object Placement – as expected from someone identified as an ‘aesthetics expert’, the books themselves are beautiful objects, a pleasure to have in your hands. was just a lonely, generous man, looking for a version of friendship that was both more and less straightforward than one he could achieve by other means. I could only imagine tawdry situations, but S. Larry Sultan
His photographs are so close to a certain way I imagine California in my mind.  
1. This was how I met S. As ludicrous as it is to see the gurus and the mystical potions, it’s strange to think about the ways these values have only gone mainstream and corporate. WET, the Magazine of Gourmet Bathing
WET was a magazine started by Leonard Koren in the seventies. There’s so much banal artifice in the picture, and then this woman and these dogs who have this real mythic spookiness about them.  
Artwork © WET the magazine of gourmet bathing, 1979 turned out to be a wholly benign kind of benefactor – he bought me a new computer. I Want it All Now! Emma Cline is the author of The Girls, shortlisted for the 2016 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, the 2016 John Leonard Prize from the National Book Critics Circle and the 2016 LA Times Book Prize. A friend just sent me a link to this incredible and deeply weird documentary made by NBC News in 1978. The SFMOMA is showing a retrospective of his work through the end of July. All this is to say that Catherine Lacey’s new novel, The Answers, about an experiment run by a wealthy man looking to pay young women to supply his various requirements for a girlfriend, felt particularly interesting to me for the ways it considers some of these questions – what if the messy parts of relationships could be segmented into a new format? One morning, when I got up to leave, the barista stopped me to tell me that someone had left a note for me.  
5. It’s a very fun report from the front lines of the narcissistic seekers of Marin County, complete with chardonnay, open marriages, and the Human Potential Movement. She sounds a little like Dillard and Clark, a little like the Gram Parsons dream.