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Aug 26, 2022·edited Aug 26, 2022Author

This is getting embarrassing. I keep accidentally liking my own posts. I am hitting the button by mistake!

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Hi, Mary. My name is Chris Lynch and I write primarily Young Adult books. I sort of met you way back...we were both NBA finalists in 2005. A writer friend forwarded me this piece, knowing that, and what a freak for Edinburgh I am. I moved out of boston 20+ years ago and now live in the west of Scotland. But Edinburgh is the greatest place I know. Especially the cemeteries. And you nailed it. Thank you.

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You're welcome Chris. Glad to reflect your enthusiasm for EBurgh back to you!

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Aug 27, 2022Liked by Mary Gaitskill

What a great picture. The black centre looks like some kind of Lovecraftian creature nestling, resting.

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Wonder what the inscription says? Just RIP or some epitaph?

Looking at this, i was wondering about memorials -- small ones, 'concrete' ones, their beauty and poignancy. In India, mostly, the dead are not interred but cremated and their ashes scattered. It is said to liberate the dead (moksha in Hinduism and Buddhism) but for the living there is often no closure. There is even no place (a cemetery, a tomb) where you can go back to for consolation when the loss becomes too much to bear, as it sometimes does.

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glad you’ve been enjoying the UK Mary, this cemetery reminds me of a similar one we have here in London - Abney Park. It was a real pleasure meeting you at Daunt Books. Looking forward to the new piece !

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Aug 26, 2022Liked by Mary Gaitskill

Thank you Mary. Scotland is gorgeous x 100.

Maybe you can make it up to the highlands, or one of the Hebrides Islands? Skye is truly transcendent.

Your work has been important to me. Long ago, I met you at the Fine Arts Work Center, circa 1988 I believe? I was the partner of Gerald Peary at the time, a journalist from Boston who interviewed you post Bad Behavior..

you signed a first edition to me after the reading.. ( I became a fellow at FAWC in visual art in 1992)

Anyway, thanks for your blog.

In another life, I think we would be friends..

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I'd love to spend more time in Scotland. If I make it back maybe we will meet again.

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Aug 27, 2022Liked by Mary Gaitskill

Mary, I don't live in Scotland, have o ly traveled there. Was in Boston and for years,now in Southern Maine (York) ..if you are ever passing through...look me up. Thanks again for your fine writing. Mary B.

www.marybehrens.com

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Hello, Mary B--I don't spend much time on social media, but a friend forwarded this piece to me, and now I've written an unprecedented TWO replies. One was to Mary G above because we crossed paths as National book award finalists in 2005. And now, to you, because I was a student in the Suffolk journalism department in the early 80s when Gerry taught there. I had one directed study with him and it was among my best experiences at the school. Good guy, among a very mixed bag staff-wise.

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Chris, that's great!

Gerry and I are still good friends even after 25 years!

I'll let him know of your commment! All best, Mary B.

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I noticed we have another cross reference point, as I taught in the MFA creative writing program at Vermont a few years after you were there. Cheers, Chris.

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"If you are someone who’s ever loved a small-city local legend that got chewed up by the impossible-ness of their existence, or evaporated in the mist of their own gorgeousness before they could become part of the bigger world"...Oh, how I long to be the kind of person who feels the things that this sentence describes.

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Mary, your SStack voice is very fun & childlike, I feel very loved by it. Thank you!

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You're welcome!

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how dare you !

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Aug 27, 2022·edited Aug 27, 2022

The bit about the imaginary punk band makes me think of two things:

Jorge Luis Borges, who wrote reviews of imaginary books so he could discuss the ideas without having to write the actual text. (Though maybe he was inspired by Sartor Resartus...)

The trope among people writing retro tabletop roleplaying games (think Dungeons & Dragons) in the style of the 1970s to claim (usually tongue-in-cheek without intent to actually deceive) they were 'secretly rediscovered' documents from that era. (Encounter Critical, a gonzo parody of the style, comes to mind.) There's one (Revised Mazes & Minotaurs) that's an 'alternate history' where the game was made using Greek mythology as an inspiration instead of Tolkien and mid-20th-century pulp fiction.

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Mad complicated! That is great about Borges, also like the distinction between claiming something tongue-in-cheek as opposed to intending to actually deceive.

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You have a lovely and unique voice. Something calming about this post, and it arrived on the day my favorite aunt passed away. Her father’s (my grandfather’s) side of the family came from Scotland, and I hope to visit there someday.

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I'm sorry that you lost your aunt, I hope her passing was peaceful. I'm glad that you connected with my post.

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Thank you!

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Hello!

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