Tuesday, May 19, 2020


Giulietta Masina, La Strada

Do you think about things while you're showering or focus on your shower? he asked. She was combing out her wet hair, already anxious about going to bed too early. With wet hair. What? she asked, as was her wont. Or what. She had a hard time picking up the lower register of his voice, of any voice really. It was one of those things that she'd noticed in the last year or so along with the tiny age spots at the base of her right thumb. She wouldn't do anything about it. Do you think about things while you're showering or focus on your shower? She leaned over, picked up her clothes from the floor and dropped them into the hamper. I don't focus on the shower, she said. She felt vaguely irritated at the question. She wondered if she wanted to be unknowable. But I don't really focus on much these days anyway. He asked, What do you think about? What did she think about? The peeling paint at the top of the tiles, the gray spots on the ceiling that she couldn't reach to clean, her perpetual disappointment, the way the tile felt on her forehead where she rested it, the water streaming down her back. I cry in the shower sometimes she said. But not tonight. He put his phone down and turned to his side. She didn't tell him that she'd been thinking of Giulietta Masina's face in the Fellini movie, her devotion to the strongman, however cruel, how she climbed into the back of the carnival truck with the mermaid on the side to serve him, how she ultimately went mad, her love and devotion abandoned, all the magic and superstition and miracles.


  1. Zampano ends up drunk in the sand. It took him awhile to recognize the loss of Gelsomina, No matter how strong we think we are, the incoming tide is stronger.

    1. "If you won't stay with him, who will? I'm an ignorant man, but I've read a book or two. You may not believe it, but everything in this world has a purpose."

  2. Does anyone really focus on the shower? Perhaps when it's cold and the warm water feels so good. What an interesting question.
    What a beautiful post.

  3. Brilliant nourishing thirst quenching compelling writing please more please.

  4. Thought provoking. What does anyone really think about?

  5. An interesting question... I focus on the Shower... now I'm wondering Why?

  6. this writing is so vivid -- I was seeing a scene in a movie here.

  7. That question could be a koan.

    It's been some time since I've thought about "La Strada" and Giulleta Masina's face in which there is no guile, but I used to think about Gelsomina frequently. Seeing her, with the mermaid above her head, at the top of your post brought a torrent of memories that soon flowed into memories of the closing scene of "400 Blows" and then I could heard Bob Dylan singing,

    "O the French girl she's in paradise, and a drunken man is at the wheel ..."

  8. This is a lovely short short story. Thanks, Elizabeth. I am glad to find you here writing today. x0x0N2

  9. That IS an interesting question. I pay some attention to the shower but I suspect my mind is also elsewhere, and since I have iTunes playing while I shower I'm also singing! So, yeah, not a lot of focus.

    You asked about books for 12-14 year old boys. You might check out the authors Neil Shusterman and Pete Hautman. They both write YA fiction good for that age group. Shusterman's book "Dry" would be very topical for you, as it's set in Southern California and deals with water shortages. Some fairly harsh scenes of dystopian existence, but fine for young teens, I'd say. (Read it yourself first just to make sure you agree!)

  10. A haunting portrait of intimacy, that's how this struck me, the continuation of randomly intimate discourse implied. Loved this.

  11. Beautiful writing. I loved Fellini o so long ago and his little waif-ish wife. Juliette of the Spirits, La Dolce Vita, 8 1/2, Nights of Cabiria. I don't even think I knew what was going on in those movies. Now I want to see them again. Fellini and Kurosawa.

    Those were masterworks.

  12. Given that that's what you were thinking about, in fairness, it was a pretty good question.



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