Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Minis: E.Lindner

Pitching A Fit In The Big City was partly a walk down memory lane for me, as I've been reading Ellen Linder's work since the very beginning of her career. This collects stories from 2001-2016, published in various minis and anthologies, as well as a couple of new stories. Lindner has always been a great writer in particular, even in her earliest stories like "Pieces", where she talked about the memory of her grandfather talking at her, cutting her to metaphorical bits because of her relative unimportance in the interaction. Lindner used a big, chunky line in the early days, like in her memoir about 9/11. It was a striking approach, but she's evolved and has used a number of different approaches. Her story about working at the Museum of Modern Art was fun because of the way she incorporated so many of the holdings as visual elements in her narrative.

Then there's "Hygienic Sex", a bawdy and hilarious memoir about a past relationship and its complications. Lindner's autobiographical tone has often had an amusingly formal feel to it, especially when she's deliberately trying to be funny. The tone is almost that of an old-time romance comic, paired with a raunchy and crude series of events. Lindner is a long-time city dweller, and her settings are often in flats, subways and the claustrophobic living conditions in a city. "What The Iguana Saw" was about dealing with a peeping Tom, an apathetic police response, and a totally random question asked by a cop. Lindner has a way of supporting funny moments, crystallizing the essence and leading it up to it with amusing details.

Lindner is also great at taking on a specific topic and building a story around it. In "Me And My Sari", Lindner talks about the garment given to her by her mother-in-law, the times she's worn it and why, and responses she's received by wearing it. "Bill Murray's Doughnut" is interesting because it details her experience as an extra on a film set, hoping for an encounter with Murray. A story about a facebook connection became interesting when she realized that a close friend of hers in England knew someone she dated in high school. Lindner took that coincidence and realized that a lot of negative perceptions she had about her experience weren't his fault. "Goodbye" was the most recent story in the issue and certainly the most devastating and raw. Here, Lindner talked about her tendency to used bake goods as a way of showing affection and recalling a time when a misunderstanding regarding this made an abusive ex-boyfriend flip out and put his hands around her throat. Lindner details her naivete and trusting nature, and how she was so baffled and stunned and hurt by the experience. Lindner then abandoned her typical, fluid line and switched to herself in the present day, drawn in a naturalistic style with a gray wash, as she talked about coming to terms with this story. This was a beautiful and haunting story that was a fantastic capper for this one-woman anthology, demonstrating Lindner's growth as an artist.

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