I've had the distinct pleasure of reading Jericho Parms' work in awe for three years now, and I'm thrilled to see her essay "A Chapter on Red" in Hotel America's Spring 2013 volume.
Jericho does something I've seen few writers pull off: writing about art in a way that's neither arrogant nor stuffy. In fact, her writing - and this is what awes me - at its best manages to have both the elegance of fine crystal and the primal cut of a child's scream.
"A Chapter on Red" works in the tradition of Rothko, William Gass's On Being Blue, and Joni Mitchell's Blue (to name but a few), stringing multiple images, stories, and observances along the trope of a single color. In one of these pearls, Parms remembers busting out her front teeth diving for a ball on the sidewalk in front of her home in the Bronx with her brother, and the days afterward:
My brother brought his friends by after school to show off, like a crime scene, the place where my face stained the sidewalk, which was little more than an inkblot, or splattering of paint. And yet, it recorded, like evidence, my first lesson in glory and pain, of how quickly we fall between the two, how humbled we become by our own missteps.
And as if that weren't enough, the new issue of Hotel Amerika also includes essays by auteurs Joe Bonomo and Chris Arthur. Read up!