Bed, by Tao Lin

29th January 2012

I didn’t finish the last third of Bed by Tao Lin, because it was bringing me down. But as you’ll see below, there were some lovely moments in the first bit, so don’t let my lack of initiative dissuade you.

The best parts of (the first two-thirds of) Bed, by Tao Lin:

Jesus loves you, he thought. But Jesus isn’t in love with you.

“If I gained thirty pounds,” Kristy said in bed, “would you still be with me?”
For love to work, Garret believed, you had to lie all the time, or you had to never lie at all. “I don’t know,” he said. You had to pick one and then let the other person know which you had picked. You had to be consistent, and sometimes a little stupid. “I can’t tell the future,” Garret said. “Obviously. Can you?”

Lucid as a tiny, soap washed moon.

Paul sees Mattie as she is going down the escalator and he is going up. They seem to look each other in the face. Mattie has an abstract expression, and Paul thinks of screaming her name, but then thinks that would be a bit ridiculous. Later, he thinks of just saying her name, at a normal volume. Of course, he thinks.

She grins a little. She reaches for the sugar, changes her mind, moves her hand to her water, changes her mind, brings her hand to her head, scratches behind her ear.

It was probably best not to think about your life, though — ever — Greg knew, but to just assume that it was there, and happening, to trust that it was out there, doing whatever it was that a life would do.

Greg stumbled for a bit, almost fell over. He had forgotten how to walk. Life was precarious like this.

Greg was one of those kids who, to avoid being seen eating alone, never sat in the cafeteria; was always carrying his lunch around, like someone lost or eccentric, looking for a safe place. He invariably ate in spots weird and badly-lit, spots ruthless with indignity — a dewy nook; an abstract, long-forgotten bench; an inexplicable room adjacent the bathroom, with prison bars instead of a door.

Sean looked at her teeth, the private collection of them, packed tightly inside of her small, elegant head, like a secret behind the face, a white and shocking hobby.

Vocab list:

Dugong — a large marine mammal which, together with the manatees, is one of four living species of the order Sirenia:

enjambment — the running on of the thought from one line, couplet, or stanza to the next without a syntactical break.

eschatologically — The branch of theology that is concerned with the end of the world or of humankind.

miasmic — A noxious atmosphere or influence.

pappy — soft and bland

4 thoughts on “Bed, by Tao Lin

  1. zan

    Maggie, I’m “fine” with you reading two-thirds of a “Tao” Lin “book” as long as you don’t start “putting” individual words in “quotation” marks or reading “Thought” Catalog.

  2. zan

    Wait! That sounded so “harshly” negative. Thank you for highlighting the beautiful passages. I applaud people highlighting the beauty in things! Signed,
    The “Constantly” Reexamining Zan

  3. norm

    I did not know the word “enjambment,” and I am really happy to learn of it. Thank you!

    Also I would like to point out that “eschatologically” would seem to be an adverb based upon “eschatology.” I’d be hard-pressed to use that in a sentence, but I’m willing to try. “Let’s talk about death,” he said, eschatologically. Or: “The end of humanity is in the future far past the end of all of our life spans, so it is eschatoillogical to talk about it.”

    I don’t know what’s got into me today, sorry.

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