I wouldn't say I was hesitant to read Stephen Wright's Amalgamation Polka, but I couldn't stop thinking about the Boston comic, Stephen Wright. Yes, I kept hearing the monotone Wright and his dry, "Why do you park in a driveway and drive on a parkway?" But I overcame my strange momentary apprehension and picked up Amalgamation at the library last week. Good move. Each sentence is sewn together with beautiful words, seemingly plucked from the sky or picked out of a thesaurus that I've never seen. The storytelling is old story telling, with a modern sense of the world.
Last night, my dears as often occurs in someone of my advanced years, I experienced some difficulty sleeping. The mind, you should understand, possesses a will of its own that not even prayer can always correct. So, as is my custom on such occasions, I sat for many an hour in my rocker in the parlor window, watching the dead wandering like fireflies among the stones of the cemetery across the valley. They can't sleep either, poor things. They're here with us, you know, every minute of every hour. No, no, don't bother twisting your necks about. You cannot see them from where you are sitting. If you could step outside yourselves even for a moment and view the world through your spiritual eye, then all would be instantly apprehensible. This is heaven, children. We have, each blessed one of us, already been translated. Our earthly senses are like blinders beguiling us from the truth.
Is Ma'am L'Orange speaking to us or the kids, her students? It comes through the page as if we were the ones being preached to by an old, somewhat daft lady. Though she was out of her senses, I'm sure we've all been told worse stories than her beautiful elegy.
From now on, it's breath Stephen Wright, author, in and Stephen Wright, comedian, out.