For your summer reading pleasure, BURNAWAY brings you Just Like Suicide, a novel by artist Mery Lynn McCorkle, set in the Los Angeles art world. She writes from experience, having lived for years in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, when it still was the art frontier, and then LA; she now resides in Rome, Georgia. She describes the book as “a compendium of interlocking tales cataloguing self demolition and success in the Los Angeles art scene, from the point of view of artists, dealers and family members.”
We’ll post sequential chapters from McCorkle’s book every Wednesday and Friday over the summer (and on Monday’s beginning in August!). Or click here to buy the book now.
Maggie was in the gallery organizing a substantial pile of paper clips when Lori came in with the babies. Both little ones were buckled into a humongous, hideous bright yellow green carrier so wide it barely squeezed through the front door. Balancing precariously on top was a dark brown portfolio. Lori pushing the carrier was a sight to see, like watching a red headed ant move an oversized grape across a picnic table.
“Hey, Maggie. How are you? Is Odessa here?”
“Not this morning. She’s over at a luncheon in Malibu.”
“I bet she’s getting introduced to more film industry bigwigs. She’s such a go-getter, isn’t she? Look, I have some work to show her, to show both of you. Another bunch of drawings. You know she said she liked the last batch and wanted to see more. Did she sell any? Oh, that’s great. That’s really great. Any idea when the sales will be finalized? I know, I know. Maybe they’ll take both if they can’t decide which one? Do ask Odessa to call me when she knows. I know she’s really good about it. I’m terrible about calling. I should have called before bringing these in but if I don’t do something immediately, something always comes up to derail me. And I am excited about these. The last ones were ok but I think these show I’m back on track. Do you think I could leave these here so you two can take a peek at them and give me some feedback?”
Maggie said sure, she’d leave the portfolio on Odessa’s desk. “Are you painting again too?”
“Thank you for asking. I started a new series and had to stop before any of them were done. Believe it or not, I’m pregnant again. This is emphatically the last child. No more happy mistakes.”
Maggie said, “Well, at least you’ll get the diaper changing period over with.”
Lori sighed deeply, “I hadn’t thought of it that way. That’s actually something to look forward to it. Once you get them onto solid food, it’s amazing how much it stinks. Raising babies was definitely not the best time to get back a super acute sense of smell.” One of the little girls started whimpering so Lori bent over and distracted her with little nibbles on top of her head while pulling out juice bottles for each of them. She wrinkled her nose. “Oh, no, it’s not hunger they’re fussing about. They need changing. I’m going to take them back out to the van so I don’t stink up the gallery.” She smiled at them and then back at Maggie. “Thank you for passing the work on to Odessa. I’d be curious what you think of them too. Your comments about the last set I did were quite helpful.”
Maggie came out from behind the desk to hold open the door as Lori navigated the squirming girls outside. Maggie made faces at the little girls while opening up the van, staying outside to play with one toddler while the other one got changed. They were the spittin’ image of their momma. Big eyes, button noses. Maggie took the first one cleaned and buckled the little wiggle wort into her car seat, filling the little hands with brightly colored rattles, and then folded the stroller while Lori hummed an off key lullaby as she finished up with the second girl. For something so cumbersome looking, the baby carriage folded up neatly and easily.
“At one point my momma had three kids in diapers,” Maggie told her.
“How did she survive?”
“You get through it the best you can.”
“I know I shouldn’t complain. I’ve gone through worse things.”