All along the watchtower-which he had never been on before and now that he was on it could not imagine what it was, or what it looked like, or what he looked like on the watchtower, other than the way he usually looked—Mr. Albemarle patrolled. At each end of his walk, or watch, or beat—he had no idea what you called the path he trod until the fog suggested he turn back and trod until the fog at the other end suggested he turn back again-Mr. Albemarle crisply about-faced, having seen and heard nothing. He was on the top of a wall, as near as he could tell, which was one of several walls, as near as he could tell, constituting a garrison, or fort, or prison, or, as near as he could tell, someone’s corporate headquarters. Where or how the term watchtower had obtained and why, he did not know. He was not on a tower, and if he watched anything it was that he not step off the wall into the cool gauzy air and fall he had no idea how far down onto he had no idea what. If he was on a watchtower…
Aisha Sabatini Sloan
Episode 22: “Form and Formlessness”
In an essay specially commissioned for the podcast, Aisha Sabatini Sloan describes rambling around Paris with her father, Lester Sloan, a longtime staff photographer for Newsweek, and a glamorous woman who befriends them. In an excerpt from The Art of Fiction no. 246, Rachel Cusk and Sheila Heti discuss how writing her first novel helped Cusk discover her “shape or identity or essence.” Next, Allan Gurganus’s reading of his story “It Had Wings,” about an arthritic woman who finds a fallen angel in her backyard, is interspersed with a version of the story rendered as a one-woman opera by the composer Bruce Saylor. The episode closes with “Dear Someone,” a poem by Deborah Landau.
Rachel Cusk photo courtesy the author.
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