Here is an excerpt from her short story, "The Skeleton's Holiday":
It happened one day that the skeleton drew some hazelnuts that walked about on little legs across mountains, that spit frogs out of mouth, eye, ear, nose and other openings and holes. The skeleton took fright like a skeleton meeting a skeleton in bright daylight. Quickly he had a pumpkin detector grow on the side of his head, with a day side like patchouli bread and a night side like the egg of Columbus, and set off, half-reassured, to see a fortune-teller.What the what?? Was that just a well-played game of Mad Libs? That's the end of the story, by the way. Leonora Carrington was deeply interested in spiritualism, alchemy, and the occult, and apparently she used a lot of code words to dictate meaning to her art, so I will probably never know what meaning she hopefully intended with her writing. At least not without more research on the subject than I am willing to participate in.
But as crazy as they are, I'm actually kind of enjoying these surreal short stories. As readers, we're used to a predictable progression of words, building sentences with understandable meaning that form stories with a beginning, middle, and an end. Reading about a philosophical skeleton who likes to play dirty tricks for no discernible reason (and for what it's worth, the excerpt I posed was really the most extreme thing I saw--it's not all quite that nuts!) or a three hunters cursed so that all their trophies turn into sausages--well, they're not nearly as satisfying and it's certainly not for everyone, but as an occasional detour, I think they're worthwhile just for the marvelously bizarre imagery.
What do you read when you want to switch gears?
|Self Portrait, 1937|