Thursday, April 16, 2009

On "Indelible Ink" by Elizabeth Corcoran (6555 words) ***

Slap Elvis in a story or a movie, and there's an automatic kitsch factor, but also--at least for me--an odd hypothetical appeal. I say "hypothetical" because I am not actually an Elvis fan, and although I've played with the idea of going to see an Elvis impersonator a few times, I've never actually gotten around to doing it. Such a visit seems more interesting hypothetically than I fear it would be in real life, just as going to see a beauty pageant does or attending a Star Trek convention. I fear, after the first few minutes, my curiosity satiated, I'd find myself bored and wanting to leave. (I could be wrong--a trip to a wrestling match a few years ago proved to be a highlight of the year.)

Perhaps, one of the graceful marks of Corcoran's story is that she has actually induced me to want to see Elvis's homeplace. I had the opportunity, certainly, having lived in Oxford, Mississippi, and having taken several trips into Memphis for various "big city" needs. (Memphis was not a city I enjoyed, which in turn probably colored any remote desire I may have even had to see Elvis's home. I listened with pleasure to people who talked of their visits to Graceland II, in Holly Springs--trips they enjoyed even more than trips to the original Graceland--but such stories never compelled me to actually want to go inside, this despite actually being directly outside the place one evening with time to spare, for what reason I don't remember.)

But also at work here, in Corcoran's piece is something about friendship and home and the choices we make that may have indelible consequences. And those themes, of course, are more important than any kitsch that forges the surface portion of a story. Read the piece here, at Carve Magazine.

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