Haley Mlotek on Kate Zambreno’s Green Girl:
“THE REASON THERE ARE SO FEW stories about shopgirls is because we often frame what shopgirls sell—women’s efforts at self-creation—as indulgent and narcissistic, not as work, and so many people presume that there is not a lot of narrative drama in that experience. But what Zambreno knows, and writes so well, are the key elements that define the tense dynamics of every shopgirl’s experience: sedation, seduction, and surveillance.
Retail often feels like a physical, rather than a mental, employment. The employer needs shopgirls to talk and smile and interact with other people, which of course requires thought, but they are mostly paid to be present. Shopgirls are there in case people want to buy something; their day is entirely dependent on what happens in the hours they are on the sales floor.
The sedation sets in after a shift of little to no human interactions, in the hours between busy shopping periods, when their bodies are all that their employers require of them. Those are the hours when the small talk with coworkers, the careful avoidance of thinking about the pain in their legs, the two-fingered spacing between the wooden hangers, slow the body down and paralyze it. “To last throughout her shift she escapes outside of her body and lets it do all the work,” Ruth thinks. “Sometimes she is struck by the sense that she is someone else’s character, that she is saying someone else’s lines … by the end of her day her throat is dry from her constant spiel.””
The entire piece, HERE
It’s fun writing about Robert Altman’s ensemble casts because I get to characterize Tim Robbins’s face as “bulbous”
christen new notebook with Myles