Adrian's Affinity

Robin Luce Martin

Stricken with shyness, I took a writing workshop to come up with a few paragraphs I planned to memorize and deliver on dates. However, my instructor gave the assignment to link sentences. I began, She looked away and continued, to my astonishment, for 82 pages—single spaced and without punctuation as I thought an editor did that, and then I promptly sent the pages to The New Yorker. I received a reply regarding my submission and its deconstructive attributes. Neither the editor nor I had any idea what I was doing, but soon after, I learned one was expected to punctuate.

Recent credits include the co-authored play “On the Street Where We Live” and the Eyelands 2020 International 3Rock prize, providing a foreign rights contract for the novel manuscript, Lizardmaid.

Honors for stories and novel excerpts include the 2009 Tennessee Williams Festival Story Prize (judged by Richard Ford and published in New Orleans Review), and Out Like a Lion, shortlisted for the 2017 Del Sol First Novel and the 2014 Dundee International Book Prize.

In 2015, co-founded, #YeahYouWrite, a monthly author series in New York City.

Fiction

Through the Hole

written by Robin Luce Martin

Nothing, but nothing, interrupts the daily quests that preoccupy the precious patrons and harried staff of New York City’s Upper East Side shop, Spanking Buttons, until the “Blonde Mace Attack” precipitates a collision and disappearance.

© 2021 Robin Luce Martin  | Recording © 2021 Rivercliff Books & Media. All rights reserved.

Read by AJ Ferraro

Each morning I stepped through the door of Spanking Buttons and paused for a moment, stunned by the beauty. I felt radiant in its glow—unique and charmed, safe in its empty serenity.

At night, I’m still subject to a recurring button dream where everyone, even long-gone Ivan, is gathered. But there is no gravity, no ceilings, and we collide with each other and with buttons that hurl through space like falling stars

 

Just then, a man swept in wearing a purple cape. Taylor helped him quickly find a button for his velvet trousers. He left Taylor his gold embossed card that read The Eleventh Earl of Athole. Quick with witty retorts, Taylor called after him, “Next time, bring all the little Atholes with you!”

Upon the policeman’s entrance, everyone began talking at once and giving their versions of what the headlines called THE UPPER EAST SIDE BLONDE MACE ATTACK. The policeman was ushered upstairs and served tea and truffles for his troubles, and tissues for his mace-induced tears.

Robin Luce Martin

Stricken with shyness, I took a writing workshop to come up with a few paragraphs I planned to memorize and deliver on dates. However, my instructor gave the assignment to link sentences. I began, She looked away and continued, to my astonishment, for 82 pages—single spaced and without punctuation as I thought an editor did that, and then I promptly sent the pages to The New Yorker. I received a reply regarding my submission and its deconstructive attributes. Neither the editor nor I had any idea what I was doing, but soon after, I learned one was expected to punctuate.

Recent credits include the co-authored play “On the Street Where We Live” and the Eyelands 2020 International 3Rock prize, providing a foreign rights contract for the novel manuscript, Lizardmaid.

Honors for stories and novel excerpts include the 2009 Tennessee Williams Festival Story Prize (judged by Richard Ford and published in New Orleans Review), and Out Like a Lion, shortlisted for the 2017 Del Sol First Novel and the 2014 Dundee International Book Prize.

In 2015, co-founded, #YeahYouWrite, a monthly author series in New York City.

Q&A with Robin

Tell us about your story...

Picture a shop employee who owns one pair of leather pants, lives alone, and is fast approaching age 40 as she navigates a typical frenzied workday alongside her equally on-the-verge coworkers.

Located on the swanky Upper East Side of Manhattan, Spanking Buttons caters to a select group—including fashion designers, movie stars, renowned authors, business tycoons, socialites, and button collectors. The clientele is fashionable, posh, famous, and infamous ranging from appreciators to those in need of that one elusive button.

When the fevered passions inhabiting this tiny world reach an otherworldly crescendo, the narrator finally makes a daring and magical exit.

What was the inspiration for this story?

One summer, I did inventory for an auction company at a frozen meat distribution center in South Los Angeles, counting pork chops. I spent 45 minutes in the freezer riding around on a forklift and then as much time thawing out in front of an electric heater. For extra income, I slept there at night on the office floor working as a guard—to guard the guard and make sure his friends weren’t invited to liberate the frozen meat. Though his friends never arrived, he alone provided many terrors, including setting off the alarms, which led to the L.A. SWAT team swarming the building.

I would not begin to write for several decades, but I believe using the workplace as fictional material germinated from that experience and my subsequent escape.

What have you read recently that you loved?

I am reading Kay Redfield Jamison’s Robert Lowell Setting the River on Fire: A Study of Genius, Mania and Character.

Her ability to conflate a life-time of mania and genius into a page-turner is dazzling and personally illuminating.

Someday I want to...

Spend a year walking from place to place


What do you like to do when you're not writing?

Right now, I am listening to the birds reclaim twittering.

Do you have any hidden talents?

You bet.

Do you have any guilty pleasures?

I like to follow strangers.

Tomorrow, I absolutely refuse to...

…give up.

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