Kathy Conde’s “Georgia Nights” is a beautiful full circle type of story–like in the span of a few moments, traversing an entire year’s seasons. This story is swollen with cull and cultivations. “Georgia Nights” keeps us with it as it shares and unveils its details.
Conde’s writing is always bodily. Somatic. Presence as such physical sense. This work is not really psychic and not obsessively semantic either. It is a work of content. Content that divulges itself slowly in the same way that I wish for pleasure to be slow. An example of this somatic content is apparent as we see Conde’s character, Alice, begin to be revealed: Alice “started going days without eating, an effort at control which she could hide because the family never ate meals together.” With this type of sentence we are instantly located in the realms of Alice. The body of Alice. Alice’s feelings. Alice’s freedoms being pressured by Alice’s parents. Alice’s streaks toward control of her individual, necessary myopia (which will later pan out in the story as Alice leaving to drive while high and crashing her father’s car)—these somatic-content details are what keep the story healthy. By healthy I mean with lipids. I mean a dovetailing of human lipids and Qi.
In the realm of bodily (somatic) content there are also many phrases of this type of quality in the story: “he knew her body. Zeke always wanted in fast, like he was dying to get home, to claim his territory.” These types of expressions are erotic and grounding. We can imagine ourselves there, with Zeke or with Alice. We can imagine being entered to be fucked, maybe a little too quickly. We wonder about the presence of Alice’s orgasms or not: “they would get naked in the sweltering night, their arms and legs wrapped around each other, and smoke a joint. If he was hungry for her, he’d take her on her knees with those ravenous stars swirling over them”. We wonder. “Georgia Nights” makes us wonder. Wonder here as another way to say compelled.
“The smell of dogwood blossoms came pouring in the open windows and mixed with the smell of leather and sweat”–“there were dark puddles on the ground like something huge had bled”–“her father became immensely still and grounded, like a man who has gone beyond the tribulations of this world and can afford to slow down and help others get through shocking difficulties”—these locutions curve. They have color and feeling in them. They touch us as we are gripping to the qualities of the characters which make the particular felt quality of this story.
It is no surprise that like any blood and body story wherein human content gets examined as it is being lived, Conde manages to brilliantly leave us with a main character’s decision to at least temporarily forego passions for the sake of possibly knowing something like embodied mercy. Please read this story. Read it to grow up too fast and suddenly find yourself choosing to slow down before you miss something crucial. Read it to know how you want to be entered by your own future lover.