Eleanor LermanJun 1, 2022
Mayapple Press 2021
Watkins Glen (Mayapple Press, 2021) is the story of Susan -- a woman in her sixties -- who finds herself taking care of her estranged older brother Mark, who has Alzheimer's. They are the children of a father who worked in his brothers' upholstery factory for most of the year but in the summers; escaped with his family to Watkins Glen; where he was the best outlaw drag racer in a town that primarily caters to high-end road racing. After a life spent in New York City; Susan has moved back to Watkins Glen where she takes her brother to live--temporarily; she thinks. In the throes of his illness; Mark has developed a rare but well-known symptom of dementia called Acquired Artist Syndrome; whereby people who have never even thought about painting suddenly become obsessed with the art. Once Mark gets to Watkins Glen; he becomes possessed by the idea that there is a Loch-Ness like monster living in Seneca lake and he begins painting the creature.
In this conversation we go far beyond the plot to discuss the balance of re-contextualizing memory while getting older, the importance of familial love and witnessing, fantasy and imagination, and dual landscapes. Lerman also shares a bit about her childhood in NYC, meeting Leonard Cohen, and the relationship with her brother.
Sarah Kearns (@annotated_sci) reads about scholarship, the sciences, and philosophy, and is likely drinking mushroom tea.