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Baker’s Pick
Liz Nazer


Her stories were all written with mundane plots. The protagonists were often lonely, brooding characters exiled from excitement. I often wondered if her writing was this way because she wanted to make her own boredom beautiful, her way of excusing herself from taking any risks herself by romanticising routine.

But she wrote about making love beautifully. It is difficult to write well about this. The most important act in the world to everyone in the world, and yet the most difficult thing to write about without producing something that deserved to be sold in the bargain bin. There have been booby prizes given to A-grade writers who write about sex badly, talking about earthquakes and quivering mountains. But she wrote about in a way that really did make your spine tingle. Reading about it was almost as good as doing it. In fact, it is difficult to write about how her sex writing made you feel without producing something that deserved to be sold in the bargain bin.

She sent me her stories in envelopes, stuffed with pretty, miscellaneous things like pressed flowers, colourful leaves and pretty buttons. She really excelled in the art of letter writing. I am glad no one had told her about texts or emails. Or maybe they had told her and she had decided that they were soulless and she had decided to ignore them. Fortunately she wasn’t irritating enough to handwrite all her stories. Her handwriting was beautiful and totally illegible. I think she deliberately favoured vocabulary rich with is and consonants with tails, like gs and ys.

I wondered how she got so good at writing about making love. I didn’t know her very well, I had only met her the once and since then she only sent me letters, so I saw her as a conglomeration of her central characters, who had their converging features. I knew she lived somewhere in a corner of Wales, and that she lived outside a little hamlet of houses that was outside a little village. She was remote even from the hub of the remote. But she was so adept at the art of letters and I wasn’t sure of her employment situation, so maybe she simply spent time conducting her affairs with the assistance of the local postman. I imagined her as an exiled artist, with her own postman, like that film, Il Postino, with Pablo Neruda. Though I don’t think she was revolutionary. She wasn’t that earth-shattering. She wouldn’t flirt with Stalinism, make friends with Yeats. She wrote about the lonely young man who collected petals and knew the songs of all the birds that visited his birdfeeder, or the old woman who stuck love notes in the top of the milk bottles for the milkman (whom she never saw because she was blind and agoraphobic).

I didn’t care what she was. She told sensual, banal stories. Knowing anything else would ruin it.
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24-year-old housewife with 8-week-old baby girl, wondering why people are so put off by the term ‘housewife’, and so much more interested in the degree in Law and Anthropology she completed last year and the career she may go on to pursue. Finding motherhood just as challenging as her previous positions as life model, ESOL teacher, advice worker and care assistant and her travels to Uganda in 2002. Lives near Kilburn, London. Likes writing, drawing, walking, cooking and cooing at her daughter. E-mail: lizzynazer[at]yahoo.co.uk

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