Travel. Read. Linger. Is that the right word? Regardless. We were travel and now we are not. We were bed and beach and read and now we are riff, and muse, and verbiage. We are also collections, nonfiction essays with Legs Get Led Astray by Chloe Caldwell and poetry with Letters From Robots by Diana Salier. It is coincidental that we fell into these books at the same time, but we are not surprised to see that these two have recently read together because of what the work has in common - being young and searching, and all that goes with it, drinking, drugging, sex, pop culture, friendship, heartache, wandering, confusion, and the hunger to consume everything in front of you because it's in front of you and it's new and it must be experienced, tortuously deconstructed, left behind and found again.
There are differences though as well. Salier appears to be saying, these experiences are coming to you as observations, no emotion, no distraction, lived-in and sparse maybe, but happening from a remove. Because that's how robots, and artists, many, most, not all, relate, from a distant place, diligently distilling what they know down to words and images. Caldwell, however, has chosen to eschew anything that looks or presents itself as removing her words from anywhere or any emotion she may have ever experienced, and just how it was experienced, the sex, the drugs, the dumpy apartments, fucked-up dudes, and isolation. It's all there, right there, in front of you, for you to consume with her if you can stand not to turn away. Ultimately, if Salier is writing precise unvarnished letters from somewhere removed from a moment, Caldwell is taking pictures of each and every moment and refusing to airbrush them for our comfort.