Church Camp Romance, Age 14

Nonfiction / Anna Joy Springer

:: Church Camp Romance, Age 14 ::

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From the writer

:: Account ::

These three pages from the longer piece, “Church Camp Romance, Age 14,” are maybe the most pointedly abject in content and form—they are something like comics with no cartoons, bubbles, or frames. Whose plea does the “Do you hate me now?” become, now thirty years old on toucan stationary? As a smudged surface of weirdly controlled and controlling impulses that also stage a gendered and compulsive submissiveness, the slanted, drunken, handwritten text evokes contagion, like the toxic vapors described at the beginning of a history of madness. It contains actual lies to make me seem “worse.” I was daring God in a plea to be my servant and marry me, intervene and save me from men, from being their thing, from the obvious narrative outcome. And do I dare God, now, confessing this? What happens to dried-up old scanned-in abjection? Does it continue to leak even as it seems static, already past? Does the digital surface whereupon this picture of a real letter appears have a sanitizing, historicizing, archival effect? Does it transform its reader into an unchanging object, a coolly disengaged “not-it?”


Anna Joy Springer is a writer, visual artist, and teacher. Her books are The Vicious Red Relic, Love (Jaded Ibis, 2011) and The Birdwisher (Birds of Lace, 2009). Anna Joy has created many recordings with the bands Blatz, The Gr’ups, and Cypher in the Snow, and has performed throughout the U.S. and Western Europe. She works as an Associate Professor of Literature at University of California, San Diego and lives in Los Angeles.