Shopping Cart



Day 4

W-3 by Bette Howland

Chapter 3 (p. 46–66, to end)

October 22, 2022 by Lynn Steger Strong

Trudy! Her brashness, "like a cuckoo," standing on the table and pulling up her skirt, and then Howland's insertion, in the middle of this portrait, almost out of nowhere, "Try a little tenderness." A sentence seemingly from another world.

The ward is a closed loop: those present are considered, those who leave just disappear, the layers of time are malleable and mushy: Bette glimpses the Halloween sign, which recalls her admittance, then memories of her mother, then: "What hole in the earth had I fallen into?"

I want to talk about the meeting, the comic absurdity of it: "Trudy was right. This meeting sucks." But knocked up against the intrusion of the outside world, Bette's mother upending the rules; Bette's attempting to be seen by her sons, "And I felt like a ghost."

Sign up for A Public Space's Newsletter