The Essayist

Aggregated long-form essays from the world's best writers and publications.

Feet in Smoke

by John Jeremiah Sullivan (via LF)

On the morning of April 21, 1995, my elder brother, Worth (short for Elsworth), put his mouth to a microphone in a garage in Lexington, Kentucky, and was—in the strict sense of having been “shocked to death”—electrocuted. He and his band, the Moviegoers, had stopped for a day to rehearse on their way from Chicago to a concert in Tennessee, where I was in school at the time. Just a couple of days earlier, he had called to ask if there were any songs I wanted to hear at the show. I requested something new, a song that he’d written and played for me the last time I’d seen him, on Christmas Day. Our holidays always end the same way, with my brother and me up late, drinking, trying out our new “tunes” on each other. There is something almost biologically satisfying about harmonizing with a sibling. We’ve gotten to where we communicate through music, using guitars the way fathers and sons use baseball: as a kind of emotional code. Worth is seven years older than I am, an age difference that can make brothers strangers, and I’m fairly sure the first time he ever felt we had anything to talk about was the day he caught me in his basement bedroom at our old house in Indiana, trying to teach myself how to play “Radio Free Europe” on a black Telecaster he’d forbidden me to touch.

Read this article                                                                         Share/Bookmark

  1. skepticalorangutan reblogged this from essayist and added:
    Read. This.
  2. garrettpeace reblogged this from essayist
  3. onehundreddollars reblogged this from essayist and added:
    John Jeremiah Sullivan once again showing he’s better than you.
  4. essayist reblogged this from thearchitrave and added:
    To celebrate his forthcoming essay collection, Pulphead, here’s a hardy Essayist perrenial from John Jeremiah Sullivan....
  5. thearchitrave reblogged this from essayist