Just before leaving LA and moving back to Florida. A party, but not a goodbye party. A flatmate, Dorothea, and her boyfriend Robbie, and the narrator's non-boyfriend, Jake. A story of what to take with and what to leave behind. "It was fun to throw things down the trash chute," the narrator says, "as if down a rabbit hole and into some other universe, no longer in my domain, free and out of my control."
Brittany Ackerman's Some Kind of Party is a lyrical account of distress and attachment, a story about drifting away from places and people, work and objects, and the underlying hope to reconnect.
With photographs by Brittany Ackerman and Carl Bird McLaughlin.
Back at home, my roommate Dorothea is working on setting up for some kind of party. She’s still in getting-ready mode wearing sweatpants and a beautiful green sequin top. She’s putting flowers in a vase and asking me to help but she doesn’t really want my help. There are pink streamers taped to the doorframe as if the birth of a baby girl is being celebrated. An open bag of popcorn rests on the kitchen counter and a plastic container of fruit sits out too early. “Your medley should be kept cold,” I inform her. She says, her Guatemalan accent strong, “These are very big deal people.” I have a bad taste in my mouth from the chocolates. I cut open a lemon and suck on its flesh.
Part of me thinks the party is for me, a going away party. But no one is asking what I will do next. Dorothea is standing on the couch singing. Her voice is terrible but she knows it and makes it funny. She’s the happiest person I’ve ever met, despite her outbursts. She threw a cat at her ex-boyfriend once. She’s been known to break picture frames, furniture, hearts. She’s not afraid of anyone, even herself. I took a psychology class one semester in college even though I was an English major. I remember learning something about the shadow self, the part of one’s psyche we all have but don't like to confront or admit. I know my shadow is my crippling anxiety, the part that can barely get out of bed, that continues to destroy my life because I'm too weak to become the woman I'm meant to be. The pill is making me hot. I take off my hoodie and forget that I only have a sports bra underneath." [extracts from Some Kind of Party by Brittany Ackerman]
Publication date: 28 December 2021
Brittany Ackerman's debut novel, The Brittanys, it out now with Vintage. Her collection of essays, The Perpetual Motion Machine, won the 2016 Nonfiction Award and was published by Red Hen Press in 2018. She is a graduate of Florida Atlantic University's Master of Fine Arts program in Creative Writing.
Carl Bird McLaughlin's film Subsurface Flow won the Jury Award for Creative Achievement at the 2015 Arizona International Film Festival. He co-wrote and photographed LiTTLEROCK, and starred in David Nordstrom’s Sawdust City. He currently teaches at California Institute of the Arts.