Reading Matters

Kim Church’s ‘Partial Index’ of Patti Smith’s ‘M Train’

You never know what’s coming next from Raleigh novelist Kim Church. First, the publication in 2014 of the heart-wrenching, prize-winning novel, “Byrd.” Next I knew, The Sun magazine in Chapel Hill ran her poignant essay about the death of her ex-husband.

Now comes an ingenious something-or-other in The Believer, a San Francisco-based magazine of essays, interviews and reviews. Maybe you’d call what Church wrote a poem. Or a proem. Maybe it’s a clever treatise. Whatever it is, it’s based on an alphabetical listing of certain words and/or subjects in Patti Smith’s memoir “M Train.” A partial index.

For instance:

malaise: 25, 28, 91, 208

marinated beans: 151

migraine: 120, 148

milk: 121 (”The air was perfect, like milk.”)

milky corpuscles: 179

milky light: 36, 148

This is the kind of creativity possible when the mind is relaxed, confident and a leaning a bit daffyward.