An erotic novel in disguise, Willa Smart’s Switch Wish dwells in the tension between pause and play. From water striders and spiders to webs, stems, and stalks—the natural world abounds and is amplified through this narrator’s attention which moves via associative flow, inquiring into the power of spells, names, and their role in transformation.
A pause doesn’t reset the scene: pressing pause doesn’t unlatch the play button—both functions are on at once. Let’s pause right there, my analyst says. Water striders are great because they do the pausing for me. It’s easier to do the pausing than it is to get paused. That’s why I’m out here. I’m practicing for getting paused. I hope to get paused. The spacebar, the largest button on my keyboard by far, is the hotkey for pause. It’s the biggest because it’s the one most pleasant to press and because its function is elementary. I need to be reminded that doing the pausing is only the initial waypoint toward the wish of getting softly paused, of being made to go under the sway of that function. I’m practicing because that’s what a pause is: a rehearsal.–from Switch Wish by Willa Smart
Willa Smart was born in Idaho and is the author of numerous fantasies, insofar as one can claim to be the author of their own fantasies.
“We often forget that erotics can extend not only to other human bodies but into the world of things and non-human creatures. Smart’s Switch Wish is a welcome reminder, offering us a vivid account of the layered sensuality of their relations with plants, animals, and objects.” — Gordon Hall
“Like all my favorite art, Switch Wish resists easy summary. If there is a scene it’s a simple one. A body half immersed in water, daydreaming at the threshold between wet and dry. We meet them again and again, sinking and floating, sometimes in a lake, sometimes in a bath. But that’s not it. The book resists. Smart’s magic is how they build up associations while maintaining simplicity. How they entwine homonyms, and show how words and sensations coat one another, like mud does fingers, or gloss does lips. Read this to be resensitized to the erotics of everyday life. Give it to your crush. They won’t be able to pin down what you’re suggesting, but they’ll be enamored by the sensations these words transmit.” — Joni Murphy
“Beats Annie Dillard at her own game.” –Joseph Grigely