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So You Know It’s Me

  • Image: Image
  • Book Type: Fiction
  • by: Brian Oliu
  • Date Published: 2011
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983562504
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 56pp
  • Price: $7.00
  • Review by: Gina Myers

The twenty-two prose pieces collected together in Brian Oliu’s So You Know It’s Me were originally published on the “Missed Connections” section of Tuscaloosa’s Craigslist, and as such they follow the form established there—titled by the location where the missed connection occurred and the tag M4W (man-for-woman). Because Craigslist deletes posts after 45 days, the pieces, which were published every other day, began to disappear just after the final piece went up. The ephemeral nature of the project parallels the ephemeral nature of the moments where connections were missed, where they continue to be missed.

Dedicated to Tuscaloosa, a town known for its love of football, the book opens with a missed connection from Bryant Denny Stadium: “Darling, in a sea full of crimson, you were the most crimson.” This opening piece, like many of the other pieces in the book, is full of the kind of hyperbolic statements one may use while courting someone but here are taken to another level:

When you shook your shaker, you shook everyone around you—their self-worth rattled: all inside the stadium uncertain of what has led them to this point, yet certain in their conviction: in following you, your cheers. Your hopes and dreams became their hopes and dreams: they forgot about their hunger for subpar stadium barbecue nachos, they forgot about other scores from around the SEC, they forgot about everything except what you wish, once wished, and will wish.

While a number of the pieces could be categorized similarly (pieces in which the speaker compliments the person of desire), others are more self-conscious, more about the speaker and his obsessions; one, “Friend of a Friend – Facebook, Tuscaloosa M4W,” discusses issues of death in the digital age, and others yet are self-reflective and address artifice, as in “M4W – 22 – Craigslist M4W”:

Make no mistake, this is about you. This is about you, sitting there, reading this. This is about you, touching the keyboard, reading this. This is about artifice—this is about you knowing that this isn’t about you. But make no mistake, this is about you. It has always been about you reading this, even though you have never read this, even though you are reading this for the first time.

Throughout the collection, Oliu uses language that is frequently used in missed connection postings, such as the oft repeated “Tell me [fill in the blank] so I know it’s you,” but through lyrical repetition—especially in “The End”—the language transcends the typical. Oliu’s missed connections were certain to have stood out from the others on Tuscaloosa’s (or any where’s) Craigslist. I can’t help but wonder if he received any responses back: Yes, that was me at Bryant Denny Stadium. I couldn’t help but notice you too.

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Review Posted on August 02, 2011

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