Sunday, June 10, 2007

The New Yorker: "Roy Spivey" by Miranda July

I am not familiar with Miranda July's work except for her hilarious website promoting her new book. Certainly this story is clever, especially in its opening, where the speaker is coy about who the celebrity is she sat next to on a flight. Roy, not his "real" name, gives her a phone number written across some pink curtains in a Skymall catalogue, except it's incomplete in case it should fall into the wrong hands. She has to memorize the last number, which is "four" and as a result the number/word becomes both a lucky number and a mantra in her life. Years later she comes across the slip of paper with the pink curtains and feels the loss of a missed opportunity. An enjoyable read, but ultimately not satisfying either in its structure of the speaker's realization.

June 11 and 18, 2007: "Roy Spivey" by Miranda July.

23 comments:

angelle said...

oh i loved this story. i thought it was so simple and clever and still it tugged at my heartstrings. but that's just me.

Rick said...

Hearts don't have strings. That's the thing.

Ciuda said...

I thought it was a lovely story too. I have several ideas of who the guy might be...h

Pragya said...

Finally found someone talking about this story! It isn't even available on The New Yorker website!

I liked how the story treats these moments of paralysis when your brain tells you to do something and you still don't move...keep piling on so many missed opportunities.

Pragya

Andrew said...

have a heart man - i'm a dude and even i felt like smacking her for not following up, and subsequently like crying - who the heck is roy spivey?!

Ander said...

Roy Spivey is the name she used for a movie actor she sat next to on the plane, an actor known for playing spies. "Roy Spivey" wasn't his real name, but it was almost an acronym for his real name. It's all there in the text. We don't blame you, though, for overlooking this in your excitement.

Anonymous said...

its Steve Martin in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Not an acronym but an anagram...

Anonymous said...

I have a hunch that "Roy Spivey" is "Peter Graves." After all, she says it's "almost" an anagram, and encourages us to "think espionage."

Anonymous said...

Okay, I need to retract the Peter Graves suggestion, based on the "Hollywood heartthrob married to a starlet" comment. I'm now leaning toward Vin Deisel, but who knows? Maybe this has all been revealed and I'm just behind the times.

Clifford Garstang said...

The question has generated a great deal of discussion, and the story is still attracting many visitors here. I have no idea who Roy Spivey is and as far as I know his identity has not yet been revealed. Is it possible that the "fact" that the character is based on a real person was meant simply to stir interest?

hblask said...

How about David Niven... he played a spy, and was a hearthrob, and the name is a pretty good match.

I don't see that he married a starlet, or had a TV series, but it could be who inspired the otherwise fictional story.

Anonymous said...

It is Jason Kidd that is Roy Spivey!! Roy Kidd was married to an actress, but she pressed charges for domestic abuse towards Jason, that's why she didn't call him.. / Anders

Anonymous said...

she also mentions that Roy Spivey is now the father of 12 children - sounds like Steve Martin. I don't know about David Niven or Jason Kid.

Anonymous said...

There is no "Roy Spivey". The story is a work of fiction. And well done considering how many people think it is true.

Anonymous said...

another clue is given at the end of the text, Rob Spivey is older, but playing the father of 7 rascally kids. If the charactor is based on a real moviestar, then it could be a good clue, but I haven't maneged to figure it out yet.

Anonymous said...

I was inclined to think that it's a fictional character, but then when I reread the story, it said "he played the father of 12 rascally kids."

The movie is Cheaper by the Dozen, starring Steve Martin.

Anonymous said...

Steve Martin all the way
#convinced
##iamright

Mark Richardson said...

People: get over yourselves. Roy Spivey is not a real person. It was a short "fiction" story, not a "Personal History." Still, a great story. I recently listened to Miranda July read her story collection, No one belongs here more than you. The stories are so good. Weird, sexually, fun. I highly recomend it.

Passica.com said...
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gro ver said...

If her story is based on an actual encounter years ago, it quite probably was Steve Martin, I agree. When I first saw the comment about "Roy" playing the Dad of seven rascally kids, I thought, seven kids...who had seven kids....Oh, yeah! Mr. von Trapp in the "Sound of Music!" Maybe it's Christopher Plummer! His name has the most letters so far to spell out Roy Spivey-- all but two!

Anonymous said...

It absolutely is not Steve Martin, he never had kids until the early 2010s. He also never married a starlet, and if he did he did not have kids with her. As much as I wish this story was real, it is a work of beautifully crafted fiction at its core.