Sunday, November 04, 2007

these words I wish were mine

I spent last night staying up with the Best American Short Stories 2007. Edited by Stephen King, the first half has the focus one might expect from such a macabre writer--stunning trauma, quiet departures, reflections on the deceased. There are gems in this volume though, endings that give you that moment where your breath is caught in your chest, the stunning casual twist of phrase that allows the reader to feel as if they have simply existed in a spun out poem, a perfect story with movable parts, little treasures to leave on the pillow.

I feel more motivated when I am reading quality writing, particularly when it is contemporary. I love the classics, and I plan to continue diving into the canon, again and again, for the steadfast diamonds, the ones I can trust, but I also love it when I stumble upon something delicious and fresh, something that will motivate my own writing.

I will sleep and wake and sleep and wake again and find myself roaming through great beauty in between.

Last night I had a dream about a weatherman who was explaining to his television audience about how time slows down: You simply must begin and end every sentence with a preposition, and he demonstrated, floundering for a way to make it all fit together, make sense, as he backed up and the camera followed, exiting the safety of the blue screen and into the cavern of beyond.

During the day, I think of Margaret Atwood, Jhumpa Lahiri, Barbara Kingsolver. I think of poems spooled out into prose, about crossing genres with ease, about making stories with language. I think of the beauty in the small details that make a story sing, about opening lines and closing lines and everything in between. I think of how it is made, how each ingredient is cautious and right and how terribly good it is to read a story that is satisfying, that leaves you sated and anticipating the next time you sit down at the table.

1 comment:

chelsea said...

I am enjoying the "the best american non-required reading" edited by dave eggers with an introduction by one of my favorite musicians, sufjan stevens (soof-yan).