One of my friends teaches three authors a semester and at the end of the semester, he has the students rewrite a story by one of the three -- Raymond Carver, Flannery O'Connor, or Ernest Hemingway-- the way another one of the writers would have done the same plot. He told me about a student who did a Hemingway story as if Carver had done it; the grim seediness of Carver's world had completely changed the beautiful romance of Hemingway's vision. The student ended it simply -- Nobody would be watching a sunset because there would be no row boats. In Carver's world, there would be plenty of booze and cigarettes, maybe a paddleboat at best, probably decaying and leaving the characters stranded somewhere with a pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon and some bean dip for nourishment. But nobody would be eating in Carver anyway. It's not that kind of world.
As I went to yoga last night, strange things kept happening as the same friend and I walked into the building. People came up to us and said cryptic, odd phrases before creeping away and a very beautiful, clearly damaged woman colored pictures of Snow White in a Disney coloring book and pointed at me and said, Like you. This shit, my friend says, never happens to me alone. You don't have to make anything up. I wanted to deny this, to say that I had a hell of an imagination. But I don't. I just look for what I want to see, what I believe to be there, the same as everyone else, except, of course, there are no row boats, just small intertubes with a few survivors clinging to them, trying to make do until they get to calmer waters.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"For a moment I felt I was in a limbo of shadows and half-formed shapes which would dissolve into nothingness if I touched them." Mary Gaitskill
Drinking short story collection: Because They Wanted To Mary Gaitskill (favorite story in this one: "Tiny, Smiling Daddy")
Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Friday the 13th! Baby Grouchie's writing career will start in earnest over the weekend, documented by yours truly. He's being very tight-lipped about his plot, but I know the rough outline. He'll be leaving the house for the very first time in years to recreate the scene of his accident and thus regain his soul, according to certain eastern belief systems. This should be a lot of fun for him. Wish him luck!