Yet another crazed weekend, and mild insomnia which resulted in a little time with the Amy Hempel book. Here’s the thing: you can’t just sit down and read a book of short stories. Well, I can’t. If they’re any good, you want to give them time to soak in, like a good poem. So….I read the first few in the Hempel book. The one that everyone makes a big deal about, In Al Jolson’s Cemetery [a few more words here to make it sufficiently Quirky and Non-Sequitur-ish], is…OK. But I dunno if I can really make a decent evaluation of it given that I didn’t just happen on to it, which I think ideally is how you find a good short story.
I love short stories, but I think I’m probably a hopeless snob. I find the contemporary stuff I read, including the above, so mannered that I don’t ever feel really sucked into them. I think they’re really hard to write, having tried. I liked the one I wrote that was a Fly prequel, maybe I’ll post it at some point (I would have to find the damn thing; there’s a hard copy someplace, but I have no idea what happened to the digital version). But it was pretty traditional; it had a plot, it had a thesis, it had basic structure. But most everything I’ve read that’s newer, I just can’t get that involved in. I hate fiction as an exercise, or as a project, and that’s what so much of it feels like.
I did love Tobias Wolff’s Bullet in the Brain. He is another boyfriend. One year I finished in second place in the NCAA pool and it was because I picked Syracuse to win. And why did I pick it? Because Tobias Wolff teaches there. That is a true story.
I watched the first half of Sophie Scholl over the weekend. Damn, the Germans are making some great movies. That and Downfall are two of the most powerful that I’ve seen in a long time, and I guess The Lives of Others is terrific as well. And I was really tickled that Lisa liked To Live, which is one of my favorites.
Not much else to say today, at least at the moment. Argh. Mondays are difficult.