How Many Times


have I been in a situation with a person or persons where I was uncomfortable and not having fun and remained because I was afraid to say no, I don’t want to be in this situation?  It’s hard to believe it could still happen at my age.  It has weighed on me terribly this week, but I must let it go.  Because I’ve obsessed over this, it has been difficult to write.  However, fuck it.  I can’t let this make me not write.

So, I was at a yard sale last weekend and got a book–The Granta Book of the American Short Story, edited by Richard Ford.

This is the 1992 edition.  The first story I read was Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery. 

Certainly I have read this story before.  However, I’d forgotten it.  I only recognized it because I recognized the photo of Shirley Jackson when I looked it up.  According to wiki, it has been described as a “chilling tale of conformity gone mad”.  You definitely know something bad it going to happen early on.  What eventually happens is quite chilling.

I think went to the beginning of the anthology and started reading the stories in the order they are in the book.  I will list the name of the story and the authors I’ve read thus far.

A Day in the Open by Jane Bowles

A Distant Episode by Paul Bowles

Blackberry Winter by Robert Penn Warren

O City of Broken Dreams by John Cheever

The View from the Balcony by Wallace Stegner

No Place for You, My Love by Eudora Welty

The State of Grace by Harold Brodkey

The Magic Barrel by Bernard Malamud

I liked all of them.  None really knocked my socks off.  Blackberry Winter and No Place For You were visceral, you could feel the weather as it was described, which of course also set the mood.  I think my favorite was Brodkey’s State of Grace.  It was introspective.  The others definitely had an element of abstraction about them.  I also liked A Distant Episode.  It was interesting culturally, describing a life and culture that is anathema to me.

All of the stories so far take place mid 1940-s through early 1960’s.  The book has stories by some of my favorite writers, including John Updike, Joyce Carol Oates and Kurt Vonnegut.  I remember in high school I read a short story in textbook by John Updike.  That sparked my interest in him and his books.  I have no memory of the story from high school.

Well, that’s it for now.  Will keep you posted on the stories.  I love not only 20th century writing, but also biographies of the writers and other players, as you know.





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