Sometimes you can fit a long life into a short story.
(It helps when the story is 57 pages long.)
I was about to be annoyed by this story, but then it ended thusly:
“Gerald,” I said. “When is the last time you went out and got blind drunk?”
He peered at me as though he had just spotted a Lesser Mississippi Mud Thrush, last verified nearby in 1936.
Redeemed and then some. Now that is a simile.
I wonder if there was a Rosetta stone somewhere in this story, but Gordon Lish edited it out so I’d drive myself mad.
When you loathe someone and then realize that person’s your only friend.
SO IT’S MAY AGAIN! That means it’s Short Story Month, and I begin again this tortured experiment to blog about the short stories I read. When I remembered this Tumblr, I ran to my bookshelves and grabbed the first story collection from the left on the first shelf. What luck! The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis. Lucky because I love Lydia Davis and because it’s 11:34, and I don’t have a whole lot of time to read a story, digest it, and think of something to type before May 2nd. So a two-page story it is.
“Foucault and Pencil” is about reading Foucault in the original French on the subway with a pencil in hand…but it’s also a story about past arguments intruding on your best-laid plans to look obnoxiously intellectual on the train. Davis refers to a “recent argument about travel” which “itself became a form of travel, each sentence carrying arguers on to next sentence, next sentence on to next, and in the end, arguers were not where they had started, were also tired from traveling and spending so long face-to-face in each other’s company.”
And then my reading is intruded upon by an argument I had an hour ago when my husband reviewed an email I was about to send. We have very different notions about style, and he made them known, and then I declared that stylistic differences aside, there was an objective way to parse an email draft for clarity, and please don’t impose your standards on my emails, and actually I don’t think “input” is a hostile word, although perhaps it says something that it sounds hostile to you. The argument hit the end of the line, and we disembarked wondering how we missed our stop and wound up in this ridiculous place.