Sort-of updates

Dear Weblog Superfans,

Blah blah blah it’s been so long blah blah blah. Yeah. I get it.

And this time, I don’t even really have much to talk about. I mean, 101 List-wise.

I’ve done a bit of reading (#16)–The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo by Peter Orner, about which I have already blogged. Orner also wrote a book of short stories called Esther Stories, which I might or might not have mentioned. And I read that, too. It was very good, very eye-opening in terms of writing style. Orner’s got a very spare style in general, but with Mavala Shikongo, all of his little two-page snippets built up to a larger thing. Not necessarily so with Esther Stories. That book is divided into several sections–I can’t remember how many right now. The first is disconnected stories, perhaps taking place in a setting similar to that of other stories, but the characters are different, there isn’t any movement between stories, etc. And they’re awesome to read. Flash fiction is something I think I’ll be getting into more, by necessity–more on that later–and so it’s great to be able to look to someone like Orner for help with this stuff. The later sections of Esther Stories are made up of linked stories, in that each section is sort of about the same two people, or the same family. (The book gets its name from the last section, which is a group of stories about the usually-absent narrator’s Aunt Esther and the rest of that generation of the family.)

Esther Stories also suggests a structure that I might like to use for a story that my grandmother wants me to write about her father. She says (always she says this, whenever she brings him up) that he was a “ne’er-do-well.” I’ve been pushing for more description, but then she jumps right into stories about him, so my mental picture is fuzzy. I guess I’ll just have to talk to more people to see what he was really like. Anyway, those stories she tells are disconnected, but linked by character, just like the stories in the later sections of Esther Stories. So perhaps I’ve got a little plagiarizing to do.

I’ve also read books for school (Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon, Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov, The Passion by Jeanette Winterson, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie, Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf [I read some of it anyway], perhaps others I can’t remember right now) but those don’t count, since I had to purchase them with the sole purpose of reading them for school. #16 is about clearing the shelves, sort of, of books that I’ve not read but should, given that I’ve spent money on them and everything. And it’s harder than I thought it would be. I’m doing an independent study next semester on magical realism, and so many of the books I’ll be reading for the next few months will be of that genre and for school, purchased in crappy copies so I can write all over them. I did read The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon (well, I’ve read all but the last fifteen pages or so, since I left the book with Keds over the weekend). But I also bought that recently, so I don’t think I can mark it off the list in good faith. (I’m too good about this list, I think; there are a few things I’ve sort of done but don’t feel comfortable marking off the list…)

Anyway. Perhaps there’s more I can figure out and update you with later. Hasta later.

Love,
msb

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