02/26/10

Two more stories to saw your head off.

How could I forget. First, Gusev, by Anton Chekhov, and a word about the danger of translation.

A quote from my beloved translation:
“And again there is silence… The wind plays in the rigging, the propeller thuds, the waves splash, the cots creak, but the ear is long accustomed to it all, and it seems as if everything around is asleep and still. It is boring.”

The same from the free web version’s translation of the story:
“And again a stillness followed. . . The wind frolicked with the rigging, the screw throbbed, the waves lashed, the hammocks creaked, but the ear had long ago become accustomed to these sounds, and it seemed that everything around was asleep and silent. It was dreary.”

“It was dreary?” Fuck you, web translation! Still, have a read. The ending particularly so stick with it.

The second story is Green Magazine by Kristen Gleason.

“The Etruscan man sees the world through a narrow shunt. Do not inquire as to its origin; smell the thing. Dress in shades of metal, and flit across his circle. Make him spin. Make him into a periscope. How he loves to search the horizon! Presage touch with the prick of a needle. Not requiring affection, he will not offer it, but there are ways. Become a flag and wave your color. Claim a place on your body, and his hand will come to claim it back.”

Right?

02/19/10

Reading, Your Mother: Fundamental.

Molly Says, Blog, Friend, Lover, I can explain: I forgot you existed. But here you are, and I want to get back together. I want to take this relationship to the next level. Let’s move from “it’s complicated” to “in a relationship,” Molly Says. But let’s take it slow because I don’t necessarily have anything to say, presently.

I can’t shake the pessimistic feeling that the only real reason I read things is for the hope that when someone asks me “have you read this?” I can say “yes.” I think if I had it my way, I would have everyone imagining that every moment they didnt see me I was huddled over a book somewhere. You know, instead of crouched in front of my laptop, smoking, drinking, or eating.

Nevertheless, here are some stories I’ve read recently that are also available on the web, with my favorite sentences plucked out, designed to titivate:

A & P by John Updike

“You never know for sure how girls’ minds work (do you really think it’s a mind in there or just a little buzz like a bee in a glassjar?) but you got the idea she had talked the other two into coming in here with her, and now she was showing them how to do it, walk slow and hold yourself straight.”

Dimension, by Alice Munro

“It got worse, gradually. No direct forbidding, but more criticism. Lloyd coming up with the theory that Maggie’s boys’ allergies and asthma might be Maggie’s fault. The reason was often the mother, he said. He used to see it at the hospital all the time. The overcontrolling, usually overeducated mother.”

Midnight in Dosteovsky, by Don DeLillo

“This was the day we saw the man in the hooded coat. We argued about the coat—loden coat, anorak, parka. It was our routine; we were ever ready to find a matter to contest. This was why the man had been born, to end up in this town wearing that coat.”

So there you have it. Get to reading and report back to me. And worry not, I’m sure something humiliating will happen to me soon and I’ll be eager to report on it.