An Army of One

I have been reading again. Not a lot, but some. I’ve been carrying around Best New American Voices 2003, with guest editor Joyce Carol Oates, and slowly the stories in that book are taking me apart. Yesterday I read a story about a man working in an AIDS hospice home who is diagnosed HIV positive in the middle of the story, and then a story about a Vietnamese child whose parents are both considered reactionaries and he ends up being beaten with a belt in front of a school assembly, and then apologizing for his family. The day before was a kid whose family was falling apart. Today, the story of a sniper making his first kill. More grisly (grislier?) than C.S.I. And in between there’s a story I skipped because I caught on to it too quickly and didn’t want to go any further.

The nice thing about these stories is that every one is teaching me what I like and what I don’t. It’s also the bad thing. If I never again read a phrase like “I smoothed my hand down my red wool sweater,” I will be a happier girl.

I used to be pretty undiscriminating about what I’d read. I would read crap, airplane junk, NYT paperback bestsellers where the guy solves the crime and gets the girl and never wrinkles his tailored suit. I want nothing to do with any of that — at least for right now.

Also, today, saw Lord of War, theater view #51 of the year. And last night I saw Labyrinth, and today I finished Secretary. I should say more about all, but, I don’t know, I’m not there yet. Nicolas Cage is not an attractive man, particularly, but he wears suits well.

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3 Responses to An Army of One

  1. simplelyric says:

    Have you read any of Aimee Bender’s fiction, like the Willful Creatures collection? I’ve just finished that and am not sure I actually could say I liked any of the stories. Her style and descriptions fascinated me, though, and I think some of the images and plots will stay with me for a long time.

  2. kepkanation says:

    I’ve read some Aimee Bender — mostly what can be found on her Web site (I really do love “The Rememberer”) and a story we were assigned in class, “The Girl in the Flammeable Skirt.” I’m very intrigued by her methods and descriptions, and I keep meaning to pick up more of her work.

  3. simplelyric says:

    The story I like best — or, I should say, the story I come closest to liking — from Willful Creatures is, I kid you not, “The Motherfucker.” Next would be “The Meeting.” “Job’s Jobs” is very interesting, but it, like the majority of others in the book, leaves me sad and slightly angry.

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