Point of view

In Animals, Artists, coffee, Contes d'Exil, Current reading, Hautvoir, news coverage, proto drafts, Sanford Meisner on October 29, 2015 at 9:16 am

On the right-side of this screen, next to the bowl of café au lait and sundry papers: my copy of Moby-Dick containing the last sentence I underlined last night. The first in Chapter 12: “Queequeg was a native of Kokovoko, an island far away in the West and South. It is not down in any map; true places never are.”

On the left-side of this screen, sitting on the Robert Collins Senior Dictionnaire français-anglais – anglais-français : my copy of a collection of short stories by T.C. Boyle titled Wild Child. I pulled it out of the bookshelf on returning from my morning walk with the dog. Not for the titled story. For another titled The Lie. The first line in that story reads: “I’d used up all my sick days and the two personal days they allowed us, but when the alarm went off and the baby started squalling and my wife threw back the covers to totter off to the bathroom in a hobbled two-edged trot, I knew I wasn’t going in to work.” The protagonist then proceeds to lie. First, by claiming his nine-month old baby is sick, and moving on to the baby’s death, funeral… and the inevitable fall-out when his wife learns the truth about his lie. Cringe material? You bet. Including the final sentence which I won’t quote here. Instead, I invite you to buy your own copy and let T.C. Boyle, his publisher and his agent profit from your two cents worth.

At one point yesterday, I was sorting through the papers I’d filed with a printout of one of my pieces of writing. The writing, done some fifteen years ago, has come into some heart-warming praise from a family member. And yes, I know family members don’t count as objective critics. Subjective appreciation doesn’t hurt either, from time to time.

I didn’t find what I was looking for – missing pages from the print-out, a section in the middle, another at the very end. I read some parts with interest. Some parts with more than interest. I didn’t cringe, although I no longer identified with the person I was when I wrote it.

Story. The hard art of. Whether in the tragic or the comedic vein or in a combination of both. The sniper and the sniped at don’t take the same view on either.

That much I have learned.


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