Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Fronte Praecipitium a Tergo Lupi

Tobias Wolff

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jorges Luis Borges

Raymond Carver

Katherine Mansfield

When I was little I discovered short stories. This was probably about when I was in third grade, because I remember finding the spot in the Lafayette School's library where they kept the books containing myths. I read Greek mythology and American Indian myths, most of which were in short form. Things just took off from there and I have always had a soft spot for stories.

Later on I indulged in novels and I read many of the usual culprits; Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Margaret Atwood, Melville, John Hersey, Chinua Achebe, Vonnegut, Nabokov, and of course Hesse. When I was in college you pretty much had to read that stuff and much more, and I did so even though I did not take literature classes.

It just seemed like those thing were part of a shared culture. I had friends who stayed up late reading Faulkner just for fun.

"What did you read over the summer break?" my friend Larry asked me one autumn upon return to Crane.

"Euripides," I replied. "How about yourself?" I asked in return.

"Joyce," he said.

"Oh, which book?" I asked.

"All of them," he replied.

I had a radio show once a week when I was at Binghamton. It started at 10 p.m. with a fifteen-minute news-break at midnight. After that I would read a short story and then finish up with more music until I got off the air at 1 a.m. I read a lot of stories then as "research" for my radio show.

Those were the days. Our college station also featured a show called "Words" whose jock engineered for various people reading a variety of poetry mostly. I was very impressed by that. Radio is such an excellent medium. It's my favorite of them all.

Our lives are stories.

Stories need to be told.

You can tell me yours anytime.

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