Thursday, March 13, 2008

Movie Popcorn

So I’m rewriting a bunch of old stories. I should be writing new stuff and save the rewrites for summer, but I can’t for some reason. I think I’m worried about my thesis, and I see how poorly worded some of these old stories are and it’s kind of embarrassing. They need some care.

I’m helping a student who reads on a fourth grade level. I think he’s going to get better because he wants to. You can’t teach that.

Going to give an essay today. I shouldn’t because I don’t really want to grade them, but that’s the life.

Juniors are doing some criticism of the short story. They’re turning out okay actually. We’re using The Oxford Book of American Short Stories. There are some good stories in there. I like “The Girl with a Pimply Face,” by William Carlos Williams. I like when short story anthologies include poets. Say Yeats, for instance. “The Secret Rose” is stunning, but I’ve never seen it anthologized. I don’t really think Joyce Carol Oates is a great short story writer. She’s written some really creepy stuff, which is hard to do. She chose “A Late Encounter with the Enemy,” to be the Flannery O’Connor story. I guess I like that one. I don’t know. It’s creepy. I guess I like “Good Country People,” or “The Life You Save May Be Your Own.” Sometimes I don’t see what’s the big deal with “A Good Man is Hard to Find” and then I read it again and I’m like, Oh yeah. That’s what the big deal is about. Heavy in kernel.

There’s a story in the anthology I’ve never read. It’s called “Rain in the Heart” by Peter Taylor, and it’s really good. There’s a Cheever story I’d never read called “The Death of Justina” that is really funny.

None of these highbrow(ish) anthologies ever have anything by popular writers. I think Stephen King has written a few really good short stories. I want to read his Best American Short Stories Anthology. See what he picked. “Everything you Love will be Carried Away” is one of his good ones. “1408” too (the movie kind of stinks). I’m a fan of “The Death of Jack Hamilton.” I dearly love his collection Night Shift. A lot of them are like great movie popcorn— heavy in salt and butter, light in kernel.

No comments: