Posts Tagged ‘light’

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Short Stories

March 1, 2009

I don’t know if I like them or not. They’re nice pithy snippets from people’s lives, but I find the hardest thing to do in a short story is to notify the reader of the gender. It took a while for me to get whether the narrator was male or female which caused some confusion. Also, for some of the stories, I wanted them to go on longer because I liked the characters or wanted the ending to offer up some other scenarios. However this collection of stories was enjoyable, strange, filled with guilty pleasures and imagination and desires of every day people like you and me. I have two excerpts from two different stories for you.

Excerpt #20:
This is how we are different from other animals,
she said. But keep your eyes open so you can see the cloth. We all had white cloth napkins over our faces, and the light glowed through them. It seemed brighter under there, as if the cloth actually filtered out the darkness that was the rest of the room – the dark rays that come off things and people. The instructor walked around as she talked so that she was everywhere at once. Her face and permed hair were forgotten; there was just the voice and the white light, and those two things combined felt like the truth.
You will never be a part of the world. She was standing quite near.
Humans make their own worlds in the small area in front of their face. Now she was across the room.
Why do you think we are the only animal that kisses? She was near again.
Because the area in front of our faces is our most intimate zone. She drew a breath. This is why humans are the only romantic animal!
We were quiet and wondering under our napkins. How did she know this? What about dogs? Don’t dogs feel everything we do times one hundred? But we couldn’t see to form a chain of doubt between each other’s eyes. And her voice had a vibrant certainty that made believing her feel liberating and obvious. Why pull your finger back when you can just let it be part of the hand? It is the hand! Of course! Fingers and hands are all one thing, these distinctions are like shackles. I see the light; it is coming through the napkin.

Remember, you don’t have to make the whole world romantic, or even the whole bedroom. Just the small space in front of your face. A very manageable territory, even the working women will agree. Because when he looks at you (or she – romance has no biases!), he has to look through the air in front of your face. Is that space polluted? Is it rosy? Is it misty? Think about these questions during the lunch break.
We ate our sandwiches and looked at each other through the air in front of our faces. It looked clear, but maybe it wasn’t. We thought hard about this while we drank the provided soda. This could change everything. (57-58, 59)
-It Was Romance

I love the simple cover. It also comes in pink but I read the yellow one.

Excerpt #21:
We were anxious to being our life as people who had no people. And it was easy to find an apartment because we had no standards; we were just amazed that it was our door, our rotting carpet, our cockroach infestation. We decorated with paper streamers and Chinese lanterns and we shared the ancient bed that came with the studio. This was tremendously thrilling for one of us. One of us had always been in love with the other. One of us lived in a perpetual state of longing. But we’d met when we were children and seemed destined to sleep like children, or like an old couple who had met before the sexual revolution and were too shy to learn the new way.
We were excited about getting jobs; we hardly went anywhere without filling out an application. But once we were hired – as furniture sanders – we could not believe this was really what people did all day. Everything we had thought of as The World was actually the result of someone’s job. Each line on the sidewalk, each saltine. Everyone had rotting carpet and a door to pay for. Aghast, we quit. There had to be a more dignified way to live. We needed time to consider ourselves, to come up with a theory about who we were and set it to music. (64)
-Something That Needs Nothing

both of these from:
-No One Belongs Here more Than You
Stories by Miranda July