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Department of consolations

Landing the big fish in 2010?

Not that we already need to feel consoled, so early into the new year, but something about this I found both cheering and verging on depressing:

I believe a good story writer is a generous story writer, generous in a sort of maniacal, foaming-at-the-mouth, Dr. Frankenstein way. A good story writer expends more than is expected–more than, perhaps seems possible. She pours the full force of her intellect and energy into every paragraph, every dead end, every false start.   –Anthony Doerr in O. Henry Prize Stories 2009

We talked about this in the advanced short story class last night, because I think I’m especially good at those last two items–the dead ends and false starts. But aren’t we all, ultimately? Maybe we should embrace more dead ends and false starts in 2010, all the better to perhaps land a perfect catch?  And by perfect catch, you know I mean “almost bearable story.” I don’t ask for more! In any case, I thank Doerr for his insight, and also for this one:

“And I believe the magic of a good short story comes from the compression of so many days of thought–a thousand afternoons of its writer thinking on things, wrestling with problems, noticing how light falls through leaves, or how a man wipes his glasses with a thumb and forefinger–compressing all those tens of thousands of hours into a space that can be experienced by a reader in an hour or so.” 

See?  As William Haywood Henderson is fond of saying, “It’s easy!”


4 comments on “Department of consolations

  1. hipriestess4u
    January 23, 2010

    The above describes me to a t. scifi flash fiction for everyone

  2. Rebecca Snow
    January 23, 2010

    Perfect quotations for someone who’s been false starting and dead ending for decades! May we all put our decades into a few great pages.

  3. andreadupree
    January 23, 2010

    Rebecca, we should start a club. You can be the president and I the secretary of the “dump the dead ends” club. We’ll focus on slow-cooked meals and lingering conversations…

  4. Rebecca Snow
    January 23, 2010

    Sounds nummy! You might want to be the president though. I can’t imagine being the president of anything.

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This entry was posted on January 23, 2010 by in The Write Idea.

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