A quick update on my New Year’s Resolution to read a short story every day. Today is January 24, so I’m up to 24 stories. TM and I have been on the road, looking for somewhere cheap and big to live in Yorkshire, so a few of the stories were found in an anthology – The Persephone Book of Short Stories – taken along for the ride.
15: ‘Rain’ by W. Somerset Maugham (1920)
16: ‘The Reptile Garden’ by Louise Erdrich (2008)
17: ‘Here We Are’ by Dorothy Parker (1931)
18: ‘The Orphan’ by Nell Freudenberger (2003)
19: ‘The Martyr’ by Katherine Anne Porter (1923)
20: ‘The Photograph’ by Phyllis Bentley (1935)
21: ‘A View of Exmoor’ by Sylvia Townsend Warner (1948)
22: ‘Fort Wayne is Seventh on Hitler’s List’ by Michael Martone (1990)
23: ‘Mkondo’ by Anthony Doerr (2002)
24: ‘A Parisian Affair’ by Maupassant (1881)
At this point, everything is still new to me – or, at least, if I’ve read the story before, I don’t remember it. This is what happens as you slide towards the grave, according to TM.
Today we moved all the books and most of the papers out of my office in Stirling, so the end of that particular story now seems more real and imminent. Not short enough, perhaps.
During our trip, I questioned TM about the language of the olden days, when he was a lad.
PM: Did you say things like ‘bread’ instead of money?
PM: Did you say ‘far out’?
PM: Did you say ‘groovy’?
TM: No. I don’t know anyone who said that.
PM: Well, Greg Brady said it all the time on The Brady Bunch, but whatever. Did you call people ‘man’?
TM: Yes. It’s a useful thing.
PM: What about ‘dude’?
TM: That came later.
PM: Did you like the song ‘Wooly Bully’? [Note: this is one of my favorite songs]
TM: Yes. But I thought it was a bit gimmicky.
PM: Do you think Neil Young is a good singer? [Note: I do not think this.]
TM: I’m not going to answer that question.
I find that this kind of intellectual exchange – like the ones Wordsworth used to have with Coleridge, say, during a hearty stride across the fells – helps to pass time driving up and down the M6.