Like pens and knitting needles. I’m running because it would seem I’ve overextended myself, but it’s okay, because I’ve got an excellent support system.

After fiddling with my thesis, I have come to the conclusion that, for now, writing scenes in no particular order. That’s not usually how I “roll” (as the kids would say)–but it’s how I’m getting through this semester. Some things I’ve been reading, that you may like, too:

Ellen Gilchrist’s I, Rhoda Manning, Go Hunting With My Daddy is a moving collection of mostly connected short stories. Rhoda Manning narrates most of the stories–all the stories, whether having to do with Rhoda or not–are redeeming, hopeful and charming. I suggest reading it after the more depressing Strout to uplift the spirits that are sure to sink a bit upon the reading of Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge. Strout’s award-winning novel is well written, but I found it hard to follow at times. yeah, I get that Olive Kitteridge’s story is told from a bunch of people’s perspectives. Some of the stories are really great, too. My advice? If you’re a short story lover, like me, read it: think of it as a collection of stand-alones that happen to have some repeating roles in the stories. My favorite short was “Starving.” Just so you know.

Dorothy Allison’s Bastard Out of Carolina is a classic, some might say; and some may find it repulsive or too brash or, I don’t know, stereotypical. I found it to be none of these things. Well, Repulsive, in the sense that Bone leads a life full of tragedy–but Allison speaks the unspeakable with a clear, jaded voice of a young girl. She is not afraid to bring forth a flawed character and explore–and even celebrate–the flaw of humanity. Celebrate may not be the right word. But she shows that the will to live is a powerful thing, and that we can overcome so much: not because of faith, or even family–but we can overcome because it is the basest tenant of our hardwiring as humans.

I’ve been surfing the web between sentences here, so I’m sure my narrative is a bit disjointed. Apologies.

And about running with sharp objects: the sharpest object of all would be a word. Any word. Put them together, it’s a damned mighty sword… I’ve been running with a lot of words lately, and I’m learning that, when not handled well, they’re pretty weak (much like a butter knife). But when a word is sharp, and clear and solid: it’s like a well-polished sword. Now I just have to quit running with them before I impale myself.


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