Tuesday, October 09, 2007

"Smell It" Hal Niedzveicki

Because he's the Writer-in-Residence at the TPL this quarter, I thought I should read something by him.

This is a collection of extremely short stories. Some of them seemed like poems, especially in the way that they required me to think about them to even have a clue what they were about. Smetimes the title gave a hint. I had to put the context to them, figure out what was going on that the people would hurl insults at each other that way. Not that I minded. It was like doing a crossword puzzle in a way. I'm just not used to that in a book.

The longest was 10 pages. I found the longer ones easier to deal with, actually. The smaller ones I had to use up energy trying to figure out what they were about. I was thinking it was a good thing probably that I got it out of the library, because that meant I had to bring it back eventually (and on time) which provided a motivation to finish it. Short stories are a catch-22. They're great for reading in short bursts, but often there's nothing to draw you back once you've set it down, and especially when the stories individually aren't that palatable, seeing as most of them seemed to have, well, a penis fixation. At the same time, I found them much more enjoyable when I read a bunch in a row, like 40 pages. So I read the entire collection in I think four sittings.

There were some really priceless moments, though. It was a library book, so I don't have it any more to look up titles and such. But there was one about why the couple aren't married, where the guy says to the woman, "I don't want to be buried next to you. I don't know why, I just don't." Man, that was beautiful. It sums up a relationship with so much quiet complexity. Like, 50 years I can handle, but eternity, no.

It made me want to write something short, though. I am so easily led. When I'm reading kidslit, I want to write kidslit. When I'm reading short fiction, I want to write short stories. When I'm reading extremely short stories...

Well, maybe I'll post something sometime.

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