How Many of These Have You Read?

I was chatting with Worms the other day about Proust,

about his masterpiece, ‘Remembrance of Things Past’

and how neither of us had read it; Worms even found

the name ‘Proust’ intimidating; and I thought how many

of the world’s best known works I have never read,

like Longfellow’s ‘Hiawatha’, Melville’s ‘Moby Dick’,

even Shakespeare’s ‘Titus Andronicus’ and even though

everyone has heard of it, who’s read Dickens’ ‘Little Dorrit’?

There’s even a short story by David Gilbert devoted to

the George Elliot book that no one I know has ever read,

and few have heard of: ‘Adam Bede’. There must be others.





*can you think of any?

* have you read any of these books?

* what has put you off reading them?

pic of Proust courtesy of Wikipedia

You Used to Call Out

You used to call out when we had sex, he said.

You would raise the roof and ululate.

Street lights would flare, power lines fizz

with excitement, fruit bats rise from their roosts in alarm.

Whole shrouds of them.

Why, even the bed shook as if it were coming.

The very veins in my wrists wanted to pop.

It’s awfully florid, the editor said.

It’s meant to be a romance novel, not a porno.

Can you tone it down a little?

All Those Posts … And No Novel

Just think.

500 posts in three years.

I could have written a novel

or short story collection

or that non-fiction book I was always going to write

about the life and death

of board games

or as my grandkids call them

‘bored games’.

Did I choose the form or did the form choose me?

I could be hard on myself

for lacking focus, not chaining myself to my chair.

I would like to be a great writer like David Foster Wallace

but I don’t have the constitution for it.

Besides I don’t look good in a bandana.

A Children’s Picture Story Book

that’s what I’ve always wanted to do.

I’m a lover of the short form.

Posts.
They’re my thing.

Unwrapping them each morning. People unwrapping mine.

There is joy there.

Meaning.

And who is to say one form is superior to another?

*what do you think?

One Way

Salman_Rushdie

We were seated at the feet of the Great Writer who at 37 already had three novels published, the latest of which had just won the Booker Prize as it was then known.

“I will tell you a secret,” he said. “one which is not really a secret. It has been known for millennia but it has been largely overlooked and forgotten. Aristotle first taught it in his ‘Poetics.’. It is the principle of Endings. “

We leant forward. I had my notebook ready. “The ending,” he said, “is written in the beginning. There should be only one way a story can end. The challenge for any writer is to surprise the audience with the inevitability of everything that happens. There is no such thing as alternative endings. I repeat, there is only one way a story can end.”

 

do you agree with that? Is there only one way to end a story?

can you think of a story — fairy tale, parable, short story, film — that could have ended in a way different to how it did?

have you read Salman Rushdie’s Booker prize winning novel, ‘Midnight’s Children’?