Archive for August, 2009
Lately I’ve been reading a book of short stories – “Interpreter of Maladies” by Jhumpa Lahiri. Previously I haven’t been a fan of short stories by anyone, because just when I’m getting attached to a character and submersed in a storyline it all ends. It’s always been kind of frustrating to me. This time, though, the stories have been so well proportioned that I’m starting to feel differently. Each one is like a minute glimpse into a person’s life. Some of them spanned a few days, others a few months, and even one that was only a few hours. What they’ve made me think about is how our lives are composed of many sequential short stories. When I look back on a busy week or month I can segment that time into just a tidbit of my long collection of sequential stories. I don’t claim to be a master of putting word down on paper, but I am, for the most part, in control of writing my own life story. Right now I’m going around one of life’s big corners. I have been working in the same job i’ve had a love/hate relationship with for 4 and a half years, and just recently put all wheels into motion into another direction. Years and life goes by and I realize I don’t handle change well- unless I can get enough courage to be impulsive and then I sort of have a weird pride about it, but mostly I think change is cool but I’m a nervous chicken. So tonight when I finished the most recent story it hit me. I can’t just start reading the very next story in a row because I need time to let this one settle. I was just allowed to share a piece of someone’s life, a little mundane slice of life, but still a very intimate thing. I know it’s all fiction, you don’t have to tell me that, but fiction is a representation of some of life’s basic truths sometimes. I need to think back about how many details are crammed into a whole story about 10 pages long. Even the times in our life where we feel lost, or bored, or even a little agitated are still all little stories separately. Each one is important on it’s own because what happens now is going to change what hapens next. When we look at say, our childhood or our twenties, we might say they were good or bad or sprinkled with both or maybe we’ll even say we don’t remember and shrug it off saying they were just okay. But there are so many separately amazing stories that have all added up to equal our life! When I start getting nervous or sad the next few months while I’m rounding this corner I’m going to try to remember that. I will have a week between the end of my sales and retail career and the start of school. I want to take that time to let this one story settle for a little while before I start writing my next one. I need to remember that while it’s okay to immerse myself in being one character for a while, it’s okay to bring this short story to a close and start a new one.