This is one of my all-time favorite collections of short stories, which I almost embarrassingly have to admit was brought to my attention during a sophomore year infatuation with Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground.
I first read the most popular of the stories, the one for which the collection takes its name. I think at the time (I was about 20 or 21) I was most impressed and in love with the idea of a young voice from past speaking to the heartache that often accompanies the unfilled void of the young (and restless) looking to adulthood to do great things, but unsure exactly what it is they are to do. It’s both a mature and adolescent feeling that I identified with. And the entire thing uses the metaphor of film and entertainment as life, which seemed particularly appropriate for me at the time.
I was excited to see the new cover for the collection from New Directions, which I think conveys the weird time in a young person’s life with the distorted typeface, like an old often-watched VHS that wobbles in and out of focus, sending the viewing impatiently to the tracking button but alas there is no relief.
Recently, I’ve noticed way too many articles and blog posts that take a play on Raymond Carver’s title “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.” Let’s end this trend, shall we?
I love The Art of Fielding so far. And as much praise as Open City has received so far (4-0 in tourney), I think I’m picking up The Sisters Brothers next!
John Berryman (drunkenly) reading “Dream Song #29.” As far as confessional poetry goes, this is one writer who can break my heart with each stanza. Depression and addiction is a two-headed ghost that has haunted far too many creative minds.
Also, an Okkervil River song based on Berryman’s final days. I love how they close out the song, a tribute to both Berryman and The Beach Boys, the nightmarish and sad seas we sometimes sail.