Monday, September 21, 2009

Shadrach – William Styron

William Styron - June 11, 1925 – November 1, 2006

What an absolutely wonderful story. As I read this story, all I could think about was how I could include passages from it in the blog. Passages that stood out...passages, even sentences that were, are so rich with flavor. The perfect structure, feelings, emotions, life, and death – it’s all there. I absolutely loved this story.

Knowing what I know now about Styron, it almost seems like I’ll be adding my little spoonful of praise on the mountain that I’m sure has grown for this man.

The wonderful thing about this post too is my ability to include this link to the Charlie Rose interview with Styron, and his discussion of the story.

I will not give a synopsis of this story. It deserves to be read in whole, pondered and respected..

Learning about Styron, and what the wrote and how he wrote and what he fought against in his mind, has taught me so much in such a brief amount of time. Packed in knowledge...stuffed my brain. The courage he had to write what he did- brave.

In this day and age, is there anything left to write that could still stir the controversy that Styron or others did?

Make me wonder. I’m left wishing once again that I could be the one to do this...perhaps with the help of authors like Styron, I will be.

The quote above his studio door is one that I will now seal into my memory and hope to bring forth in my mind with frequency.

From Gustave Flaubert:

“Be regular and orderly in your life so that you may be violent and original in your work.”

Shadrach was filmed in 1998, under the same title, and was co-directed by his daughter Susanna. I think that someday I will stumble across this film, and my life and time of reading this story will come rushing back at me. I wait for this moment and the memories of this time that I am sure it will bring back to me.

I would also like to direct the reader to the interview made available by the Paris Review for download at this address. And you know it has to contain some good stuff if Plimpton is involved. – Damn- just the introduction to this interview is tasty.

The interview was conducted in 1954 – Paris.

From the introduction:

William Styron was interviewed in Paris, in early autumn, at

Patrick’s, a café on the boulevard Montparnasse, which has little

to distinguish it from its neighbors—the Dome, the Rotonde, Le

Chapelain—except a faintly better brand of coffee. Across the

boulevard from the café and its sidewalk tables, a red poster

portrays a skeletal family. They are behind bars, and the caption

reads: Take your vacation in happy Russia! The lower part of the

poster has been ripped and scarred and plastered with stickers

shouting: Les Américans en Amérique! U. S. go home! An adjoining

poster advertises carbonated water: Perrier! It sings: L’Eau qui fait

pschitt! The sun reflects strongly off their vivid colors, and Styron,

shading his eyes, peers down into his coffee. He is a young man of

good appearance, though not this afternoon; he is a little paler

than is healthy in this quiet hour when the denizens of the quarter

lie hiding, their weak night eyes insulted by the light.

—George Plimpton & Peter Matthiessen, 1954

Finally, to round out this posting, I am really starting to feel the effects of this little task I have set out for myself. The authors I am meeting, through their works, the lessons being learned through their little stories, the development of the craft of the short story in our country – it’s everything I wished would happen with this effort – and, I’m a few stories into the second volume. Wonderful, what a wonderful ride this will be.

Score 10 out of 10

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