Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Speck’s Idea – Mavis Gallant

Another long short story.

Elkin really needs to work at changing my opinion of him. (And I’m sure this tops his list of things to do in the afterlife).

I am seeing a clear pattern emerging and I am starting to feel that his selection is more about him than the stories themselves. I feel that I am learning more about him and his problems than being exposed to a varied cross section of American Short Stories. If the pattern proves, then I think there was clearly an abuse of his editorship and he committed a disservice to readers spoiling a great anthology only a few years after the death of Martha Foley.

I touched on Mavis Gallant in my last post so I feel no need to think about her in this post.

Concerning the “Speck’s Idea”.

When you sit back, and look at say...the last 15 years of your life, as I did after reading this story, you really begin to question the existence of external forces shaping your future days.

I consider myself as someone who generally likes to have a firm set of controls over what happens in my life. I am beyond the days of tripping through my life and taking things as they come. I left all of that behind back in 1998. I believe I became the “grown up” person – the adult that I am today early in that year. I realized that I had finished sowing my oats and it was time to start taking control.

I look back at the years before 1998 and I see some interesting events that lead me to the actions I took in 1998.

I saw that my life needed to be conducted in a way that received a more “hands on” approach from me.

So, as I applied pressure in certain situations, I felt that there were forces that exerted pressure back, and at times, there were forces outside of my control that dictated directions that I would take. It was an interesting dance I learned from these forces, and the lessons continue through to this day. Again, as touched on earlier I feel that the importance of conducting a critical assessment of one’s life, and questioning everything about it on a regular basis is vitally important.

I have learned, and this story reinforces my beliefs that it is important to play an active role in shaping your future but when a situation arises, you need to learn how to bend without breaking. To let the water slide off your back without getting too wet.

But...there must be - flexibility with a rigid core.

Score 7 out of 10.

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