Thursday, May 27, 2010

"Ollie,oh..." - Carolyn Chute

Carolyn Chute - June 14, 1947

Chute is a nutcase.

I would call her that to her face, and I think she would take it as a compliment, and if she didn’t I think that she would allow me to explain my label.

I really enjoy nutcase authors. I really enjoyed “Ollie,oh...” because you can tell that it was written by a nutcase author.

You know the uncomfortable feeling you get when you encounter someone who is just a little off?

It’s exciting and scary at the same time. You can’t read their personality as easily as you could with the normal people you run across in your life.

That’s how I felt as I pushed into this story.

Chute has a wonderful way and abilty to turn words.

Take these few couple of sentences which finish off the story and a disturbing scene.

“Her lids slid over icy eyes. Her breath was like carrots into his breath. He reached. And her frame folded into his hip.”

OK – let’s look at these last few sentences.

My first thought when reading “Her breath was like carrots into his breath” was simply...”what the hell???”

It took a second for me to develop my own interpretation of what that meant.

It works though.


I have a niece and nephew who I am fortunate enough to see at least once a week. They are aged 5 and 2. I love to hear them talk about, explain and discuss their world. Their perspective or view of our world hasn’t been placed into the Lucite box that most adults have been placed into. It isn’t uncommon for them to say something that immediately sounds nonsensical...but after a few seconds of the listener’s mental digestion, it makes all the sense in the world, and paints a beautiful picture.

Chute writes like this.

Chute doesn’t write like her fellow early 80s authors. She doesn’t write like the authors churned out of workshops...authors that are going to fill piles and piles of literary magazines through the years and into the present.

I think that I can safely push Chute into my column of the “most interesting” authors that I have researched for this little project. She has no problem firing off a few rounds from her AK-47, is the spokesperson for the 2nd Maine militia, favors flowing skirts and hiking boots, uses an outhouse and works on her stories/novels on a huge typewriter.

Good for her.

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