Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Basil from Her Garden - Donald Barthelme


Honestly, I wasn’t thrilled when Carver mentioned that he included a story by Barthelme in this collection. And dang…to make it even worse, he leads with him (I know…he did the fair thing and listed the stories alphabetically by their author…Gardner didn’t!)

I don’t know, I just haven’t been able to get into Barthelme.

Perhaps his writing is just above me. Which, if so, I’m fine with that.

Or am I?

I tell myself that I will let him exist up there, above me, and I’ll remain firmly rooted in my present location.

But, I can’t help, when standing in the shower…thinking about this story…wondering what he and his story is saying to me and wondering what I should write about it…thinking that perhaps I am not capable of “getting the message”.

I try to assuage my anxiety by reading reviews of his stories especially enjoying reviews that are critical of his writing.

But I see his writing as puzzle, a code…and, because of my nature, I need to figure his shit out!

So, morning after morning over this past week, having already read other stories in this collection, I stand in the shower obsessing over Barthelme and “Basil from Her Garden”.

Perhaps, as I have done with a few other stories, I think I need to lay this one aside and let it stew even LONGER and knowing that I’ll run into Barthelme again, this particular story will regain some life and its secrets may then become clear.

But…I know that is unlikely to happen.

I must crack this code.

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