Monday, February 27, 2012

Private Debts/Public Holdings – Kent Haruf

Each week when I settle down to read another story or two (yup that’s all I’ve managed to get up to now) I tell myself that I’ll really buckle down and get this project rolling again.

And then, here we are. One week later…and one story later.

I was out on a run yesterday – 10k, and through the run I thought about how I need to get more miles under my belt each week. I’m starting to feel…unfit, and I don’t like it. It’s nice to know that I’m able to jump out of the house and hit the streets for a 10k run and be back home in less than an hour without the negative residual effects of a run. I haven’t degraded that far yet.


So, if a little run like this is something I can manage, then I am more than sure that I can train myself in this project.

I just have to keep telling myself this.

I’ve considered that it’s the writing that is presenting a problem. I’ve wondered if my inability to produce is due to a creative slowdown. The stories are good – just fine – is it just too taxing to produce something “meaningful” for each story?

Sure, it’s been over a year since the boy arrived and I think that I am still attempting to get used to the new normal. New normal including the insane work schedule I’ve picked up since October as well as the increased demands at my day job.

There have been a couple of moments over the past week that have nudged me towards really getting things under control. More on that in another post perhaps.

O.K. Let’s get down to business.

Of the many things that I have noticed about this project is that I have seemed to have strayed away from my format of discussing the stories. Perhaps I need to fall back on my initial model as it seemed to have worked. I would discuss the author, their work, perhaps a bit about their writing, what I thought about it and then I would dive into the story. A photo of the author would appear at the top as well as a shifty looking picture of me holding the book up turned to the selected story in the post.

It’s a funny coincidence that I would happen to apply this old method of posting with this story.

First, and admission. I have never read anything by Haruf, and I started this story as I did with the others…open and ready for anything.

Looking up Haruf’s bio, I found a Facebook page and it seems that he is a pretty active participant. A bit down his timeline, I discovered that he was featured on a webpage as a “famous” (famous fits I believe) former volunteer. (Turkey 66-68).

Take a peep up at this blog’s description and you’ll figure out that I did my 2.5 years in Romania.

Discovering that Haruf was a former volunteer was a nice surprise and added an extra bit of something special to this already wonderful…but mildly disturbing (in a very good way) little story.

Here’s a bit of what Haruf wrote about Private Debts/Public Holdings:

“…about this story I can only say that I don’t know how it came to be written or why I wanted to write it. There is nothing mysterious in this admission and I don’t mean to suggest that there is. I suppose it is merely the result of a fascination I have for people who are caught in the ways that Jessie Burdette is caught. I am interested in what people do in such circumstances. Perhaps it is a kind of test of character. Occasionally people act in astonishing (and even courageous and beautiful) ways when they are tested.”

I enjoyed that Haruf shared that with the reader. It’s nice to read that a story just popped out of thin air…

Again, as I have mentioned in other recent posts, this is a story that probably would not have had the same impact on me back in 2008 when I started reading this anthology. This one came along after I took on the role of a parent…which makes its impact heavier. I got that weird sickly feeling knowing what the main character was setting out to accomplish that I doubt I would have had some time ago.

This was a dense meaty emotionally heavy story where Haruf was able to really cram a ton of emotion into a tight package. It’s one of those stories that I’ll carry around for quite some time – if not forever.

I too am fascinated with how people act/ react in certain circumstances and I often make extended forays into poking around and attempting to discover the forces that drive people to behaviors that my fall outside of their “normal”.

I’ll take it one step further by placing myself under that scope and admit that I have a common almost out of body experience, when I step back to look at my behaviors.

This project is a nice way for me to look inward, to think about my past and have the stories motivate me to delve deeper into notable instances of my life.

Most of us have plenty of Private Debts. I have far too many and the reminder through stories like this keep me in check…because my debts are not as nearly as bad or as heavy as what others carry around their necks.

1 comment:

  1. I think private debts are some kind of a disease in this country. The system in the US is made to make you go into debts, and now everyone needs an AdvantageCCS. In any other countries the banks will actually make sure you stay out of debt.