Tuesday, March 13, 2012
The Other Miller – Tobias Wolff
In addition to the many purposes that this project is serving, one that I didn’t readily pick up upon until reading Kleon is that I believe that this space provides a nice platform to study my favorite authors. If one were to analyze post length on an author or a particular story, you would see that Gardner, Oates, Updike, Carver and Wolff all receive much more attention than others. If I were to narrow that list even further, I’d say that Oates, Gardner and Updike are my top three.
A writer that I have included in my top five that I intend to apply my microscope to is Tobias Wolff. There are a couple collections of his shorts that look well worth purchasing.
My attraction to him? Not sure yet. Just one of those writers I really enjoy. I enjoy listening to him talk as well. I suppose I can say that about all five of my favorite authors. Carver’s smoke battered throat, Updike’s excess spittle slipping through the small spaces in his teeth, Oates’ sing-songy sentences and Gardner…well, his voice surprised me – it was nasally and higher pitched than I imagined.
Perhaps I am reaching out to Wolff through some of our shared education. Military school during developmental years leaves a lasting impression that colors and enormous parts of your life years after leaving it.
So – The Other Miller.
A decent little story. I don’t know if I’d call the ending contrived but…yeah, it wasn’t hard to see it coming.
There is a scene towards the end of the story where Miller is waiting for two other soldiers as they have their fortune told by a gypsy. It’s a period where Miller has the chance to think back on his life – specific points and how they solidify his view of the future – his future. It’s a space where he is alone and with his thoughts. He is moving forward in time in silence – something that is lacking in this world.
Quiet thinking. Doing nothing. I need to do more of that. My head is too full of noise; I always feel the need to have something being fed into it. Simple quiet pondering is missing.
So, in a way nothing is what is missing.