Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Why I Decided to Kill Myself and Other Jokes – Douglas Glover






I paused as I read this short story and breathed a sigh of relief.  With this story – I felt that I am finally moving out of the 80s.  It’s the first short that gave me the feeling that I’m moving into a new sphere of writing. 
 
Now I don’t know exactly when this story came to Glover (perhaps it was in ’85)…but it has the feel of the 90s. 
 
I’m not trying to disrespect Carver, Gardner and that crew…my favorites from the 80s, but I have been itching for the comfort of a good story from the 90s. 
 
I’m not schooled in the styles of writing, I can only classify by feeling –
And the 90s were good for and to me.
 
I’ve written about the lives that I’ve lived and in August 1990, a huge line was drawn between two segments of my lives.

I can still taste those days – my undergraduate years - and this story slides in perfectly with those times.
I don’t know what stories will line up behind this story in the rest of the anthology, but a line has finally been crossed. 

Worlds have shifted and it’s good.

I thought about placing some selected sentences from the story in this little write-up to try and paint why I have the connection to the story that I do – but going over it again, I can’t pull just once sentence, one paragraph – one section.

The story needs to be read and appreciated in its entirety. 
 
And why am I feeling this way about this story now?

Over the last year, I have read, perhaps I have just noticed more, writers and critics placing importance on the “present time” when reading a story.

I have made plenty of references to it especially with stories that deal with young children and how that they impact me differently now that I am a father.

Perhaps I am longing for the easy days of being 18.  I’m middle aged now, with quite a bit of responsibilities.  But where I am in my life now, I wouldn’t change for the world. 
 
Now, if I had the ability to return to those days and correct a few mistakes…sure, I’d welcome that opportunity. 

But I am reading this story with the mind of today…and it takes me back, and this is a good thing and I appreciate Glover for providing the words to allow this little bit of time travel.