Saturday, January 3, 2015

Denis Johnson – Car Crash While Hitchhiking


I've written before – several posts back – not quite sure at all how many, of a nice tight, what I feel to be an almost perfect – no – perfect story.  Perhaps it was Carver or Updike…yes, I suppose it was one of those two – and so, I think I've found another one to line up with the others.

This little story still has the taste of the late 80s (whatever that means to you) but I can feel it moving towards the 90s where my personal appreciation of literature begins to develop and mature.
I’ll note that it is through multiple readings of certain novels or stories that I understand and gain a deeper appreciation for the work.  This is the case here.
  
The multiple readings began not intentionally, as a way to understand the story – but because I've sat so long on this exercise and I was forced to refresh my memory as to what I had last read.

And as things seem to line up in my life, and the life of this project, I seem to be reinvigorated – ready to push forward again.  With this exercise beginning in the last days of May 2008, 6.6 years ago – or 2410 days and 321 posts I was a little burned out – I couldn't seem to find the words to string together anymore.
  
I had/have a lot on my plate now considering the free and easy days of 2008.  Two children later and I've passed through several incarnations of who I am today. I have issues with time management – as I written about so many times and the exercise suffered for it.
  
Perhaps, I can continue for another 2410 days and finish this little thing off.  I can only hope that the BASS continues to publish.
So – Car Crash While Hitchhiking.  There are so many passages that stand out and pulled me through the story.  Johnson in describing this story in the Contributor’s Notes section labels this as a sad story and I can agree with it and perhaps this is why I am drawn to it.
A beautiful nurse was touching my skin. “These are vitamins,” she said and drove the needle in.

It was raining. Gigantic ferns leaned over us. The forest drifted down a hill. I could hear a creek rushing down among rocks.

And you, you ridiculous people, you expect me to help you.

As touched on above, it reminds me of Carver and this is ultimately why I think I’m drawn to it.  Denis Johnson appears again in the BASS 1992 for a story that was published in the New Yorker.  I look forward to encountering him again.
Author Anthony Marra touches on Johnson’s story and the line I extracted above and offers a wonderful piece for The Atlantic. If you have the time I really encourage you to read it and then…read Johnson’s story.
   
You can read it here - The Atlantic