I have two posts ready for posting (that is, if I find the thingy to plug one device into the other…), but I interrupt my all-too-sensible schedule to post about the story I’ve just read yesterday morning and that shocked me.
But before that, a longish digression.
I’m well aware that I’ve been posting less and less for the past few months, and I was quick to point out “blogging fatigue”, as this blog has now reached crisis-prone maturity by blogging standards. But as I force myself to confront the truth, I discover that it’s not about blogging. I love that writing form, that freedom, and the sense of community – there’s no question that I want to preserve that in the future. I found great friends thanks to this space. I don’t ask myself big questions about where this blog should go next, what fields it should cover or not. I’m not telling everything here, and I’m quite comfortable keeping this page only for books and other writerly purposes only. So the reason of not being here more is me.
It has been more difficult to balance work and play for the past few months (for lots of reasons), and I tried to solve this issue by something I rather think I do well: organizing and planning (I’m a bit of a type-A person, but on recovery…).
I draft long, long to-do lists and cross items with a neat red pen (I’m a stationery-loving type-A person, I guess everybody knows it by now), I set aside one-hour blocks in my agenda to write, I organized myself with an old blackberry device to type during my commute (I should post about it another time). But all these worthy endeavors took the spontaneity out of blogging. Took the fun out of it. Changed it from something I love doing into something I should do. Yet another thing.
When I realize I have a schedule for blog posts in my head (my first paragraph), I shiver internally. I don’t like to be that person. Work-wise, family-wise, ok I need to, but definitely not for fun.
So I’m trying to bring the fun back around here. Forget about the schedule and the to-do list. Expect some digressions and disruptions around here from now on – the erratic posting is here to stay, but for good reasons.
So, back to yesterday morning’s story: Dimension, by Alice Munro. If you have been lurking here for some time, you’ll know how much I love Alice Munro’s stories. So when I found her latest (?) collection at my workplace library: Too Much Happiness, I snatched it. This story is the first one, it has previously been published in The NewYorker and used to be available online, but now you have to subscribe to read it I guess. Anyway, I expected some “standard Munro fare”, that is, troubled relationships seen through a woman’s eyes. There was that, and then some.
Munro took it to the next level this time. She writes about one of those horrors, those heinous crimes most people don’t want to hear or read about. At least I don’t. And not only that: she highlights the fallouts of the crime and the deeply troubled relationship between the criminal and the surviving victim. In most disturbing ways.
Because it is Munro, I didn’t quit even if I wasn’t comfortable. I was sure she didn’t use crime as a commercial, voyeuristic prop. I wanted to see where she was going with that, why she was adressing this particularly difficult theme. It was like a punch in the gut. She explores grief, abuse, weakness, courage. It’s very bleak, but it’s amazingly perceptive. As always with Munro, violence is not graphic, it’s rendered in tiny, vivid details: both visual and psychological. The story finds a “redemptive” end (to let off some steam after so much pent-up tension), but it is a very close call, it happens by accident.
This morning, still under shock, I browsed the internet for discussions about that particular story. The end has been much discussed, and I find myself rather on the same side with this interpretation, although I understand why some people might find Munro cold (I wish to acknowledge those brilliant posts without giving out too much detail, to preserve the suspense).
I look forward to the next story in the collection. Stunned as I am, I’m even more in love with Munro’s stories.