Wednesday, January 28, 2009

required reading

I'm showing the wigleaf top 50 to my juniors to start the semester off. This is my 2nd time doing this. My students are enthusiastic about the form and technique on display, but they are not all on board with content, which is to be expected. They want The Funny. They want surrealism in heavier doses. They want Happy Sex if there's gonna be any sex at all.

But there was a lone voice complaining that the pieces were too literary, and that art was more important than honesty in the collection. I'm convinced the student was reacting to unfamiliar uses of compression and voice performance, or maybe the student resists lyric fiction in general, but we'll see. After class, I was delighted to discover Piers Marchant's "Deserve" just posted at WL. Piers' story is an example of a brief fiction that is rich, detailed, and unhurried. The entire arc is present, and the narrative unfolds with the measure and tension we come to expect from a longer, more conventional story. But more interestingly to me, Piers' story does what it does elegantly, without use of magicians or nostalgia for adolescence. It does feature the Sad Sex though.

1 comment:

DOGZPLOT said...

happy sex... pfffff.