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April 07, 2007



Well, TM, you know I love this opening. I remember when I found it, reading Munro in Allann Bros. during of those marathon workdays we'd have in graduate school-- oh good, a break from Chekhov, I'll read Munro for something lighter. You looked up from grading some awful student story and I was making that sad face, stoic gone sensitive, and you said, "What? What this time? Not Amy Hempel again?"
I insisted you read the passage. Sure enough, it got you too. And in the opening of the story-- the FIRST THREE PARAGRAPHS. "I quit now," you said, meaning: I want to write like this. We talked about it some more, how hard dreams are to write, how I should never ever use them because I try to build every story to a moment like that (and fail because you can't make a moment like that by pushing or being maudlin and overwrought like I mostly am). How you might make a story that was moving like this, if you could get yourself out of the way and be honest, willing to cut yourself to the bone for the marrow. How Munro leads with the sentimental moment, however honest and felt, getting it out of the way so she can then tell the story she wants (in another twenty five pages). We concluded it was just something a genius can do in three paragraphs. Reading it now I feel we were wrong: it's something possible, to write that well, with that level of precision, that use of retrospection to give the moment largeness by speaking of memory, to hint at both the grief and the past and present. You, at least, could do it. But understanding the made object doesn't make it any less perfect; I admire Munro more, reading it again. It's wonderful.

Terrible Mother

Sometimes, M, you do this thing where you remember something so well, so perfectly. You and K make jokes about how that's me, that's my function in our little group. I'm the historian of us, the one most likely to, when we're all 70, write a memoir about our lives. There may be some truth to that, but I wanted you to know how much it means to me when you remember things for me, retell an old story.

I know, I'm being all nostalgic. But I haven't seen you in weeks now, it's been all email and phone calls, and so I'm missing you.


I was just about to write what a wonderful writer you were, then saw you didn't write it.

Turns out thats okay. I read some other entries, and saw I was correct anyway.

Great blog.

Terrible Mother

Thanks, Esereth. And welcome.

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