Friday, November 19, 2010

I've been thinking about a story I wrote years ago called "Groceries." It's about a woman and her youngest picking up aluminum cans on the side of the highway to sell for grocery money. They pass a horse pasture and she spots a dead horse on the ground and spends her energies keeping her son from seeing it. It reminds her of the farm her father had which was foreclosed on. That's all. Right at 1000 words. One of the best stories, maybe the best, I've ever written. I workshopped it in grad. school, and the teacher tore it apart. He didn't understand why they were so poor. That one took me aback. She was a single mother in Arkansas. How could she not be poor? He seemed to feel that all farmers were rich. Well, I grew up on a farm. Let me educate you: we were poor as shit.

Don't get me wrong. I understand that just because one has had different experiences from others doesn't mean one has had more or more profound experiences than others. I think it has to do with whether you've paid attention, how open you are to the world. Regardless, it's making me a little sad that I haven't written about that single mother anymore just because it might confuse an MFA professor. I hardly ever really write about Arkansas except in a way that makes me sound like a grad. student. I never wanted that. So be warned, I suppose.

So then I see a writer like Daniel Woodrell, who wrote _Winter's Bone_, which was recently released as a film. It's magnificent. I'm happy to see somebody fighting the good fight.

The reason I'm thinking about all this is because I'm giving a reading in New York at the KGB Bar in a week or so. I don't know what to read. Maybe I'll read "Groceries" just to confuse them.