Friday, June 11, 2010

The Magic of a Small Story

David Means on stories vs. novels:

"A story allows me to find some character, usually lonely and isolated in one way or another, and to find a way to tell a little bit of his or her story, somehow, expand it, and then part ways. That’s all any work of fiction can do, anyway, but the story does it faster and leaves more poetic space; whereas the novel, well, no matter what it does it has to somehow create this of grand feeling of totality. We don’t tell novels at the kitchen table, we tell stories. We carry them around, mull them over, twist them, pass them on to someone else, who, in turn, adds a few things — and that’s what interests me: the magic of how a small story grants us an enormous amount of grace.

"I think Raymond Carver said something along the lines of being limited by his temperament, and the circumstances of his life, and I feel that way sometimes. (I was spending days taking care of my kids when I wrote my second and third collections.) But with a story I can really dig in, work it over in the revision, hold it in my head completely, turn it around, examine the entire thing. In any case, I think what a good story does is lean on the reader, poetically, to do some of the work. The story ends and the reader has to go back and reread, or reconsider, offer up the deep concern and love, and then carry it off into the eternity of his or her imagination. Of course, again, it’s a totally different form from the novel: a contemporary story is not so much an entertainment vehicle as it is a pure artistic thing — to crib from the critic Hugh Kenner — so the problem comes in finding readers who have that poetic sense, that desire to dig, and that’s where the limits come in. How many readers are you going to have?"

More here.

1 comment:

王周宏儒 said...

Wise men learn by other mens mistakes; fools by their own. ............................................................