Monday, August 11, 2008


  • Tobias Wolff's Our Story Begins
  • Tobias Wolff's Old School
It's hard to see how the guy who wrote "Hunters in the Snow" could get any better, but, to me at least, it seems he did. For evidence, I point to "A White Bible," which I've added to my pantheon of stories that really do it for me. I enjoyed the story collection so much I re-"read" Old School on CD in my car. Writer porn.

You know, I don't own a single Wolff book. I've checked it all out of the library because of indigence and so on. And for once I regret it. But I expect he'll still be in print when I've got a couple of pennies to rub together. Not to go all hyperbolic or anything, but this guy is really and truly writing for the ages. You know, assuming anyone still knows how to read in the far-flung future.

About the time I was finishing up Wolff's collection, I found myself more or less finished with my latest story, "A Comedown." I got to that point where between revisions I was changing back the things I'd edited in the previous draft. Plus I found that I'd cut a little deep in one spot, trying to get it beneath 8000 words. So time to put it away. I hope when I come back to it, after working on something else for a while, all I'll need to do is brush it up and send it out.

So I'd planned on picking up another short story I'd noodled with a little after finishing "A Comedown." But I wasn't really fillin' it, as the kids say. So I thought instead that I'd schedule a week vacation from writing, maybe sleep in (6 a.m. -- decadent!), stay up late watching a movie or reading. Whatever. That lasted the weekend, then I started getting antsy and having these weird dreams I get sometimes where everything is narrated like a story. So I got up at 4:55 a.m. this morning and started combing through various files for story ideas. Didn't meet anyone I felt like marrying, as it were, but I'm still thinking about it . . . .

I also can't decide what to read next. This is the peril of reading something like Wolff's great story collection. Everything just pales. I tried reading some skiffy, just to shake things up, but hit on three stories in a row that were soporific in the extreme, so no skiffy for right now. Maybe some novel . . . ? he says abstractedly.

Don't know what to read. Don't know what to write. No hair left to pull out. What now?


  1. Man. Another couple books I'm gonna have to add to my list. I love me some Tobias Wolff.

  2. I thought of you more than once when I was reading the collection. You should definitely give it a spin, Mike.

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