Jane Eaton Hamilton

"At the bottom of the box is hope." – Ellis Avery.

Tag: David Leavitt

List ten short stories you’ve found memorable…

Pam Houston has done it.  Salmon Rushdie has done it.  Come on, everybody.  Jump onboard.  Which short fictions have had the most impact on you?

Here are some of mine:

Sarah Cole: A Type of Love Story, Russell Banks

People Like That are the Only People Here, Lorrie Moore

A Good Man is Hard to Find, Flannery O’Connor

A Worn Path, Eudora Welty

The Year of Getting to Know Us, David Leavitt

A Small, Good Thing, Raymond Carver

Meneseteung, by Alice Munro

Edison, NJ, by Junot Díaz

Hills Like White Elephants, Earnest Hemingway

Selway, Pam Houston

My Lucy Friend Who Smells Like Corn, Sandra Cisneros

Nashville Gone to Ashes, Amy Hemple

We Walked on Water, Eliza Robertson

The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien

Father, Lover, Deadman, Dreamer, Melanie Rae Thon

Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been, Joyce Carol Oates
White Angel, Michael Cunningham

Why I Live at the P.O., Eudora Welty

Gold Star, Siobhan Fallon

A Satisfying Literary Week

I was posting somewhere about novels I’ve recently admired and enjoyed and thought I should list them here:  The Enchanted, Rene Denfield; Alligator, Lisa Moore; Lullabies for Little Criminals, Heather O’Neill; The Flying Troutmans, Miriam Toews.  Reliable for literary pleasures.

I’ve been reading Ethan Canin and David Leavitt this week in short form, geniuses both, along with Tessa Hadley’s new New Yorker story which I quite liked.

RemarkableNude1a painting of mine from 2012 gratuitously added here for colour

I finished the (first draft) of an essay for a collection on women traveling alone, wrote a piece after Robin Williams’ suicide about my father’s suicide in 1973 (a piece I have wanted to write for 40 years), then this Monday wrote a short fiction called “Castaways” about two women struggling to keep their love whole on an island off the east coast of Africa, and another called “The Bleaching Houses” about a young girl growing up in a town in Connecticut during the ivory trade of the early 1900s.  At first I included a passage from Ulysses which fired my character’s imagination, only to remember somewhere along the way that Ulysses hadn’t been serialized yet in the Little Review, which meant that I had to either find an alternate passage that would work as well, or move the entire story to the 20s (not as booming a time for the ivory industry).  I did the latter, but that meant deleting the World’s Fair in St Louis in 1914.  I don’t know how historical writers like Emma Donoghue and Sarah Waters do this (well, of course they do it by researching ahead of time).

I love when I have no notion that I am about to write something, and then, hours/days later, there it is, a draft, a decent draft, a presence where there was not even, two days before, an absence.  My work is almost always gratifying to me these days, and in that, I am fortunate.

I also saw the cover of my new fall poetry book “Love Will Burst into a Thousand Shapes” as it went off to the printer, and got to see how all the blurbs had come together–the design of the thing.  Now I itch to hold it in my hands, but I will have to wait until October sometime.  Caitlin Press rocks my world.

Telling Stories

I’ve just read Chekhov’s “The Student,” Kafka’s “The Sirens,” William Carlos William’s “The Use of Force,” David Leavitt’s “Gravity,” and Russell Bank’s “Just Don’t Touch Anything.” This is good use of sleepless, cranky, sick time. Go, boys, go. (From “Telling Stories,” ed J C Oates, 1998, Ontario Review)
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