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Alter Egos - I Am Done Watching This

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Writing On the Dangerous Edge of Things

"Come on back Cavan Boy (see Victimless Crime ), teach me more."

"Well Beat, to me, it's a relief to observe how many disparate pieces of writing can be persuasively called short stories, how formally underdefined the short story still is in the minds and hands of writers. And even if the most excellent of recent stories do not represent formal variety as gaily as they might have 20 or so years ago, when John Cheever and Ann Beattie and John Updike and Joyce Carol Oates and Ray Carver were publishing toe to toe with Ron Sukenick and Donald Barthelme, Barry Hannah and George Chambers - the days of the ''anti-story'' and the early Fiction Collective and Fiction magazine and when, I guess, the short story was dead and didn't know it - my rules are the same as then: liberal to a fault, and submissive to any consciousness of form that inspires invention and discovery. What we want from stories is to have eternal passion revealed in that heart where, before, all seemed known and discovered. But to write that way, you're always going to be out there on your own - out, as Browning wrote, on the dangerous edge of things."

"On the edge, Dick."

"On the edge."

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