Month: February 2016

Runaway by Alice Munro | edge of evening

Short stories: the Juliet stories by Alice Munro

A series of posts highlighting the very best of my short story reading. 2. ‘’Chance’, ‘Soon’ and ‘Silence’ by Alice Munro published in her 2004 collection Runaway. Munro’s stories have always felt exceptionally capacious; they have the scope of novels, though without any awkward sense of speeding up or boiling down. They are truly stories, and when they are linked, as Juliet’s stories are, they create not a simulacrum of a novel but a series of resonating episodes, still subject to the discipline and selectivity of the short-story form. It’s almost impossible to describe their unforced exactness, their unrushed economy.Alan Hollinghurst on Alice Munro, The Guardian, 5 February 2005 I loved these three stories so much when I first read them, nine or ten years ago, that I was almost afraid to return to them. There was an image that stayed with me, strange when I first encountered it, and then so familiar: a woman holding a baby on one hip, while mashing a hard-boiled egg with her other hand. Something I hadn’t experienced, captured and then returned to …

Moon sky | edge of evening

Postcard from now: moon in blue sky

It was -3ºC when we woke on the Moose’s 6th birthday last week. But, still, he wanted to go to the beach & so we did. A sunny morning, a picnic lunch, the shelter of the Isle of Wight across the Solent. The moon was high in the sky. Later, in the play area at the top of the cliffs, the clouds crowded in & the cold reached my core. He was such a beautiful birthday boy, playing at the water’s edge, watching the sea snails on a rock. I think I’ve had this thought before, but six seems to be so much more about them. It’s enough time that my stories of the day he was born are at once distant and preposterous to us both: What? Once we were without you? Once, I didn’t exist! We’re coming more and more into a new phase of parenting: everything now is easy in a physical, logistic sense. It’s hard to remember it being otherwise. I have little else to bring you today. The sky is blue this morning and …

those days when everything moved

and we take from our lives those days when everything moved, tree, cloud, water, sun, blue between two clouds, and moon, days that danced, vibrating days, chance poem.from Richard Hugo’s poem ‘Letter to Kathy from Wisdom’ There was a heavy frost yesterday morning. After we’d dropped the ‘big’ children at school, the Pip-Pop & I walked across the playing fields to feed the ducks. The frost and the mist touched everything with that almost unbearable beauty of the familiar transformed. We met a couple of parents coming back along the path from the local pre-school alone & I felt so glad to have the Pip-Pop with me. There are times — perhaps rarer now the littles are getting older — when I know that one day, not so very long from now, I would give anything to be back in this moment. And that thought reminded me of the lines from Richard Hugo’s poem that I’d read earlier, in the still quiet house, the pool of lamp light falling on this table that used to belong to …

February

February. I’m not so sure about February. January is so stark and clean: the year stretching ahead, the diary empty, the slate wiped & resolve high. Then February comes along & things start to get muddied by reality. Who knows whether I’m achieving everything I wanted to when the year began? Certainly not me because I’m not opening my diary to find out. (This is also how I found myself running back to school with a hastily made packed-lunch yesterday morning after forgetting that it was the day of the Moose’s school trip to the science centre.) Still. Here’s what I know I have done. I finished Anna Karenina last Saturday night. I loved it & keep waking up thinking about it. Whenever I read a classic I find myself thinking oh! that’s why it’s so famous & beloved! and wondering why I didn’t read it years ago. My mind is still fizzing with remembered connections and echoes, and it seems the kind of book that needs to be revisited at different stages of life. (Clearly I’ve already missed some angles!) …