The Swift Leap of a Good Story

“Isak Dinesen said that she wrote a little every day, without hope and without despair. I like that.”
Raymond Carver
The Writer’s Almanac reminded me that today would have been Raymond Carver’s 71st birthday.
Raymond Carver was one of the first short story writers I read after a teacher told me that one of my stories reminded her of his stort story Menudo. He wrote about everyday middle-class working people salesmen, waitresses, blue collar and white collar in ordinary situations. Simple language but powerful themes love, relationships, loss, alcoholism in any small town America.
In the foreward from Where I’m Calling From Carver writes:
“I love the swift leap of a good story, the excitement that often commences in the first sentence, the sense of beauty and mystery found in the best of them; and the fact – so crucially important to me back at the beginning and now still a consideration – that the story can be written and read in one sitting.” (Like poems!)

Raymond Carver was also a poet. His poems are in the same voice with similar themes. This poem Happiness is one of my favorites capturing a moment that few writers would think to write down as a poem.

Today, consider jotting down a few moments of happiness you had this weekend as we honor those who sacrificed all so we may continue to have those moments. Now get back to your holiday!

The Writing Nag

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2 Replies to “The Swift Leap of a Good Story”

  1. Raymond Carver was the greatest! I had the privilege of hearing him read two of his stories when he came to my college about 1983…he was mesmerizing. He read “Cathedral” and “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.”

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