Thursday, January 9, 2014

On "The Believers" by Laurie Blauner (2256 words) ***

Before my first college creative writing class, I was largely a fan of writing that was simple and straightforward, at least on the surface. Think Carver, Hemingway. But my first creative writing teacher saw things differently. She wanted sentences, beautiful lines that had never been part of the English language before. She was a lyricist. And so, for a time, I became one too. Sometimes I wax wordy and poetic in my writing even today, but it's rare. I've largely returned to that more simplistic form.

But what I have gained is an appreciation for the writer who can string along sentence after sentence I have never heard before. Blauner does just that here, in this tale about a woman taking care of her mother at a rest home, a mother who has some form of dementia, and about the nursing home's trip to a faith healer that fails to heal much of anyone. But the tale isn't really the point here. The point is sentences and words, nouns taking on new verb forms; verbs taking on new noun forms. A woman enters a room, "soft parts first." "Unapologetic canes teeter" at doorways. Over and over here, language is reinvented, and I'm a little richer for it. Read the story here at Superstition Review.

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