Saturday, November 24, 2007

Function Determines Structure?

1. If function determines structure in biology, why not in fiction?

2. If you weren't so verbose, could you squeeze a novel into a short story?

3. What about Alice Munro; doesn't she squeeze novels into short stories?

4. What about Annie Proulx?

5. Who is that guy in the catalog sent you by the New York Review of Books, the guy who wrote Novels in Three Lines?

6. You could ask Jen Hederman to send you a review copy, right?

7. Suppose you don't like the book?

8. That's the risk she'd have to take. Still, did she complain about your reviews of two other NYRB Classics?

9. Maybe this is what you're getting at--a short story with numbered sentences? Paragraphs? All questions?

10. You just did something like that, didn't you?

11. I forgot. Sent if off to Southern California Review.

12. But you're not a freaking minimalist!

Do you mean you're not a minimalist because you used an exclamation point?

14. I can't remember the last time I did that.

15. I think it has to do with time available to write as opposed to the time more or less mortgaged on behalf of other ventures. If, for instance, you kept a neater desk and stopped leaving three-by-five index cards all over your bed, you could pick up maybe half an hour a day from time spent looking for things.

16. I enjoy looking for things.

17. If it looks like writing or sounds like writing, it won't make the cut.

18. So does this sound or look like writing?

19. No; it sounds like the notes you leave all over your bed.

20. What is it you're looking for?

21. Arguments people don't even realize they're having.

22. Too late, kiddo. The Talmud's already been written.

23. But it's still being argued, right?

24. Right?

25. Feneon, Felix Feneon. The guy who wrote Novels in Three Lines.

Don't be evasive.

1 comment:

x said...

1. If Alice Munro packs one novel into each of her short stories, how many short stories did Tolstoy expand into War and Peace?

2. Would the Talmud be a short story without all the questions?

3. Writing that sounds like writing is exactly what I don't want to write. I want to write writing that looks like pictures. That move.