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I am posting this as a benchmark, not because I think I'm playing very well yet.  The idea would be post a video every month for a ye...

Wednesday, July 14, 2021


 What I am for in my stories is something that is quite literal, not even fictional. They are not even stories. What makes them literary, then, is the exact tone that I am trying to strike, which gives the literal detail a metaphorical resonance. The story about the shirts, for example, is a literal account of my own system of wearing shirts. If it doesn't resonate farther than that, it is fine, but then it isn't a particularly good story either. For example, it doesn't have the revelatory nature of Thomas's example from Saul Bellow, of a man drying himself with yesterday's dirty shirt.  

I've been thinking of metaphors that are not even metaphors.  Like closeness (in physical terms) being emotional closeness, or weight (mass of objects) being metaphorically importance. Maybe resonance is like this too: literally, sounds vibrating, and metaphorically, a story resonating with its reader.


Leslie B. said...

AHA, it was a story! This type of story must come from Zen, I think. ¿No?

Thomas Basbøll said...

I think both "Loss" and "Theory of Shirts" get their literary feel from presenting a personal method (of losing things or wearing shirts) as though it's just the way things are done. I imagine that Braun is a bit like Bellow in his morning routine. The details seem "real". So I'm guessing Bellow has actually dried himself with a shirt. I don't think I ever have, except in some sort of emergency. The "strange" (and therefore literary) detail is to explain this as an "economy".

I do a lot of things (when I think about it) in strange ways in order to "save" time or money (or the environment), and always quite consciously. If I were to describe my ordinary life -- without judgment and as though it's just a universal "theory" of ordinary life -- the effect would be literary. But I would find it embarrassing. If could ignore that for a few minutes or hours, and just write it as though that's what "one" does, it would probably gain that literary resonance.