Tag Archives: Aristotle

All You Need Is Love

I’ve been thinking in terms of grand, declarative statements:  Writing fiction is an act of love.  Fiction depends upon empathy.  Writing fiction is a moral act.  Fiction is amoral.  Fiction is true.  Fiction depends on lies.  Beauty is truth, and truth, beauty. Etc. I’ve been thinking of short stories with clear, dramatized change: “Araby” by James Joyce; “How Far She Went” (Mary Hood); “Roman Fever” (Edith Wharton); “Barn Burning” by William Faulkner.  I’ve been remembering, and re-reading, stories with unsympathetic main characters and /or situations of rape, drug abuse, murder:  Denis Johnson’s “Work” and Grace Paley’s “The Little Girl”; Flannery … Continue reading

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The Moral of Pierre

Most people think of Where the Wild Things Are, appropriately enough.  But this week, hearing on the radio that Maurice Sendak had died at the age of 83, I thought first of Pierre, the petulant child of the eponymous “cautionary tale in five chapters and a prologue.”  Pierre, at 48 pages, was my favorite book as a pre-schooler.  I’m told I carried it everywhere, evidence of which shows itself in the tiny book’s ripped jacket, signatures loose at their sewn bindings, a few spots of discoloration (spilled apple juice?). Pierre made up one of four slim books, each the height … Continue reading

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Let It Shine

There will be no post next week, January 13.  I’ll be back January 20. Epiphany.  That’s what today is, on the church calendar:  the Feast of the Epiphany.  Twelfth night.  The magi—three wise men—showed up to pay homage to the babe in the manger and, the story goes, recognized him as the son of God.  That’s what, to practicing Christians, “epiphany” marks:  the manifestation of the divine. James Joyce used the word to refer to a literary technique, most famously in Dubliners (“a series of fifteen epiphanies,” he called the stories). Joyce’s epiphanies mark those moments where a story transcends … Continue reading

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