11.02.2006

Miranda, Miranda

A few years ago, I attended a poetry reading given by Thomas Lux. I was pretty unfamiliar with his poems at the time, but he gave a great reading, read some great poems. About the poems, I remember only that there was one about a spider, but I remember quite a bit of what he said by way of an introduction to a certain, different poem. Lux said that he often gets asked at poetry readings and by students what he thinks of Bob Dylan's lyrics as poetry. His response to this question, rather than actually addressing the quality of Dylan's lyrics as poetry, was to say something like, "Bob Dylan is one of the greatest songwriters of all time. Can't he just be that? Why do we have to think of him as a poet, too?"

I mention this because I've been reading some of Miranda July's stories lately. Most of you probably know already that she wrote and directed "Me and You and Everyone We Know," which is my favorite movie of the past three or four years. I loved the writing, the images, the characters, the back-and-forth, all that.

Now, it's true: Before, or while she was making films, and multimedia art, and performance CDs, July was also publishing short stories in places like The Mississippi Review, and Fence, and Harvard Review. In the past year or so, though, since making her spectacular movie, her stories have continued to pop up in places like The New Yorker, Zoetrope, The Paris Review.

And what I want to say is: Can't you just make great movies?

I would amend Lux's last statement, though, to say: Why do you have to write great short stories, too?

Because the truth is, July's stories knock me flat. You can read "The Shared Patio" here. And her most recent story, published in the September 18th issue of The New Yorker, will certainly wind up anthologized next year. The story, "Something That Needs Nothing," is unavailable online for some reason, but you can go to your local library, like I did, and make a photocopy of the story, and carry it around in your pocket forever for the mere price of one dollar. You know, provided your local library only charges you ten cents a page.

And next year, in May, Scribner is going to release her collection, "No One Belongs Here More Than You: Stories."

I can't wait.

1 comment:

fringes said...

Thanks for new stuff for Netflix and for my ever-growing to-read list. I'm doing okay with keeping up with Netflix, but it will take the financial windfall force of a lottery to give me time to read all the books and stories now on my list. One can only dream...