Sunday, April 06, 2008

Selected Cronicas by Clarice Lispector (translated by Giovanni Pontiero)

Lispector wrote one of my favorite short stories "The Smallest Woman in the World" (translated by Elizabeth Bishop) but I admit I've never felt terribly involved by her longer works. This book, a selection of her newspaper columns, is more my thing. One of my former graduate students once lamented the disappearance of the writer's sketch, bit pieces that are not fully fleshed out prose or poetry but are just slices of thought and image. These columns are very much like that. And some of them are mere curiousity pieces, but others have a lingering impact the way a strange piece of art can. And it occurred to me that blogs are the perfect forum to resurrect the writer's sketch. I enjoy blogs that link and blogs that review (or whatever my blog does), but why not have more blogs that are pieces of real writing--or rather slices of real writing?

A sample from Lispector, titled "Wanted":

"This is the ideal newspaper for classified advertisements and, as I scan the items under Wanted or For Sale, my eye catches on the following advertisement printed in bold type:

'Man or woman wanted to help someone remain contented. I am so contented that I cannot keep all this happiness to myself and must share it with others. Exceptional wages offered: the right person will be repaid minute by minute with happiness. Apply at once because my happiness is as fleeting as those falling stars one only sees after they have fallen; I need this man or woman before dusk because once night falls no one can help me and it is much too late. Applicants must not expect any free time until the horrors and dangers of Sunday have passed. Anyone who is sad may also apply because the happiness promised is so great that it must be shared before disaster strikes. ... There is also a house on offer, all lit up as if a ball were being held. The successful applicant will be allowed full use of the pantry, the kitchen, and sitting room...'"

2 comments:

Brian said...

but why not have more blogs that are pieces of real writing--or rather slices of real writing?

The cynic in me says it's either because 1) it doesn't pay or 2) it doesn't count as a publication (assuming you're in academia), so why potentially burn a piece of work in that manner? The latter also assumes that a journal would object to its having been put on a blog, but it's possible the editor would care.

Ayse Papatya Bucak said...

But what I mean is sketches have ceased to exist probably because there is no place to publish them.