Posted tagged ‘Borges’


December 2, 2019

With the “completion” of One-Match Fire, I’ve been flailing. I’m looking everywhere for my next great subject or character or theme that will consume me as OMF did for a decade. I have written a half dozen stories about those characters in the years subsequent to the completion of the OMF storyline, and while a few of them have been good, others just feel thin and forced.

I’ve written other stories too, and while several have been published, they’ve been one-offs that are more “manufactured” than written. I’ve also revisited two of my Finnegans cozy mystery novels, preparing them (and myself) for the thankless effort of submitting them here and there. (They are good, but they are completely outside of the “literary” writing I do; I’m even using a pen name for them.)

I’m also trying to be more businesslike in this hobby of mine. I’ve been researching potential publishers for OMF and have made a half dozen highly targeted submissions, all of which will have no response until the spring. And I keep searching.

And so, in my otherwise directionless state, I reached way back for a story idea I had made notes on more than a decade ago. (A friend once told me that the good ideas never go away, and she was right. Thanks, Margie!) It’s an ambitious blend of literary pretension, meta machinations, some Poe influence, too much alliteration, shaggy doggedness (which kind of serves the point), and the clear influence of all of the Borges I was reading in those days. Plus it all hinges on the very last sentence, which pulls the rug out from under the reader. “Wait! What?”

I’ve actually completed the story, and I’m sure it’s nothing like what I had imagined writing back then, but it feels like a worthy piece nonetheless. It gets the job done, though perhaps a bit more directly that I’d probably originally intended. Still, it’s nice to get an old, old idea in shape. Or rather, started into shape. I’ll need to come back to it many times. (Next up, perhaps one I tinkered with during my equally distant Faulkner phase.)


The image above is detail from a Dore illustration titled “Don Quixote in his Library.”

Daily dose of Borges

February 13, 2010

For a couple of months now I’ve been dipping into a collection of short stories by Jorge Borges. The book is called Collection Fictions, and it is comprised of most of his short stories collected in earlier seperate editions.

I try to read at least one story every night, though I haven’t kept up that pace. Some nights I miss altogether; others, I will read several stories.

They’re generally quite short pieces — rarely more than a few pages — and they are always imaginative and often puzzling, which is why I’m reading them. I’m sure I’ll never be able to write like Borges (or Faulkner, for that matter), but there is still plenty of payoff in just reading their words and see the things they do with narrative, the language, and story telling.


Update: I finally finished reading this collection on January 2, 2011. I enjoyed most of it, but some of the stories about knife fighters got to be repetitive.