half in love

Weekly Endorsement: "Kite Whistler Aquamarine"

There was a Budweiser commercial during the Super Bowl, you know, the one about a horse, that reminded me of a Maile Meloy story about a colt. The story isn’t really about the colt, but his birth into freezing weather and his inevitable death structure the piece. “Kite Whistler Aquamarine” is really about a lawyer with bad allergies who is married to a hobby rancher who should stick to his day job. 

As moments go, Maile Meloy is maybe the best there is at capturing them. Her stories don’t fit into a sentence. They’re about that moment when a character’s life, their choices, their regrets, and their failures come into focus. 

Something generally about novels versus short stories: a novel is inherently more of a narrative, about a beginning, middle, and end, about a character who changes, or doesn’t change, in some fundamental way. A short story does not have that hubris; a short story is about a time in a character’s life, not when something necessarily changes, but when something true emerges. 

If you like short stories, you should be reading Maile Meloy. And side note, my favorite piece of trivia is that her brother is Colin Meloy of the Decemberists.  

Other things I enjoyed this week were the Passion Pit performance on Tiny Desk Concert, the Slate Culture gabfest on Steve Jobs, and the sun setting later. I can’t link to the earth’s orbit, but the clocks are going to spring forward in less than three weeks, which means darker mornings and brighter nights. Mostly, it means the feeling of warm evening air on the backside of your arms is coming soon. 

If You Love Short Fiction, Read Maile Meloy

The more immediate fear, as they drove up the winding road to the top of the pass, was that Chase would miss one of the invisible turns and they would go over the invisible edge and plummet to the valley below. The thick curtain of snow parted only a few feet in front of them, and Chase drove slowly, for him, into that curtain, following the disappearing tracks around each curve. The insides of the windows iced, and when she scraped the glass her own frozen breath showered her. 

The short fiction of Maile Meloy may have had some influence on my decision to move West.  The quote above is from “Garrison Junction,” which appears in her collection, Half in Love.  Both Ways Is The Only Way I Want It is pretty great too.