Short Stories All the Time

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... a few of my thoughts about 900, mostly contemporary, short stories.
Showing posts with label Watson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Watson. Show all posts

06 August, 2011

Brad Watson, "Alamo Plaza"

This is a great 1st-person POV story with the middle male child telling the stories of his youth. Most of his family members have died and we learn the sorts of things that caused him consternation when he was young. The story is in the present--"I can still remember..." and " admiration for her swells in some..." and "I do know that..." and "I live with..."--with the narrator as an adult who has children of his own and recalls (in past tense) a spattering of events from his youth.  The first-person POV moves in and out in its nearness to the POV character.

The story was first published in Ecotone and subsequently accepted for the PEN / O'Henry Prize Stories 2011 anthology.

"My older brother, Hal, slept sitting up, his mouth open as if he were singing silently in a dream."

There's a POV shift here that moves in really close to the narrator's mother and shows how like her he was and how much he understands her fears.
"A year later, and for many years after that, the terror she felt still welled up in her with a regularity as steady as the ticking minute hand on the clock, and with that same regularity she forced it back down, into her gut, where it fought with her frequent doses of paregoric."

"I only wanted to experience the mystery of seeing things as they were when I essentially did not exist to alter them."

"Anticipation is expansive in the imagination. Memory is reductive, selective."

And, the ending is fantastic. It captures the enormity of his dread and the lengths to which he wishes to go to forego the worrying; facing an actual disaster is easier than dreading one.

a biography
a review of "Alamo Plaza"
link to story, Ecotone