Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Wanting to Know What a Story is About

Andre Dubus on the short story:

Wanting to know absolutely what a story is about, and to be able to say it in a few sentences, is dangerous: it can lead us to wanting to possess a story as we possess a cup. We know the function of a cup, and we drink from it, wash it, put it on a shelf, and it remains a thing we own and control, unless it slips from our hands into the control of gravity; or unless someone else breaks it, or uses it to give us poisoned tea. A story can always break into pieces while it sits inside a book on a shelf; and decades after we have read it even twenty times, it can open us up, by cut or caress, to a new truth.

From Andre Dubus, “A Hemingway Story” in Meditations From A Moveable Chair: Essays by Andre Dubus (1998).

1 comment:

mary grimm said...

A great quote. I've noticed that my students often want to know what a story is about before they start writing, which seems very limiting to me.