Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Secret Lives of Raindrops

When I was little, I would study raindrops with a scientific intensity as they crawled down my mother's car window. I would play games with myself, guessing which ones would come together and barrel furiously to the end of their lives at the bottom of the window, fueled by their union. My mother would holler, and I would be quiet and watch them, wondering about the few that didn't find partners along the glass, who rolled softly and wearily to their ends. It was a way for me to turn inward while looking outward.

There are so many different ways to write. I am constantly amazed.

I picked up this book of short fiction today, "The Secret Lives of People in Love." I'd seen it before; I was originally turned off by the title, although I have several secret lives.

But I opened it up today at the Boulder Bookstore and read one of Simon Van Booy's three-page short-shorts, "The Reappearance of Strawberries." It was unbelievable. A dying man is staring out the window at the rain, requesting only strawberries on his final days, and he has a memory of a girl he should have been with.

He observed how each raindrop united with its closest other and then, split open by its own weight, ran down the glass in one even corridor. Even after her family was killed, he did nothing—not one thing.

Without memory, he thought, man would be invincible.

And this—how incredibly short and powerful it is, how it stirs a hot meringue of admiration and envy within me—is why I write.

Here is the back of his book. Martin Page's review is one that would cause me to die happily if I were to receive it.

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