Books: Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned

Edmund White, a fine writer in his own right, reviews a first short story collection of Wells Tower and makes me want to get back to my own short stories, several playing volleyball in my head.

What makes the collection appealing is the instant images that floated, free form, in my mind as I read about one or two of the stories themselves.

The story about a man setting up small plots in the New England woods, reminded me instantly of living in Vermont. I'd often find myself on the backest of back roads--by chance or happenstance, often in an attempt to avoid Brattleboro traffic or stay off the highway.

On one of those detours I ran into a lone man on the side of the road as I turned a corner that signaled to me I was lost.

We engaged in the longest discussion before I retraced my way back to Marlboro and home to Guilford.

What was remarkable about this encounter was the man's isolation, his evident boiling rage, our political discussion, the sudden sense of danger that wrapped the clear air into a damp denseness, and my instant recognition that it was time to go--or else.

The encounter stayed with me for days, weeks and reading White's review brought the memory back.

A perfect plot for a short story of my own.

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