Saint Beattie

Ann Beattie read this at AWP.  I downloaded it from the 1982 New Yorker archive. 

B.B. sprinkled little blue and white crystals of dishwasher soap into the machine and closed it.  He pushed two buttons and listened carefully.

and

B.B. frowned.  He had a drink in his hand.  He pushed the ice cube to the bottom and they both watched it bob up.  Bryce leaned over and reached into the drink and gave it a push, too.

and

B.B. sat down in the chair across from Bryce.  The back of the chair was in the shape of an upside-down triangle.  The seat was a right-side-up triangle.  The triangles were covered with aqua plastic.  B.B. shifted on the chair.  Bryce could see that he wanted an answer.

The story is called Desire.  If you want to be defeated and know that everything you’ve ever written is crap, read this story.  

I’m squashed by such art.  Maybe wrapping individual soaps for people with five bathrooms is not a bad living?

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3 responses to “Saint Beattie

  1. Elisabeth, I actually preferred (and thrilled at) your last two lines more than the ones by Beattie. So there.

  2. I LOVE Ann Beattie. I think you are the first person to ever mention her on a blog, and for that, I thank you. I haven’t reread anything by her in years, but I just reorganzied my books shelves, and spent time looking over the books I had of hers!

  3. @ Girl from Ghetto…I love her. I saw her at the Associated Writing Programs Conference and she read one of my fave stories that I read over and over – the one I wrote about. Anyhow, thanks for dropping by.

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