I just submitted a piece to the Narrative Magazine 30 Below contest, but I’m not expecting anything. This was a good opportunity to complete and send out a piece of work (read: draft it weeks ago, write it in the two hours before the deadline). I’m thinking about writing a piece about the Berlin wall and the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Those are both interesting events in the context of my life. I was five when the wall came down and seven when the Soviet Union ceased to exist. Somehow, neither of those things seemed important until a year ago, when I took a course on Soviet history at Cal. All of a sudden, I realized what had happened and what I had been so oblivious of throughout my life. Having an awareness of my personal history through the lens of world history is a strange thing.
I just read an amazing story by Tom Barbash in Narrative Backstage (3 month premium subscription that I got with the $20 submission fee for the 30 Below contest). I would recommend that you read it, but you can’t, because it is only on Narrative. I hope it is published in the non-premium section soon, because that story deserves to be read by more people. Barbash is a guy who makes everything seem so effortless, which is a constant source of amazement for me as a writer.
The story, called “The Women,” is about a father and son. They are in a state of shock following the death of the narrator’s mother. Well, the narrator is in shock. His father immediately begins to be attacked by throngs of women because he is suddenly an eligible bachelor. I should mention that the narration is in the first person from the POV of the son, who is a recent college graduate. There’s also a girl, a view, and some extraordinary sleight of hand. I think I loved the story because I can relate to the narrator, but I can also relate to the girl, and that is the strength of the structure and narration. I need to pick up more of Barbash’s work, and I recommend the story to you if you can find it anywhere online, which I highly doubt at this point. Again, it’s called “The Women.”
I must go to sleep because two of my friends are currently on the way here from Berkeley, and they will be here in less than three hours, which leaves me with very little time to sleep. So long.