I’ve been reading a lot of short stories lately, soaking them in. Helen Simpson, Cate Kennedy, Angela Carter. Christos Tsolkas, George Saunders. Flannery O’Connor, Alice Munro and Lorrie Moore. Joyce Carol Oates and Raymond Carver. Sometimes I am almost breathless at the end of a piece, and I have to get up and move and shake myself. These writers blow my mind.
I’ve also been reading a bit of poetry, in a small volume I bought myself a couple of years ago, Penguin’s Poems for Life. And although I’ve read this particular poem before, and no doubt you’ve seen it too, when I read it today I had that breathless feeling again. It’s by Raymond Carver, written when he knew he was dying of lung cancer.
And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.