Jen Bingham

Writer

Month: November 2015

Your Sunday Comic

This is brilliant. Although, ya know. Kinda dark.

 

From Buttersafe

From Buttersafe

 

I did not make this cool comic. Click on the art to see more.

I Loved This Short Story So Much I Read It Every Day for a Month

Raymond Carver, pictured in Syracuse, New York, in 1984. Image by Bob Adelman/Corbis

Raymond Carver, pictured in Syracuse, New York, in 1984.
Image by Bob Adelman/Corbis

I didn’t set out to find a short story I could read over and over again. I simply ordered Raymond Carver’s Collected Stories because I rarely finish writing short stories. They get to a certain point and then fall apart or I get tired of them. When I show them to my writer friends, they’re like “Um, this just sort of stops. Did you want to think about adding an ending?”

So, why not read some short stories by the master, is what I thought to myself. Maybe that will help me to finish a goddamn short story, is what I thought to myself.

And then I opened the book and read “Fat.” I never have progressed past it. I’m not totally sure why. I just open the book every day, read that story, and then close the book and go do something else. Sometimes, I think about that short story because it’s fucking amazing.

I’d read it before. A long time ago. And it’s a story that would just come back to me sometimes. It’s very simple and nothing seems to happen and yet it is haunting.

One of the things that is super weird about the story is that it’s got a double frame. Which means this: The narrator of the story starts out by telling us that she’s telling the story to her friend.

I am sitting over coffee and cigarets at my friend Rita’s and I am telling her about it.

Here is what I tell her.

 

Then she tells us.

There are THREE LAYERS of story. That is insane. And it’s almost not even noticeable, it’s done so deftly. For instance, i probably read it three or four times before I saw this.

Also, there are TWENTY people mentioned in the story, NINE of whom speak.

In FIVE pages.

These numbers call for all caps because anyone who was trying to teach you how to write short stories would be like “No, you can’t do three fucking layers, are you crazy? NINE SPEAKING PARTS IN FIVE PAGES? Get out of my classroom.” And this imaginary, kind-of-mean writing teacher would be correct. You can’t do it. But Raymond Carver can!

When I read or think about this story, one of the main things I think is this: How the fuck is it possible for a story of this caliber to be the first story in your first book of short stories? What excellence, what beauty. It is almost appalling it is so perfect.

It’s a story about a woman telling her friend a story about something that happened to her at work. And somehow this completely mundane, weirdly nuanced little interaction has spurred something vast in her that she is not able to articulate and which the reader (at least me) doesn’t understand.

But we all know it’s amazing. And I think I will always want to know what she’s going to do next.

 

Your Sunday Comic

Even though the mostly stopped making comics, I still love A Softer World. Here’s an oldie but a goodie that I hope I haven’t already run as Your Sunday Comic.

Since I set foot in a church this weekend  I feel the need to continue to push my proatheist agenda.

Also: Winter Is Coming.

From A Softer World

From A Softer World

Alt text: we all know it’s really aliens

I did not make this cool comic! Click on the art to go look at the archives and feel sad that they Emily and Joey stopped making comics.

 

Your Sunday Comic

Bunny has a book!

From Poorly Drawn LInes

From Poorly Drawn LInes

I did not make this cool comic! Click on the art for more.

© 2017 Jen Bingham

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑