In case you don't know, I love voice-y fiction. As I said to my agent recently, "I would read a book where about four dudes traveling across the country. Nothing needs to happen, as long as they keep saying funny things." He said: "Yeah, but nobody else would want to read that book."
He is very smart.
Anyway, back to my anxiety. I got this idea in my head that my current book's voice was too gimmicky. Nothing more than a carnival sideshow. Something that might draw attention for a moment, but is ultimately disposable. What makes something disposable? I don't know. But I know what makes something special. I know that good fiction gets me excited, helps me remember that I started writing to hopefully emulate the power I found in stories. And the best thing about this feeling? You never know when it's going to happen. When a story will jump off the page and grab you by the gut.
I love that. And it happened recently as I was reading the New Yorker.
Yeah, I read it. You want to fight?
Anyway. Here's a snippet from the story:
And here we aren’t, so quickly: I’m not twenty-six and you’re not sixty. I’m not forty-five or eighty-three, not being hoisted onto the shoulders of anybody wading into any sea. I’m not learning chess, and you’re not losing your virginity. You’re not stacking pebbles on gravestones; I’m not being stolen from my resting mother’s arms. Why didn’t you lose your virginity to me? Why didn’t we enter the intersection one thousandth of a second sooner, and die instead of die laughing? Everything else happened—why not the things that could have? - Jonathan Safron Foer, Here We Aren't, So Quickly taken from The New Yorker, June 14th-21st issue.It kills me. In a good way. And I can't even articulate why. Maybe that's what makes good fiction special, when it hits us in a place we've forgotten about.