Even though I’m a writer and so send things out into the world to be published (if I’m lucky) and read (if I’m really lucky), it’s still surprising when these things actually happen. I don’t even mean that in a cynical, no-one-reads-anymore way. I mean, I think, that the act of writing is so intimate (like inside-my-brain intimate) that it’s startling to see another brain applying itself to my own brain product. Like when people review my work, which has happened a couple of times in the last few weeks. It’s as if my brain is on a secret date with another brain. Like my brain has crept out its window while I sleep and into a car idling under a streetlight a block away. It’s exciting and a little scary. Matt Bell, who is indefatigably reviewing a short story every day this month, put up a generous and very cool close read of “Kindness” on his blog . Ally Nichol reviewed the first issue of Parcel for PANK and had some nice things to say about “The Escape Artist.” (Thanks guys!)
I would recommend reading all of Matt Bell’s entries. Talk about watching a hot brain work. And that’s the cool thing about reviews–we get to see how someone parses a story or a novel. Reading has it’s own grace and beauty, it’s own systems and intricacies. Certainly this is something I’m learning as I run through a new book from my reading list every other day. Reading, just like writing, takes practice. It’s a craft and a skill no less difficult than writing. I should know–after three decades of reading, a series of book-editing jobs, a BA and an MFA, I feel like I am just now, after the third year of my PhD, starting to get the hang of it.