Two Slim Volumes

Two Slim Volumes

Recently, I read two very different books that have changed something within me in a good way. The first of these two book is a slim volume by Elizabeth Bishop that I picked up at Book People. Geography III is Bishop’s last book. I’m ashamed to admit, it’s the first I’ve read by her. It won’t be the last. Then last week, before going on a road trip to Santa Fe, I decided that I needed a book specifically for my journey, so I stopped at Malvern Books and asked Schandra, the Assistant Store Manager who happened to be working that day, to please help me pick out a book. She chose Fair Play, by Tove Jansson, translated by Thomas Teal. Turns out this is also a slim volume, though this one is a collection of interrelated short stories. I don’t think that it is entirely irrelevant that both these books were written by two established writers toward the end of each their lives. The powerfully descriptive poetry of Bishop, and the seemingly mundane world of Jansson is exactly what I needed. Is exactly what I need right now. I’ve been struggling trying to figure out what my next book will be, and I’ve been struggling with the type of writing that I write, seemingly autobiographical tidbits, written either as prose or as poems. These two writers, Jansson and Bishop, do it much better than I’ve ever done. Maybe toward the end of my life, after lots of hard work, I will achieve the power in my writing these two writers have achieved in theirs. Fair Play is a...