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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Out of sight, in of mind by John von Daler

My writing teacher, Philip Roth, asked us once to read a story by Chekhov.
I dutifully read what seemed to me to be several pages of indifferent fluff and went to class. Our discussion probably did not suit our excellent teacher, so at some point he began to describe things that were not included in this short short story. After ten or fifteen minutes of his specific depiction of paraphernalia that for some reason Chekhov had not described, we could see the house in the story the way you would your neighbor's on moving day: possessions all strewn out on the sidewalk, a lifetime summed up in details, secrets lying about in the sun. We suddenly understood the core of the story by default. What a powerful tool not only for literature but, well, for everything else too.

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