An internet scrapbook with a shuffle button. (They're the best things...!!)
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Mum and Celine fired the imagination of the city. Within a fortnight, the revolving restaurant on top of another city tower was calling itself The Squat. Mum wrote more elegantly than ever before. The ceaseless movement of air around the concrete latticework set her on edge, made her restless, filled her with longings that found expression in print. She assumed the persona of an avenging angel perched on the roof of the city, looking in on everyone’s lives. She imagined being able to peer over the back fence of the premier, look down the chimney of the aluminium smelter, see through the sun roof of every sports car, gaze into the load of every open truck, read over every shoulder. She wrote as if she could see everything that was hidden from her. She wrote all the gossip she knew to be true but insisted she was making it up. She held the whole city in the palm of her hand.
Terrific story by Michael McGirr, up at the Meanjin website.
Before coming to the West Bank, Nathan worked for years as piano tuner, which left him with a nervous tic: one more slight turn of the crank, one more gentle pull, and the pitch will be perfect. He has begun to see the world as an instrument of dense hardwood and heavy alloy, pulled into a state of constant tension, to see himself as the only person capable of getting the damn thing into equal temperament. But no matter how he coaxes the pin, the strings will never quite render. A waver remains in that octave, a twang in that unison. So he has taken to a constant puttering, an endless low-grade effort to fix everybody else’s problems. He might let his own bills pile up unopened on his desk, but he keeps busy repairing the lives around him, like so many busted D-strings.
Beautiful story by Adam Stumacher.
I am not sure whether the novel is written for our convenience, but it is probably written for our satisfaction. That is what readers complain about with short stories, that they are not “satisfying”. They are the cats of literary form; beautiful, but a little too self-contained for some readers’ taste. Short stories are, however, satisfying to write, because they are such achieved things. They become themselves even as you write them: they end once they have attained their natural state.