SSM: “Withdraw” by Mesha Maren

25 May

I don’t have much time tonight. I have to be quick. Work today was nuts, little time to think or post. So here you go. The other day, Matt Bell posted an interesting snippet from an interview of Chris Bachelder regarding formal constraints in fiction: “I would still be happy to be formally inventive, but I’d just want to define invention so that it is broader than merely infusing narrative content into some non-narrative archaic form or pop-culture form. Formal invention can be more interesting and vital than merely formal borrowing.”

This story borrows a form from a dictionary definition, but I appreciate that it goes beyond the form to tell a good story, to find a good tone–goes beyond the merely clever. Sorry I can’t write more. Perhaps I can come back later tonight and put some more thoughts down, but for now, I’ll leave you with this:

with-draw \with-‘dro\ vb- withdrew; withdrawn; withdrawing- a: to remove from a place of deposit { I check the pockets of my husband’s blue jeans before placing them in the washer and withdraw a condom wrapper: a small crinkling cellophane square. The discovery settles heavy in my stomach. I smooth the packet out between my fingers. The corners of my mouth lift up as if to laugh. } b: to remove oneself from participation { Gary and I haven’t had sex for two years. Ever since my pregnancy he doesn’t seem interested, is always so tired. Each time I advance Gary withdraws. }

Read the full story at Hobart.

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