Finishing this book brings me down to 10 left. I reach this milestone with some mixture of relief and sadness. I obviously reach the final 10, now 11, after Drew has finished all of his. I look at the last 10 and think there were months along this project that I have read 6 in. A couple of times. But I look at the impending day of the birth of my first child and I have two galactic deadlines to meet before that happens, one, get my revised resubmit to the agent, and finish this damn project. So today, I finished Katherine Anne Porter – Collected Stories.
Because of my strange schedule and personal comcerns, it took me a whole month to read this book. I loved portions of this book, and if I hadn’t had as many things going on around reading this book I would have enjoyed this book more thoroughly and probably read it a lot faster. Katherine Anne Porter is a masterful, powerful writer that I now consider in the upper pantheon of American writers of the 20th century. Porter writes with such power and clarity that at times I found myself reminiscing over a sentence or a phrase, literally just a phrase. I would set my laptop down as it was my chosen medium this time, and look longingly out of the window of the classroom I may have been teaching in at the time, and I just sit with the phrase or sentence for a moment. Over a phrase, Porter could wrap me up in a phrase. Not many writers have been able to do this. I am in awe of her writing prowess. She is able to write from many different perspectives convincingly, but she has a corner on the essence of being a woman. I have mentioned this many times throughout these blogs, but I cannot speak authoritatively on the secret interior life of women, but if I were willing to stake anything I understand about the inner workings of a part of the human condition I am weakest at understanding in the trusted hands of Porter. There have only been a few authors that as I read them I felt like there was a secret vantage point from which I got to look at the secret things of life for just a moment.
Porter wraps you up in a time and place not always altogether pleasant but it is true and fraught and desperate at times but you are there and it is true and you never want anything else. I will seek out whatever Porter has written to see if there are anything else in her prophet’s eye caught in it’s crystal ball. I trust her writing without condition, she has found room in my overcrowded heart that will not move out easily.