Monday, October 24, 2011

like I’m the one making it turn

Everyone has a favorite short story. Something they read once, that stuck with them, changed the way they saw the world. My favorite short story of all time is by Dave Eggers, from his collection"How We Are Hungry." His short masterpiece After I was Thrown in the River and Before I Drowned is something I read often, that fills me up with hope and silent gratitude for the world every time I read it. Whenever I grow sad, confused, lonely or heartbroken I read it. I see the dogs in my head, racing trains at night under a full moon. When I was about to give up on a far-fetched dream or hope I would read it, and want to dig my claws into the earth like the narrator does, "like I'm the one making it turn...." I used to own it in a leather bound book with a hypogriff embossed into the cover, but Annie ate that book one day and when I came home to its confetti remains I cried and cried. It was like losing an old friend. I kept the piece of the cover that survived. All you can read is WE ARE HUNGRY. Perhaps that was the part that mattered the most anyway.

I see in the windows. I see what happens. I see the calm held-together moments and also the treachery and I run and run. You tell me it matters, what they all say. I have listened and long ago I stopped. Just tell me it matters and I will listen to you and I will want to be convinced. You tell me that what is said is making a difference that those words are worthwhile words and mean something. I see what happens. I live with people who are German. They collect steins. They are good people. Their son is dead. I see what happens.

Read the story here. Enjoy it with all you've got.



Blogger Quail's Hollar Farm said...

I really like the skeleton pic, I have no idea why. Although I will say it's very appropriate for halloween. Speaking of which, what's everyone getting out of their gardens right now? For all of us here in florida we're just starting to see our fall tomatos come in.

October 24, 2011 at 8:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for that story.

October 24, 2011 at 8:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Jenna, that was a good read.

October 24, 2011 at 8:46 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

Wow, what a story, thank you.

October 24, 2011 at 8:47 PM  
Blogger Elliot Tanager said...

Post and story: priceless.

October 24, 2011 at 9:13 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

I get the image of the dogs running full out in joy under the moon--but I am left with a disturbing image of Steven, after he met an obstacle he couldn't overcome, walking endlessly through an empty landscape uner the sun with no dogs, no running, no end...How do you get hope and encouragement out of this?

October 25, 2011 at 9:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The story was hauntingly beautiful. Thank you for sharing it.


October 25, 2011 at 9:35 AM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Because an animal in a cruel world was saved from drowning as a pup, and went on to live his life without anger, simply and with intense values of living in the moment, personal freedom, and lack of attachnent to suffering. In his short life he was truly alive, needing nothing but a heartrate and fellowship to feel complete, When he dies at the end, he does so in a leap of faith, doing what he loves. He is not angry or scared, or even remorseful of those he left behind. he accepts it, and exists as a poet even in death, understanding the whole world.

It gives me hope that I can too someday become a fast, fast dog. Live a life with good friends and understanding, and leave in peace.

October 25, 2011 at 9:43 AM  
Blogger Mary said...

Yes, I agree with your interpretation, Jenna, it is beautiful and inspiring. Just wish I could lose the bleakness of the final image. Surely it will not be that way. A life lived to the full should end when it ends, in a merging back into the compassionate universe, fulfilled.

October 25, 2011 at 11:29 AM  
Blogger Mary said...

I reread the story after reading your comments and I love that dog too for his all out approach to life, blaming no one. Thank you for showing it to me.

By the way, you are already a fast, fast dog, Jenna!

October 25, 2011 at 1:29 PM  
Blogger Goat Song said...

That's a good story... :) It strikes a cord, somewhere deep within the soul, and reverberates long after the end is read. I like that. :)

October 25, 2011 at 10:58 PM  

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