Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Morning Reading: Richard Russo short story

I heard somewhere that the Atlantic Monthly is offering nearly everything online free of charge and decided to check it out. It seems to be true. As proof I offer the first paragraph and link to Richard Russo's short story "Horseman" which appeared a couple summers ago in the fiction issue and has haunted this professor of English for reasons that will become obvious.

Read on - and then check back in a couple days. Big reading at the end of this week on Friday at Martinez Bookstore when Dago Gilb comes to town with his new novel, "The Flowers." Hope to see you there.

"Horseman" by Richard Russo

Whenever the moon and the stars are set,
Whenever the wind is high,
All night long in the dark and wet,
A man goes riding by.

Although it was only four in the afternoon, it was almost dark outside, and the wind was blowing hard enough to set the branches of the quad’s trees in motion. The nearest branch scratched insistently, like a memory, on Janet Moore’s office window. Was it the turbulence outside that had invited the horseman to gallop into her consciousness, or the silence of the sullen boy across from her? The lines she was remembering were from a children’s poem, the one her husband, Robbie, read to Marcus, their son, every night before he went to sleep, and they haunted her with the force of a childhood memory, even though she’d first heard the poem only a decade ago, when she was a grad student at the university. Now it kept her awake nights, long after Robbie had fallen asleep beside her—all night long in the dark and wet—and sometimes she’d wake up in the middle of the night with the verses still echoing. Had they been part of her actual sleep, repeating on some sort of endless loop? Lately, the horseman had appeared in her waking thoughts as well. When she jogged in the woods behind the New England college where she taught, she’d realize she was running to that unwelcome, unforgiving iambic cadence—whenever the moon and the stars are set—as if she were a horse. And then the familiar heartsickness, as if she were suddenly clomping not through the woods but through an endless cemetery.

Click here for the rest of the story.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing that story and the information about the journal. Some of the best things are free. Have a great day.

Terry Finley

Rebel Girl said...

Thanks for dropping by!

Jonar said...

Thanks for the heads up on the journal. I'm beginning to enjoy all this free stuff online.

I wonder if the authors of these short stories collect any royalties. Perhaps a $5 coupon to maybe?

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