, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Now, I’m not interested in dark fiction. But when I read a New York Times article back in March with the headline “Harry Crews, A Writer of Dark Fiction, Is Dead at 76”, I was intrigued by the way Crews used brightness to create the darkness in his work.

The article meant so much to me I copied some of the words to keep: “Young Harry loved stories, but there were few books to be had. Instead his narrative gifts took root in the Sears Roebuck catalogue. ‘Things were so awful in the house that I’d fantasize about people in the catalogue,’ he said….‘They all looked so good and clean and perfect, and then I’d write little stories about them.’”

I love how Harry, who had so little material available to him, made do with what he had. Sometimes less is most definitely more, and in Harry’s case, this was true.

Today, we seem to have the opposite problem. Instead of not enough “material”, we have way too much: apps, tweets, Facebook posts, email, and yes, even snail mail, keep coming at us. Like the 1.75-inch thick catalogue I got the other day from Restoration Hardware. My first response was to feel worried about the environment. I called them immediately to request that my name be removed from their list, and dropped the catalogue into our recycle bin. “Why would I want this?” I said to myself.

Then I remembered the words of that “Writer of Dark Fiction”, and I knew. Harry would have taken that catalogue and turned the pictures he saw into stories.

Thanks, Harry, for that tip. Maybe I don’t want to have myself removed from every catalogue list after all. Maybe I need to go out to the recycle bin and fetch me some stories.