Joseph Riippi’s THE ORANGE SUITCASE

Amber Sparks already wrote a fantastic and comprehensive review of Joseph Riippi’s The Orange Suitcase for Big Other, which you can read here, but I want to dedicate a post to “Something About Maxine,” which is a short chapter in three tiny parts, and “Something About the Rest,” another short chapter in three parts. I read The Orange Suitcase last night, but when I woke I realized that these two chapters were still with me, and I wanted to write a post to attempt to answer why.

 

1.

“Something About Maxine”

Here’s the opening:

They didn’t look like baby rabbits. More like pink balls of unbaked dough with caper eyes. [. . . ] My grandfather gathered up the five or six of them. Max, their shaky mother, wrinkled her nose again and again and again and again in the corner of the cage. There’ll be rabbits everywhere, he grumbled.

I didn’t notice the “again and again and again and again” when I first read this; I must have skimmed right over all four “agains,” but when I typed it here I realized how many there are. I think this is important. As I typed, I wondered, “Why so many agains?” And as I type this now, I think, “Well, sure, they help to show the narrator’s focus, show how long the narrator stares at Max.”

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A Sentence About a Sentence I Love: An Anthology, of Sorts

A few months ago, in April, to be exact, I started a series of posts entitled “A Sentence About a Sentence I Love” with a sentence about one of Gerard Manley Hopkins’s magnificent sentences. This concentration, or, rather, this obsession with the sentence may have come from my, at the time, recent readings of William Gass’s essays wherein he concentrates much of his attention on the sentence as a primary building block in poetry and prose. Essays by Gass like “The Soul Inside the Sentence,” “The Sentence Seeks Its Form,” “The Architecture of the Sentence,” take as their focus the centrality of the sentence toward the construction of thought, and particularly of thoughts within the parameters of fiction. In “Philosophy and the Form of Fiction,” Gass claims that sentences are “the most elementary instances of what the author has constructed….a moving unity of fact and feeling.” Moreover, sentences

must be sounded, too; it has a rhythm, speed, a tone, a flow, a pattern, shape, length, pitch, conceptual direction. The sentence confers reality upon certain relations, but it also controls our estimation, apprehension, and response to them. Every sentence, in short, takes metaphysical dictation, and it is the sum of these dictations, involving the whole range of the work in which the sentences appear, which accounts for its philosophical quality, and the form of life in the thing that has been made (Fiction and the Figures of Life, 14).

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Writer’s life: dicey life

https://i2.wp.com/www.infoniac.com/uimg/gamble-throwing-dice.jpgI write all day long. Rarely do I write my own fictions all day long, however. Those I save for sundown, or for when I’m supposed to be rockin the Zs. Responsible civic living has done its number on my head. No doubt.

I’m thinking about this a lot lately.

I was thinking about this back in December, when I asked Laura van den Berg (at ASF’s blog), What has been the hardest lesson–or the best–for you to learn in your writing life?

She hit it so quick it almost didn’t hurt: “Self-doubt.”

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Dan Wickett’s Best of 2009

First on my list for Best of 2009 would have to be seeing each of my three kids take another solid step forward with their lives, each maturing a bit, taking on different responsibilities than they had in previous years, etc.
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Big Other Contributors’ News #7

J.A. Tyler‘s book THE ZOO, A GOING has officially been contracted for publication with Dzanc Books, 2013.
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Molly Gaudry has received four Pushcart Prize nominations this year! For “Beneath mosquito netting I imagine,” from PANK #3; “Parts,” from Whiskey Island Magazine; “Potpourri,” from Emprise Review; and “Excerpts from We Take Me Apart,” from Mud Luscious Press.
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John Dermot Woods‘s story called “Waterslide” is in the new issue of Anemone Sidecar (#5). Big Other contributors Greg Gerke, Ryan W. Bradley, and J.A. Tyler have stories in there too.
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Shya Scanlon will be reading with Leslieann Hobayan and Douglas Treem  on Wednesday, Dec. 9th at  Cornelia St. Cafe, 29 Cornelia Street in New York City. Details HERE.

Also, Shya’s Forecast 42 Project came to a close on Monday at Monkeybicycle.  He’s going to be guest posting about it on Monkeybicycles’s blog on Wednesday, Dec. 9th, too.
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Stacy Muszynski is conducting a series of interviews with writers, asking their thoughts on online publishing. Rick Moody, Matt Stewart, Matt Bell, Dagoberto Gilb, and others join the discussion. It’s all happening at American Short Fiction’s blog.

Stacy’s interview with Laura van den Berg, of What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us, will be at ASF blog next week, followed by three days of her guest blogging. Her review of Michael Zadoorian’s The Lost Tiki Palaces of Detroit will appear in the next issue of The Collagist.
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Sean Lovelace has a new flash in Hayden’s Ferry Review. He has another flash in PANK.
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John Madera‘s review of Justin Sirois’s MLKNG SCKLS appears in New Pages’ December issue.