Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Owls



“For one second the woman and I seemed to become twins, or
closer than twins, the same person together. Maybe we said nothing. Maybe we
only lay in the band of sunlight that fell across our bed. Or maybe together we
said, ‘There is great pain in all love, but we don’t care, it’s worth it.’”



This is a passage from Lewis Nordan’s short story “Owls.” I
was moved by these lines that end the story, even though I don’t think it’s a
perfect passage. Part of me feels I should cringe at the moral lesson that is
presented at the end. Part of me feels compelled to roll my eyes at the simple cliché
of love causing two people to become one. But I don’t cringe or roll my eyes.
As someone who writes fiction, I’m always afraid of my writing being too
sentimental, or being too simple, or being very cheesy. So, I’m always amazed
when a writer is able to create such a compelling heartfelt moment in writing
while toeing the line of sentimentality. Although it may be hard to feel as
compelled by this passage on its own without the story behind it, I think these
lines still create a simple image of the complex feelings that appear in a
close relationship with another person (romantic or not). But more than that, I
think what I find beautiful in this passage is that the writer didn’t decide
against being clear about what his narrator gets and accepts from his experiences,
as I probably would have.



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