Friday, April 15, 2011

eyeballs, harris burdick, and de-funking the artistic funk

remember The Mysteries of Harris Burdick (1984, Chris Van Allsburg)?

A few weeks ago I received a request to review a book of short stories by Tony Rauch (eyeballs growing all over me...again, October 2010) for the MIT newspaper.  I've never written a book review before, and I don't have much time right now...(prioritizing my time for museum reviews...), but naturally I was intrigued.

The description given was "A 140 page short story collection of imaginative, whimsical, dreamy absurd, surreal, fantasy, sci fi, and fairy tale adventures.  These fables will make great story starters for young adults and reluctant readers.  Some of the pieces are absurdist or surreal adventures that hearken back to imaginative absurdism, sci-fi, and fantasy of the 1950s.  With themes of longing, discovery, secrets, escape, eeriness, surprises, and strange happenings in everyday life, readers will delight in these brief but wondrous adventures."

I only just started reading the collection half an hour ago, but already it has pulled me into its own, strange little world of weirdness and fantasy.  Somehow a few short stories have begun to pull me out of the said "artistic funk"; I feel more inspired than I did this morning.  It's the images that the stories paint, strange pictures in my mind's eye and strange thoughts and deep thoughts and, well, creative thoughts.

Anyway, apparently it's possible to become inspired after reading 20 pages of a short story collection?  Rauch's eyeballs is somehow reminiscent of Van Allsburg's Harris Burdick collection.  One title, one elusive tagline, one image, and days' worth of thinking.

He had warned her about the book.  
Now it was too late.

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