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Dreams Are What We Wake Up From.
August 2, 2011 9:51 AM   Subscribe

Raymond Carver died of lung cancer, August 2, 1988. A remembrance in 1,2,3,4,5 parts. Previously.
posted by timsteil (12 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Nice, but maybe could be shorter.
posted by R. Mutt at 10:12 AM on August 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


I've been to his grave (twice!) in Port Angeles. His poem "Late Fragment" is inscribed on the headstone:

"Late Fragment"

And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.


Twenty years ago, Carver was really, really popular. Now it's really hard to find his books at the bookstore, used or new.

Of course, the Onion parody of Raymond Carver is pretty hilarious.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:26 AM on August 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


God that Onion piece was great.

The salmon falling out of the sky. The list of used cars with all their failings.

I have many fond memories of his writing.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 11:15 AM on August 2, 2011


I've been to his grave as well, KokuRyu. Love his poetry even more than his stories.

RIP, Ray.
posted by papercake at 12:53 PM on August 2, 2011


In late 1988, through a series of Wonder Boys-like events, I found my 20-year-old self at a London memorial service for Carver held by his publisher. It was in a night club, with black walls and chrome and bartenders who wore bow ties. The dance lights were off, but there were murmurs and jokes about how the place wasn't well suited to Carver's memory. Got introduced to a bunch of his circle, but barely opened my mouth for fear of inserting my foot. My main souvenir was the phone number of a Romanian doctor who was trying to pick me up. He wrote it on a post-it note for shingles pharmaceuticals.

> Now it's really hard to find his books at the bookstore, used or new.

At some point in the last twenty years, a notion has arisen that you can't be American, and working-class, and intellectual. There's the suspicion that you're faking at least one of them.
posted by bendybendy at 1:56 PM on August 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


I favorited this so hard I fell out of my chair and broke my heart.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:06 PM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I picked up a book of Raymond Carver stories at a book sale, embarrassingly enough, because in my head it said "Raymond Chandler." Best mistake I ever made.
posted by rusty at 2:24 PM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Rusty, I did the same thing at a library book sale. Got 'Fires' for a quarter, expecting some detective stories. Damn, the man could write.
posted by Bron at 4:52 PM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Beautiful writer.

Interestingly one of his short stories - So Much Water So Close to Home - was adapted twice for movies - once in Short Cuts and once for the Australian movie Jindabyne - which I'd recommend highly.
posted by chris88 at 5:10 PM on August 2, 2011


Thanks for posting this, timsteil. I love Carver. Very much looking forward to watching these later.

At some point in the last twenty years, a notion has arisen that you can't be American, and working-class, and intellectual.

I have a hard time disagreeing with that statement on the whole, but it is pretty simplistic. Larry Brown was a firefighter for 17 years before he started writing yet went on to gain some pretty strong literary acclaim and Donald Ray Pollock* worked at a paper mill for several decades before pursuing literature, and has been getting a lot of love recently from folks like NPR and the NY Times. Those are just two exceptions, and I'm not a terribly well-read individual. I'm sure there are several others.

I haven't started The Devil All the Time yet, but Pollock's short-story collection Knockemstiff is pretty damned fantastic, and seems cut from the same cloth as Carver, thematically for sure if not exactly stylistically.
posted by Ufez Jones at 5:32 PM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Candle Light Vigil at Raymond Carver's old locker at Davis High School after end of classes first day of school. To avoid getting in trouble or starting a fire, please go get a battery operated candle at the 5th Ave Bi-Mart. They look real and are safe.
From a friend of the Staff of the Davis Daily Deadly Dada. (you have to have lived in Yakima a long while to get this..)
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 8:51 PM on August 2, 2011


Thanks for posting this, timsteil.

Thanks Ufez. I truly hope this has turned some folks onto one of the truly unsung heroes of the American short story.

Also, I will spend the rest of my life regretting, as if I misinterpreted the advances of a beautiful woman, the opportunity to take that "Previously", and make it say "[less inside].
posted by timsteil at 9:50 AM on August 4, 2011


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