Avery, your brain shall be force fed the words of Amy Hempel. I know that sounds like over-bearing brainwashing parental silliness, but please read below and respect the scriptures that define my creative love.

(All quotes in bold italic are from the novel: The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel)

“S-O-S,” the father informed. “What you want to remember is: Be Simple, be Original, be Sincere. That’s the winning system.”

What makes her so special?

“Did you know that when they taught the first chimp to talk, it lied? That when they asked her who did it on the desk, she signed back the name of the janitor. And that when they pressed her, she said she was sorry, that it was really the project director. But she was a mother, so I guess she had her reasons.” 

Avery, I once had the markings of being another shallow product of suburban mediocrity, and then I discovered the author Chuck Palahniuck. His literature gave me the confidence to challenge the status quo and left me in a state of hostile unease. I understood exactly what I didn’t want to be, and I solely defined my identity on that one-dimensional negation. I attended some of Chuck’s live readings, and he sang the praises of Amy Hempel.

“They say the smart dog obeys, but the smarter dog knows when to disobey.”

I felt a raw truth in her words and learned something about who I wanted to be, rather than who I thought I was. Her writing can weave equal poetic layers of Joy, Sadness, and comedy with an extreme economy of word count. Every time I read the story called “The Most Girl Part of You”, the hair on my arms raise and my eyes water with tears of joy. Her talent for writing is so vast and unique it should have scared me off from being a writer but it only inspired it further. I owe most of my creative ambition to her words and every time I write, I think “What would Amy say?”.

Here is a quote from “The Most Girl Part of You”:

“That was before his mother died. She died eight days ago. She did it herself. Big Guy showed me the rope burns in the beam of the ceiling. He said, “Any place I hang myself is home.” In the movie version, that is where his father would have slapped him”

“The children’s dog had been killed the month before. The children felt it would be unfair to get another dog — unfair to their former dog. The children were in pain, and I felt I knew what to say. I said to their father, quoting a lovely poem, “Tell them this: ‘The need for the new love is faithfulness to the old.’” He said, “That’s what I used to tell myself when I cheated on my ex-wife.”

Avery, there is something about the general idea of minimalism where it both haunts and seduces my attitude on life. I hope to infuse this attitude in my future as your Father, and at the most difficult of times, I can always discover new emotions and ideas on life as I read Amy Hempel from the perspective of your father.

Read a sample of her work here.

I will say it again: Read a sample of her work here. DO IT!!

Advertisements