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Inside-Outs

07.31.2012

An appropriate time, perhaps, to read and re-read Carver’s “Why Don’t You Dance?” Though the story has nothing whatever to do with the dreadful economics of foreclosures (foreclosures of the heart?), I can’t help but conjure its scenes when coming upon homes such as the one in the photograph above, here in our quiet neighborhood in OC.

And my god what a house! No grass. That sick, pale yellow of sun-bleached sapped suburban Orange County, the solemn abruptness of two stone columns in the midst of an unnatural travesty of a home: the diner-restaurant window-awnings, the ridiculously-clipped cypress shrubs, the funereal white iron gate (the house a mausoleum of sorts), the two Regan-era couches keeping watch over a kiddie-pool mattress, the whitewashed cinder-block wall delineating a proscenium planter devoid of plants… in a word, lifeless.

The collapsed sign advertising “Doll Sale”? That centerpiece bright-purple bucket! (I was literally squirming when I found it, at the perfection of it. Complete happenstance, yet the composition amazes me).

Anyway, as for the story, it’s great, one of my very favorites of Carver. Some of the best dialogue ever written. It gets better each time. If you are feeling down, about the economy or otherwise, or if you’re not feeling down about anything at all, this story will make you laugh.

Why don’t you laugh?

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