JOHN MEANEY

21.5.04

PERFECTION

Yvonne's been pottering around the house, doing chores, reading another version of a novelette I'm having real trouble with. (Especially since it's supposed to be a short story.) I guess the missus is starting to heal up. Just so ya know. Fingers crossed (which makes typing *damn* difficult).

And a quick hiya to an old chum I haven't seen in person for a couple of years or more, and that's Justine Holder. I'm reminded that Jussie once shared her idea of a perfect evening: curling up in front of a fire with a good book. "It's a girlie thing," she said. "You wouldn't understand."

Of course, she forgot to whom she spoke. Or something. Perhaps there's an element of truth in what she said, though, since my preference begins with a long run through howling wind and icy rain, followed by beating the crap out of the heavy bag or pumping iron, and *then* the hot bath and hot food followed by the curling up with the book. (I don't think it's related to gender, though. Female athletes are surely as bad as I am.)

So after finishing the rewrite of that struggling story, today was combat conditioning followed by weights, and finally the point of all this: a Joanne Harris short story. Chris and Penny Hill recommended Ms Harris's new collection, Jigs And Reels. I bought it earlier in the week, and read the introduction. For a non-genre author (as Chris had told me) she betrays fine antecedents: discussing the magic of Bradbury's The Pedestrian and Zelazny's Rose for Ecclesiastes. Excellent taste.

So I dipped into the middle of the book and read a short piece called Auto-da-Fe, purely because Zelazny had written a story of that name and I wanted to compare them. It was okay, performed a viewpoint shift which is technically difficult to pull off, but didn't tug my heartstrings.

Tonight -- after the leaping around and lifting things, yeah, yeah, get on with it -- I went back to the beginning of the collection and read the first story, Faith And Hope Go Shopping. And that's where the title of today's blog entry comes in.

Because that short story is absolute perfection, totally flawless: pellucid and simple yet multi-layered like an intricate blossom. I loved it. Go read it.

Keep safe, Pilots. Good night from the Labyrinth.

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