300 short stories: story 260

story: “Triumph of the Grave”

author: Denis Johnson

year: 2018

where: Holiday Chalet, Denver

note: This is my favorite of the Johnson stories I have read so far. The end really lights up. I think part of the reason is the other stories I have read have been very male heavy without any central female characters or spirit.

a line: “Malcolm had gone to generous lengths in order to get Liz here for this last meeting and parting with Link, just as he not only enabled but encouraged their telephone conversations, pressing himself into these services out of some poetic inkling, I’m willing to assume, some unbearable intuition of the rightness and even the beauty of the facts.”

theme(s): Death, friendship, illness


300 short stories: story 258 & 259

story: “The Starlight on Idaho” & “Strangler Bob”

author: Denis Johnson

year: 2018

where: Denver, Mile High City, cielo notturno

note: I learned about Antabuse.

a line: “When the Devil gets that last hook in your heart, then he starts yanking you town to town.”

theme(s): Addiction, mortality, criminality, society

300 short stories: story 241

story: “The Largesse of the Sea Maiden”

author: Denis Johnson

year: 2018

where: Le Brioche

note: This is the title story from Johnson’s collection and is an assigned reading for my workshop class in Aspen Words.

a line: “Rather than memorializing him, we found ourselves asking, ‘Who the hell was this guy?”

theme(s): Aging, death, career