Breece D’J Pancake was brought to my attention only a couple of years ago, one of those writers who didn’t leave a whole lot left behind for us to gluttonously swallow, and one who was willing to grab the short story by the balls of its form and steer it where he wanted.

In his forward to the collection of Pancake’s stories, James Alan McPherson quotes from a letter he received from Pancake: “Anyway, what was that Latin phrase about the Obligation of Nobility? If it’s what I think it means — helping folks — it isn’t bad as a duty or a calling. We’d both better get back to work.”

And there are some stories that cause us to shake the fog forcibly from our head, that draw our pens to the paper and force us to get back to work. And let me tell you something, these stories do that. And I know it’s summertime and we should take it easy and allow ourselves to dawdle in the sun, but if you need a firecracker tossed under your feet to get you to dance, you should have a listen.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to trying to glue the heads back on my flowers.

8 thoughts on “Hollow”

  1. Maybe it’s just me, but I think you’re trying to tell us something with all your talk about swallowing and grabbing balls. Someone somewhere suggested you’re a lesbian, but now I wonder.

  2. I decided to follow The Atlantic link while listening. Was the version you read, Miette, a revised version than The Atlantic’s? There are often differences between the words of both. Curious.

  3. Hi NJ– it’s the Fourth of July, when you’re supposed to be drinking beer and trying not to firecracker your fingers off, not sedulously listening to and reading along to literature. You’re my kind of guy.

    I read the story as printed in The Stories of Breece D’J Pancake (Back Bay Books), and a quick comparison of that to the version the Atlantic originally published does show some editorial differences — nothing that seems to impact narrative or style, but it must’ve been an interesting exercise for you. Would love to know if you had a strong reaction to one version over the other.

    Now go light up the sky and eat hotdogs, for the love of America.
    — Mtte.

  4. Angela: odd! I don’t have a Zune, but it works overe here on iStuff. Jot an email if you want– maybe we can fix it? Miette(@)miettecast(.)com. I love this story & would hate for you to miss it.
    — Mtte.

  5. Ce n’est pas en iTunes. C’est un peu triste, parce-que je voudrais ecouter avec mon iPod, mais, c’est pas mal–vous pouvez telecharger quand vous voulez.

  6. Ooof– il fonctionne maintenant. Merci!

    Hi again Angela: it looks like my feed was off hiking the Appalachian Trail. If you Zune it now, you should have better luck.

    — Mtte.

Leave a Comment