Life[ edit ] Donald Barthelme was born in Philadelphia in His father and mother were fellow students at the University of Pennsylvania. In , as a student, he wrote his first articles for the Houston Post. Two years later, Barthelme was drafted into the U. Once back, he continued his studies at the University of Houston studying philosophy.
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Sixty Stories [ edit ] Do they lie? Do they steal? Only silver and gold. Do they remember? I am in constant touch. Hardly a day passes. The children. Lots of little shops, wine bars. Saw some strange things. Saw a group of square steel plates arranged on a floor. Very interesting. Saw a Man Mountain Dean dressed in heavenly blue.
Wild, chewing children. They were small. Out of scale. They came and went. Doors banging. They were of different sexes but wore similar clothes.
Wandered away, then they wandered back. Enough what? I asked. Enough of my lip, they said. Although the truth was that I had visited upon them only the palest of apothegms—the one about the salt losing its savor, the one about the fowls of the air.
Went for a walk, whistling. Saw a throne in a window. I said: What chair is this? Is it the one great Ferdinand sat in, when he sent the ships to find the Indies? The seat is frayed. Hardly a day passes without an announcement of some kind of marriage, a pregnancy, a cancer, a rebirth. Something funny about that. My son. Prone and helpless in the glare of the headlights.
They went away, then they came back, at Christmas and Eastertide, had quite a full table, maybe a dozen in all including all the little Snatch them baldheaded, slap their teeth out. Use of the preemptive splint, not everyone knows about it. The world reminds us of its power, again and again and again. Going along minding your own business, and suddenly an act of God, right there in front of you.
Great falls of snow and bursting birds. Getting guilty, letting it all slide. Sown here and there like little Alleged that he slept with her while she was asleep, I can see it, under certain circumstances. You may wink, but not at another person. You may wink only at pigeons. You may pound in your tent pegs, pitch your tent, gather wood for the fire, form the hush puppies. They seek to return? Back to the nest? The warm arms? The ineffable smells? Not on your tintype. Yes, harsh. Short of cash?
Give us a call, all inquiries handled with the utmost confidentiality. Davis, "it has metaphorical truth. Davis, "is in my judgment an actuality straining to become a metaphor. One must wish it luck, I suppose. One must cheer it on. Intellectual rigor demands that we give these damned metaphors every chance, even if they are inimical to personal well-being and comfort.
We have a duty to understand everything, whether we like it or not—a duty I would scant if I could. The center will not hold if it has been spot-welded by an operator whose deepest concern is not with the weld but with his lottery ticket. An uncontested divorce always seems to me contrary to the spirit of divorce. Where is my daddy? My da? Moll dropped a glass, which shattered. Your father. Noticed that, said the emerald. I ask in true perplexity.
He was Deus Lunus. The moon god. Sometimes thought of as the man in the moon. I am an emerald. For fear of getting knocked up. Surely this is a superstition?
Hoo, hoo, said Moll. I like superstition. I thought the moon was female. What did it feel like? The experience. Not a proper subject for discussion with a child. The emerald sulking. Green looks here and there. I had an orgasm that lasted three hours. I judge that not the worst. Forty Stories [ edit ] My wife wants a dog. She already has a baby. My wife says that the baby wants the dog.
My wife has been wanting a dog for a long time. But now the baby wants a dog, my wife says. This may be true.
The baby is very close to my wife. They go around together all the time, clutching each other tightly. There were five children in my family and the males rotated the position of black sheep among us, the oldest one being the black sheep for a while while he was in his DWI period or whatever and then getting grayer as he maybe got a job or was in the service and then finally becoming a white sheep when he got married and had a grandchild.
My sister was never a black sheep because she was a girl. The actors feel that the music played before the curtain rises will put the audience in the wrong mood. The playwright suggests that the purposefully lugubrious music be played at twice-speed. This peps it up somewhat while retaining its essentially dark and gloomy character. The actors listen carefully, and are pleased. To attract a dragon, one chains a naked maiden to a rock. The maiden must be chained to the rock in such a way that every part of her is visible to the dragon.
You take salt, good-quality river mud, and bee urine, and slather it on the maim and hold it there for two days.
Not-knowing : the essays and interviews of Donald Barthelme
Roe: Is the new generation of writers more concerned than their predecessors with politics, economics, and social class? My generation, perhaps foolishly, expected, even demanded, that life be wonderful and magical and then tried to make it so by writing in a rather complex way. It seems now quite an eccentric demand. There are also many short pieces from the New Yorker and a few other publications: book reviews, film reviews, thoughts. The loosely chronological sequencing provides a type of time-capsule evidence that above all else Barthelme was an enthusiast: his zest for art, philosophy, The two-essay opening salvo alone is worth the price of admission, a kind of career-bookending manifesto that encapsulates as much of the Barthelme aesthetic -- if there was such a thing -- in its gentle shifts and contradictions as it does in its consistencies. The loosely chronological sequencing provides a type of time-capsule evidence that above all else Barthelme was an enthusiast: his zest for art, philosophy, literature, life seems only to grow as the decades pass.
Sixty Stories [ edit ] Do they lie? Do they steal? Only silver and gold. Do they remember? I am in constant touch. Hardly a day passes. The children.