Charles Baxter has been schooling us for a number of years now. I was talking to a friend the other day about his story “Snow,” and she finished my sentence–we both LOVE that story. And who can forget “Fenstad’s Mother,” which is lodged somewhere in my untidy brain under the label “essential.” I taught his novel Feast of Love once (don’t bother with the movie, go read the book). And so it goes. Baxter writes with a lyrical beauty linked to a strong set of enduring social values. His scenes move seamlessly from the personal to the political. He is one of those writers I sometimes breathe a silent prayer for, as in–please, please, stay with us, keep writing, please let me hear from you.
We’ve heard from him. We’re proud to feature his work here at Fictionaut.
Charles Baxter’s Introduction:
I wrote “Gershwin’s Second Prelude” in my mid-30s, at a time when I was contemplating the idea of quitting the writing life altogether. I had finished three novels that no one wanted to publish, and to say that I was down in the dumps would understate the matter. A friend had asked us to store his spinet piano in our house for a year (he was off in Europe), and so for weeks I tried to learn Gershwin’s second prelude. Couldn’t do that either: the opening chords were too wide for my left hand. I wrote the story to buck myself up: it’s about being brave in the face of multiple failures.
Read “Gershwin’s Second Prelude” on Fictionaut.
Previously on Line Breaks:
- “Something Better Than This” by Mary Gaitskill
- “Coping Stones” by Ann Beattie
- “Moving Day” by Robert Olen Butler
- “The Palatski Man” by Stuart Dybek
- “My Date with Satan” by Stacey Richter
- “In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried” by Amy Hempel
- “Credentials” by John Holman
- “Pink” by Terese Svoboda
- “The Line” by James Robison
- “We” by Mary Grimm
- “Shopgirls” by Frederick Barthelme
- “Fragment from an Untelevised Revolution” by Rick Moody
- “One-Way Ticket” by Antonya Nelson
- “The OD & Hepatitis RR or Bust” by T.C. Boyle