Sunday

Nov. 24, 2002

Shooting

by Raymond Carver

SUNDAY, 24 NOVEMBER 2002
Listen
(RealAudio) | How to listen

Poem: "Shooting," by Raymond Carver from All of Us: The Selected Poems (Knopf).

Shooting

I wade through wheat up to my belly,
cradling a shotgun in my arms.
Tess is asleep back at the ranch house.
The moon pales. Then loses face completely
as the sun spears up over the mountains.

Why do I pick this moment
to remember my aunt taking me aside that time
and saying, What I am going to tell you now
you will remember every day of your life?

But that's all I can remember.

I've never been able to trust memory. My own
or anyone else's. I'd like to know what on earth
I'm doing here in this strange regalia
It's my friend's wheat-this much is true.
And right now, his dog is on point.

*
Tess is opposed to killing for sport,
or any other reason. Yet not long ago she
threatened to kill me. The dog inches forward.
I stop moving. I can't see or hear
my breath any longer.

Step by tiny step, the day advances. Suddenly,
the air explodes with birds.
Tess sleeps through it. When she wakes,
October will be over. Guns and talk
of shooting behind us.


It's the birthday of author and political analyst Kathleen Hall Jamieson, born in Minneapolis, Minnesota (1946). She is currently the Dean of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and is the author of ten books including Everything You Think You Know About Politics…and Why You're Wrong (2000), Dirty Politics: Deception, Distraction and Democracy (1992), and Beyond the Double Bind: Women and Leadership (1995).

It's the birthday of playwright, screenwriter, and director Garson Kanin, born in Rochester, New York (1912), who is perhaps best known as the author of Born Yesterday (1946). He also collaborated with his wife, actress Ruth Gordon on screenplays for several Spencer Tracy - Katharine Hepburn films, including Adam's Rib (1949) and Pat and Mike (1952).

It's the birthday of novelist and playwright Frances (sometimes Francis) Eliza Hodgson Burnett, born in Manchester, England (1849). Although her name is not well known, she wrote of three classic books known by millions of children around the world: Little Lord Fauntleroy (1886), The Little Princess (1905), and The Secret Garden (1909).

It's the birthday of author and journalist Carlo Lorenzini, better known as C. Collodi, born in Florence, Italy (1826) who in 1880, created an unforgettable story of a wooden boy named Pinocchio, whose nose grew with every lie and whose most ardent wish was to become "a real boy."

It's the birthday of author Laurence Sterne, born in Clonmel, Ireland (1713). He is best known for The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy (1760). He said: "I take a simple view of life. It is keep your eyes open and get on with it."

It's the birthday of editor and author William F(rank) Buckley, Junior, born in New York City, New York (1925). In 1955, he founded the National Review, a magazine of conservative opinion. "We are so concerned to flatter the majority that we lose sight of how very often it is necessary, in order to preserve freedom for the minority, let alone for the individual, to face that majority down."

It's the birthday of composer and pianist Scott Joplin, born in Bowie County, Texas (1868). He wrote the Maple Leaf Rag and instead of selling it to the publisher for a flat fee of twenty-five dollars, he had his lawyer draw up a royalty contract that paid him once cent per copy. It went only to sell one million copies in sheet music.

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®

 









«

»

  • “Writers end up writing stories—or rather, stories' shadows—and they're grateful if they can, but it is not enough. Nothing the writer can do is ever enough” —Joy Williams
  • “I want to live other lives. I've never quite believed that one chance is all I get. Writing is my way of making other chances.” —Anne Tyler
  • “Writing is a performance, like singing an aria or dancing a jig” —Stephen Greenblatt
  • “All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.” —F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • “Good writing is always about things that are important to you, things that are scary to you, things that eat you up.” —John Edgar Wideman
  • “In certain ways writing is a form of prayer.” —Denise Levertov
  • “Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” —E.L. Doctorow
  • “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” —E.L. Doctorow
  • “Let's face it, writing is hell.” —William Styron
  • “A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” —Thomas Mann
  • “Writing is 90 percent procrastination: reading magazines, eating cereal out of the box, watching infomercials.” —Paul Rudnick
  • “Writing is a failure. Writing is not only useless, it's spoiled paper.” —Padget Powell
  • “Writing is very hard work and knowing what you're doing the whole time.” —Shelby Foote
  • “I think all writing is a disease. You can't stop it.” —William Carlos Williams
  • “Writing is like getting married. One should never commit oneself until one is amazed at one's luck.” —Iris Murdoch
  • “The less conscious one is of being ‘a writer,’ the better the writing.” —Pico Iyer
  • “Writing is…that oddest of anomalies: an intimate letter to a stranger.” —Pico Iyer
  • “Writing is my dharma.” —Raja Rao
  • “Writing is a combination of intangible creative fantasy and appallingly hard work.” —Anthony Powell
  • “I think writing is, by definition, an optimistic act.” —Michael Cunningham
The Writer's Almanac on Facebook


The Writer's Almanac on Twitter

Subscribe to our daily newsletter for poems, prose and literary history every morning
An interview with Sharon Olds at The Writer's Almanac Bookshelf
Current Faves - Learn more about poets featured frequently on the show
O, What a Luxury

Although he has edited several anthologies of his favorite poems, O, What a Luxury: Verses Lyrical, Vulgar, Pathetic & Profound forges a new path for Garrison Keillor, as a poet of light verse. Purchase O, What a Luxury »