Saturday, August 26, 2006

Quote: Alice Munro

Munro"If I had been younger, I would have figured out a story. I would have insisted on Mr. Black's being in love with one of my aunts, nd on one of them--not necessarily the one he was in love with--being in love with him. I would have wished him to confide in them, in one of them, his secret, his reason for living in a shack in Huron County, far from home. Later, I might have believed that he wanted to, but hadn't confided this, or his love either. I would have made a horrible, plausible connection between that silence of his and the manner of his death. Now I no longer believe that people's secrets are defined and communicable, or their feelings full-blown and easy to recognize. I don't believe so. Now, I can only say, my father's sisters scrubbed the floor with lye, they stooked the oats and milked the cows by hand. They must have taken a quilt to the barn for the hermit to die on, they must have let water dribble from a tin cup int his afflicted mouth. That was their life. My mother's cousins behaved in another way; they dressed up and took pictures of each other; they sallied forth. However they behaved they are all dead. I carry something of them around in me. But the boulder is gone. Mount Hebron is cut down for gravel, and the life buried here is one you have to think twice about regretting."
--Alice Munro (1931-), from "Chaddeleys and Flemings," in Selected Stories (New York: Vintage, 1997).

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