What can YOU say in six sentences?
I picked up a book of Barthelme's short stories in '72, back when I still thought that literature might save me.
The name of the book was Unspeakable Practices, Unnatural Acts and, well, no shit: it seemed to me a wonderless wasteland of non-sequiturial nothing from first page to last, and I thought to myself at the time that this guy wouldn't know stories from stinkweeds, I swear.
They weren't even shit, seemed to me: shit may yet fertilize something or other, and these fucking things were more on the order of salt, like the salt that Rome poured on ground where stood Carthage, in order that nothing could ever grow there again.
Last night I read a story Barthelme wrote called King Of Jazz.
Just a goof, but divine, and perfectly, perfectly written.
And that sound-of-a-trombone soliloquy late in the tale--I wonder how much of that long, lovely riff I can steal...