We Are All Strangers, We Are All Learning to Be Human: Short Fiction by Miranda July

I just finished reading “No one belongs here more than you” by Miranda July. These stories, written in a naïve style much like Richard Brautigan but with Raymond Carver’s perceptive gaze, are about the desperation and exasperation of isolated human beings, as I suspect we all are at one time in our lives. She writes with a vividness and charm that often caught me off guard and made me laugh at things I take so seriously in real life. She does not stretch far for her characters. They are each a little odd but in gently slanted ways. She writes about fairly normal urban life but juxtaposes their slantwise take on the normal approach to the everyday problem of connecting to an often mean-spirited and sterile social environment. The way in which her characters approach and react to the people in their world is at times hilarious and at other times tragic. In each story, there were points where I was intrigued, laughing out loud because of her excellent comic voice and insight, and questioning how I interact with people, and in what ways their inner lives differ from the exterior persona we all put on. Most of us go around the world with such confidence in social structures that are all agreed upon, but nobody really questions why we agree on these values or patterns of normalcy. These stories, at least for me, cut through some of this epidermis to get at the guts, muscle, bone, and nerve of what is really basic to all human experience, the desire and need for connection of some kind with other human beings, the one thing that is so difficult to do in an authentic way, because it makes us vulnerable. These stories show at least a glimpse of what it is like to be a naked, vulnerable human in Miranda July’s mind, and it is really interesting and thought-provoking to see how they get through their days. I hope I am a little more compassionate and humble after having been in that space for a few hours. 

This entry was posted in Check this out, developing relationships, Fiction, funny stuff, internal landscape, mindworks, my museum of inspiration, Other peoples words, Questions and riddles, thinking in words and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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