Gorilla My Love, The Indian Uprising, and Charity

I’m failing a class about sex and I’m sick and Ebola.

Okay, I’ve just returned from Googling the symptoms of Ebola, and I’ve determined that I don’t have Ebola. I just feel like I’m dying for some other reason.

This semester is about half over. Between my writing, my classes at UofL, and my attempts to at least be a little social, my apartment has been trashed. I’ve only managed to get one more story in from The Norton Introduction to Literature, which was “Gorilla, My Love”, by Toni Cade Bambara, but my excuse is that I’ve also been reading from The New Yorker, Tin House, and The Best American Short Stories 2014. I’ve also been attempting to get through The Savage Detectives, by Roberto Belaño. I don’t like it. I’m not sorry.

“Gorilla, My Love” was in the same part of the Norton book as Kincaid’s “Girl”. It was really hard to read. I think maybe she cursed out the manager of the movie theatre because she thought she was being cheated out of seeing gorillas that weren’t in the movie?

My focus this week was more on the short stories from The Best American Short Stories 2014 book, edited this year by Jennifer Egan. I got through the first two stories from the book on the plane as I was flying to Washington DC to play laser tag with my boyfriend. I read “Charity” by Charles Baxter. The ending didn’t make any sense. I’ve been thinking about the ending on occasion, attempting to figure out if I missed something obvious, but I’m dying from not-Ebola so I’m going to give up on it and move on.

The second story in the book was “The Indian Uprising”, by Ann Beatie. It was a story that followed a woman visiting an old college professor in Washington DC. I liked it. I suppose I thought it was charming because I was actually flying to DC myself while reading it. Now that I think about it, I didn’t care for this story at all. I didn’t read any more stories once I got off the plane. I ate at Annie’s in DC (which is the BEST restaurant in the world ever), went to laser tag, and then me, my boyfriend, his friend, and his boyfriend all went to IKEA. Back here in Louisville, I got an A on an essay I wrote comparing Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man Is Hard To Find” and “Everything That Rises Must Converge”. I argued that both main characters in their respected stories committed suicide at the end, because literature.

This post is a part of my ongoing series of posts about my attempt to completely read The Norton Introduction to Literature, by Kelly J. Mays. Just because.

By Eric Shay Howard

Eric Shay Howard lives in Indianapolis. He's a teacher, a literary editor, and writer. He's a graduate student in the Bluegrass Writers Studio MFA in Creative Writing program at Eastern Kentucky University. He also has MBA and BA degrees.

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