January 20, 2011

Oat(e)s rule(s)

She was panting. The kitchen looked like a place she had never seen before, some room she had run inside but that wasn't good enough, wasn't going to help her. The kitchen window had never had a curtain, after three years, and there were dishes in the sink for her to do—probably—and if you ran your hand across the table you'd probably feel something sticky there.

I've long had a case of last-name envy when it came to J.C. Oates, but this was the first story of hers I ever read. Not only was it fantastically suspenseful, but it also reminded me (in a good way) of Flannery O'Connor. Not an easy feat! I'll definitely be checking out more of the Oates.

But moving on to the other (and for the time being, more beloved) kind of oats, I recently finished Stefan Merrill Block's The Story of Forgetting, and I think what propelled me to keep reading (at least at first) was the fact that he mentioned oatmeal a couple times in the first few chapters. Maybe I'm the only freak who notices these things, but still...it's funny how certain types of food can repeatedly slip into one's writing. Unless oatmeal is some sort of literary device/symbol? Nah...that can't be it.


Velva said...

It's funny, as soon as I read "oatmeal" I immediately thought it has to be a symbol. I pondered the symbolism of oatmeal. hearty, stick to your ribs...A poor mans food, comforting...Oh my God, the list could go on and on, and on. Maybe, that is what oatmeal represents...nah, can't be :-)


thefattyreader said...

Ha, I like your thinking. Wouldn't The Symbolism of Oatmeal in post-Quaker American Literature make a great undergraduate seminar? :)