“if i vanished” stuart dybek

a few weeks back i heard stu dybek read portions of “nighthawks” at event.  the s.o.b. mentioned offhandedly that since publishing that story, he felt compelled to keep writing similar vignettes—in effect, that he continued writing the story.  but he didn’t really do anything with the new material.  my heart nearly leapt out of my throat at the notion he might read his unpublished additions to that piece.  but did he?  no.  no, he did not.

i sailed with magellan was published in 2004.  he hasn’t published a new book of fiction since then.  eight motherfucking years, man.  this makes jordan’s first retirement look like an afternoon nap.  that reading was a terrible tease, and one which would not stand.  with coast of chicago, i sailed with magellan, and brass knuckles already in my library, i tried (again) to track down childhood and other neighborhoods, dybek’s first collection, which i’m pretty sure is out of print (or, at least, which i’d never seen used copies of for less than $30).  i managed to find a beat-up copy reasonably priced from powell’s, and in the process of checking out even learned he also put out a new book of poetry back in ’06.  nabbed ’em both.

but i can’t share those with you, primarily because i haven’t read them myself yet and am thus unwilling to give up my precious.  what i can do is dig up a link to a story of his in the new yorker: “if i vanished.”  i stumbled across it while i was waiting for those books to arrive and roaming the vast interweb wastelands, drunk & howling, with outstretched arms flailing, desperately searching for a dybek story i hadn’t read yet.  read it with me now.  as d’angelo barksdale once said, “the king stay the king.”

…her face was so lovely to him that he hadn’t yet allowed himself to gaze at her with the full force of recognition. That was true of her nakedness, too; it dazzled him, and he found he could take it in only in glimpses. He wonders now what else he didn’t look at, what else he didn’t see.

(special bonus: there’s even a reference to eskimos & 100 words for snow!)


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